Resource management can be a complex and overwhelming task that calls for meticulous preparation and the ability to forecast, schedule and assign skills across many multi-faceted projects at once.
With the need for stringent planning and careful organisation in order to balance several aspects of resource management – the correct tools can be a great advantage in the management of multiple projects.
Some of the different types of resources that can require managing include:
- Human resources (staff, employees & team members)
- Financial resources
- Production components
In order to balance various requirements amongst numerous projects both managers and team leaders can improve efficiency by utilising the suitable resource management tools.
1. Project management software
Project management software can be a crucial tool when handling a multi-faceted portfolio that comprises of several projects running at once. Evaluate any potential software thoroughly to confirm that its main functions are in line with the resources you manage. If you only manage financial and human resources for example then it is beneficial to ensure that the software concentrates on these aspects.
2. Resource planning
A resource plan is used to identify and specify the resources required for a project. Resource planning is a step in resource management that is often poorly executed or skipped altogether leading to delays further down the line when there are not enough resources to fulfil the needs of the project.
By utilising a resource planning tool efficiently, managers are able to accurately calculate the required resources across the portfolio and determine how they will be allocated. With strategic planning you can identify possible limitations and devise strategies for potential challenges which will provide a much more effective and easier to manage system for handling resources.
3. Resource breakdown structure
Also known as RBS – this is a visual representation of the human resources involved in a project represented by a tiered or hierarchical structure. The resource breakdown structure can include;
- Resource Department
- Reporting Managers
- Resources (skilled workers)
Depending upon the levels of complexity within the company and the amount of details included within the RBS, there can be additional levels. This tool can be useful when determining where to allocate human resources for projects based on the availability of skills for specific tasks.
4. Responsibility assignment matrix
Also known as the RACI matrix this tool lays out the various roles assigned to deliver work for each project and identifies who is;
This important tool allows project managers to see exactly who is responsible for performing every task across the project.
5. Resource histograms
A great tool for project management, resource histograms provide a visual representation of the resources available for each project. Presented in the form of a bar chart, resource histograms allow for quick identification of any potential resource short falls as well as any over allocation of resources. This information can then be used to level resources by reallocation or ascertain the need for additional resources.
6. Collaborative software
Using collaboration software allows resource managers to work directly with clients and team members to provide an environment of open communication and teamwork. With collaboration software managers are able to email tasks, share information, hold discussion groups, work on shared documents and much more.
7. Issue tracking software
It is important with any resource management that when problems arise they can be logged and recorded along with any necessary notes. Using this software allows individuals to communicate any issues that occur so they can be assessed by the project manager and assigned to a resource for quick resolution.