Resource management has long been thought of as part and parcel of the project portfolio management (PPM) setup, relegated to being just another aspect to managing a project from planning to execution. And, while technically this is correct, when you don’t give resource management your full focus, your projects can really suffer. That’s why a lot of companies have recently begun thinking of the resource side of their projects as an entire project area that requires its own, deliberate focus right from the beginning of a project.
At ProSymmetry, we prefer the term resource portfolio management (RPM) to the traditional, project portfolio management (PPM). Here’s why.
Of course, we shouldn’t be too concerned about labels. As long as everyone is on the same page about what language you use in your organization then that should be good enough. The more important thing is what you are focusing on when it comes to planning and executing your projects in the most efficient and effective way possible. But there is a difference between these two terms (resource portfolio management and project portfolio management) in what they primarily focus on. It’s therefore important that you understand the difference so you can make sure your organization is concentrating on the right areas that lead to project success.
Resources (and therefore resource management) are, in many ways, the most essential component to the effective managing of your projects. The resources of an organization include your employees and their varied skillsets, knowledge and experience, along with equipment and available time. All of these are limited and must be managed correctly in order to get the most out of them and bring your project to a successful conclusion on time.
Of course, project portfolio management is equally concerned with the successful completion of your projects within deadlines. So, let’s briefly look at how the two terms, RPM and PPM, go about making your project a success—to see where they cross paths, and where they differ.
Project Portfolio Management deals with projects on a task level
Project management is concerned with the series of tasks that make up a project. PPM is concerned with the management of all projects in an organization on a larger, broader scale. So, while PPM takes into account several projects at once, over a period of time, it still boils down to task lists and management of those tasks relative to time, resources, finances, etc.
Using PPM tools makes it possible to handle several projects at once that span long stretches of time (a calendar year, perhaps). However, the major drawback to PPM tools is the lack of visibility they offer. This prevents project managers from being able to plan their projects (and their resources) and to react to changes quickly enough when they happen.
Resource Portfolio Management looks at resources from a project level
Resource portfolio management focuses on an organization’s resources in a broader project overview also. But RPM is primarily concerned with resource reporting, forecasting and modelling and so individual and portfolios of projects are viewed through this prism. This makes it easier for a project manager to understand what their resource levels are for an entire calendar, rather than knowing what they have for each individual project, assignment or task. This allows them to avoid being blindsided by unforeseen events, or last-minute overlaps between projects where resources can become stretched.
To combat the lack of visibility in their PPM tools, many organizations integrate a resource portfolio management solution with their PPM tool. In fact, many of our own customers have done just that with Tempus Resource.
Once they begin using the RPM solution, they often find that they no longer need the task management capabilities provided by their much larger and sometimes cumbersome PPM tool. Instead, they opt to use Tempus Resource as a standalone RPM solution for their project management.
At ProSymmetry, we think of Tempus Resource as a resource portfolio management (RPM) tool and prefer the term to project portfolio management (PPM). That’s because our solution is fully focused on the role your resources play in the success of your projects. For us, your project success begins with your resources.
Tempus Resource can integrate fully and seamlessly with PPM tools such as Microsoft Project and Smartsheet. This means that organizations can combine the flexibility, usefulness and reach of capabilities offered by the PPM tools they are used to with the sophistication and intelligence of Tempus Resource’s RPM approach. So, no matter what acronym you choose to call your project management by, Tempus Resource helps you access the best of both worlds.