Getting resource management under control is a key element of any project. Projects rarely complain that they have too many resources. But is resource management only about people; that being the case why not call it people management or staff management. Most project management functions seem to treat resource management as just people. It is true that much of the time of resource management functions is spent on people. But we believe resource management done well should cover all resources.
Forecasting and Planning
Underpinning an effective portfolio of projects is a planning process that gives clear information on the resources allocated. That is both people, material and facilities, the business sector or your project and organisation will dictate the likely blend of skills and other resources projects need. A well-ordered resource plan will allow tuning and assignment of teams to reflect changing priority and variation in performance of projects.
While resource management tools are desirable to help run projects, they are essential to portfolio planning and change management boards review of projects. The ability to drive different scenarios and model different priorities are almost impossible without flexible resource management tools.
Solid resource management not only allows projects in flight to maintain healthy resourcing; it also allows longer term forecasting. This should also allow time to source better teams and cost-effective solutions for all type of resourcing.
Resource management as a Productivity aid
Your resource management process should be able to record work against plan, or at least take that information from your tracking of projects. In the situation where plans are maintained, and progress tracked at a task level it should be possible to assess progress against baseline and hence have a view on productivity. If you can track and monitor performance, you can then begin to use that information to highlight areas for concern and possible improvement. This could be just highlighting issues in some cases. In other instances, it could indicate training opportunities or suggest allocation of team members to projects better suited to their skills.
Can resource management help retain staff
Once you have a mature resource management process and tools in place you should have information on skills and capability. The skills and personal goals of people should help you assign them to more appropriate projects. This can also generate situations for improvement. The non-people side of resource management can also help in providing facilities and tools with better feedback, potentially giving project teams better working environments.
Good resource management is not just about assigning people to projects. That is the starting point, but done well it can help improve the way projects are delivered and make teams happier.