Resource availability plays a fundamental role in resource management. Knowing which resources are available at any given time is an important factor in deciding how to distribute and allocate the right assets for any given project. How can you plan to build a bridge, for example, if you don’t know how many construction workers are available? But resource management is about more than just people. When we talk about resources, we are referring to:
- People – team management
- Funding – budget management
- Material assets – everything else that goes into delivering a successful project from planning to completion, i.e. tools, machinery, equipment and space
Bringing these different factors together can be a challenge and has given resource management the reputation for being a tricky occupation. Without the necessary planning and analytics tools, project managers have little hope of coming up with realistic estimates of how long projects might take and how many people, how much money and material assets will be required. Without tools that clearly lay out these factors, important details can go unseen and opportunities unexploited.
This can leave project managers missing deadlines or going over budget – which will all ultimately cost their organization money and potentially damage their reputation with clients and customers.
When we talk about resource availability we are interested specifically about the availability of your ‘renewable resources’, which include your workers, tools, machinery and space. Renewable resources are those that have to be renewed on a periodic basis – for instance, you must assess your workers’ availability on a daily basis. This is as opposed to consumable resources, which are renewed over the time frame of a whole project (your budget is the best example of this).
To continue the example mentioned above, if the bridge is going to be built, a project manager needs to know the availability of their renewable resources on a day by day basis for the entirety of the project, including:
- their workers’ presence and absence (holidays, sickness and injury)
- if the equipment and machinery is present and functional
The next piece in the puzzle is resource demand. This refers to how many resources you need to complete the project, i.e. your requirements. So, for example, if a stakeholder decides the project needs to be completed a week earlier or gets planning approval for a second bridge and wants to start right away, your resource demand is going to increase.
When resource demand is higher than resource availability, you have a problem. A project manager cannot always control resource demand, but they must keep on top of resource availability at all times.
If work isn’t spread out evenly across your resources then you are risking that machinery breaks down and people become tired and disengaged. In terms of the human element, you risk your workers becoming:
If you don’t know who is free to start a new project, you may assign too much work to the same few people, overloading their schedule unnecessarily and potentially causing burnout.
Alternatively, you could leave others with too little to do, wasting the benefits of their skillset and potentially demoralizing them.
As a result, you may find that you have to:
- Cancel existing projects
- Turn down work that you could have otherwise done
- Over-commit to work that you cannot deliver in time or to the necessary standard
These are potential scenarios that will cost your organization money, but ones that can be avoided by keeping on top of resource availability.
From a project management perspective, the success of any project will depend on your organization’s ability to maximize the resources at hand. To get projects done on time and to the standard required, good resource management software is crucial.
Many project managers find that large-scale, expensive PPM solutions are not the right option when it comes resource management and resource scheduling. And those using Excel spreadsheets find that they don’t have the real-time analysis and predictors that they need to keep up with all the vagaries and complexities of managing a real-world project.
What is needed is a streamlined, intelligent solution that can forecast and predict resource availability and meet all the requirements for accurate planning and visibility.
Tempus Resource, from ProSymmetry, is a real-time resource management software that helps organizations make risk-free data driven decisions about how to use their resources. Named as a Gartner Cool Vendor in 2016, Tempus Resource has quickly become the go-to tool for resource management, largely because:
- It offers state of the art modeling
Tempus Resource forecasts the impact of real-world changes so you don’t have to make decisions ‘in the dark’ and are prepared for all eventualities.
- It uses ground-breaking ‘What if’ analysis
The unpredictability of resource management is part and parcel of the job. With ‘What if’ analysis, you can prepare for change by running hundreds of scenarios in a risk-free environment.
- It’s highly flexible and adaptive
Adding and importing data couldn’t be easier. By accommodating both direct data entry and smooth integrations with existing PPM tools, you can be up and running quickly.
For more information about Tempus Resource and how it can improve your resource management, get in touch with us today.