The Project Manager’s Guide to Scientific Resource Management

What is Scientific Management?

The Scientific Management theory is one of the few management theories that examine labor and productivity.

The theory was developed by Frederick Taylor in the early 20th century. After studying work performance and its effect on worker productivity, Taylor observed that productivity was related to more than just hard work.

To attain maximum productivity, Taylor suggested optimizing and simplifying working conditions rather than making the resources work harder.

The key principles that this theory formulates are:

  • Replace earlier rule-of-thumb methods with scientific methods.
  • Train each worker scientifically to improve productivity.
  • Ensure cooperation within the workforce and with the management.
  • Divide the work between the workers and management on the basis of skills required.


Project Managers and Resources

Project managers need to work with time, cost, and resources to receive maximum output.

Other than being responsible for the inception, planning, and implementation of project ideas, project managers are also responsible for assigning resources to the project.

It is important that the project manager is well aware of the scope of the project and is able to identify matching skillsets to make it work.

Generally, the Human Resource Management (HRM) function in an organization deals with the recruitment processes and administrative support to obtain and retain staff.

However, the project manager holds the responsibility to ensure that the staff hired can utilize their potential to the maximum.

Incorporating Taylorism in Project Management

Project managers need to get work done and projects completed. For this, they need to make the most of their work processes and resources at hand.

Take a look at some of the ways project managers can incorporate the Scientific Management theory, or Taylorism, in their work environment.

1. Work processes

For starters, assess your working procedures. According to this theory, separate weak or inefficient methods and remove them. Instead, focus on methods that can deliver swift results.

This can help you save time, effort, and cost for a more streamlined workflow.

You can devise effective work plans for your projects with software tools. For example, create and manage your projects with project management software. With easy task definition and project tracking, you can develop a more structured approach to your projects.

2. Collaboration

According to the theory, collaboration and cooperation between workers and managers is inevitable.

Collaboration has been proven to be a significant influencer for employee productivity. In this article, the McKinsey Global Institute found a 20-25% improvement in productivity in organizations with connected employees.

By working together, management can take measures to guide the staff on-time and on-location. This can help in instant identification as well as in the resolution of issues.

Task management tools are a great platform for team communication. They help minimize chances for unnecessary confusion or mistakes due to their transparent communication channels.

3. Finding the right fit

One of Taylor’s findings was that some people can do a certain type of work better than others. This means that, if the right resource is hired, you can save time and cost. If not, it can incur unwanted costs.

Did you know that it can cost up to 33% of an employee’s salary to replace them (reference)? This highlights the need for taking time and investing in the right resource.

Therefore, try finding the right fit for the task at hand. Just trying to make do with available resources, without considering their expertise, may not be a positive approach in the long run.

4. Incentives

Last but not least, Taylor’s theory finds that people work better with incentives. This means if workers are motivated with rewards, they work more productively.

Unfortunately, 1 in 4 workers today is dissatisfied with recognition received.

In this article, serial entrepreneur, Patrick Hull seconds this theory by agreeing that employees respond to perks, bonuses, and other financial incentives as a reward for great performance.

Judi Rhee Alloway, a member of Forbes Coaches Council, suggests in this post to customizing incentives for employees, such as work status or company benefits [9].


Have you adopted any management theory in your workplace? Share your experience in the comments below.

Recommended Project Management Software

If you’re interested in learning more about top rated project management software, the editors at actively recommend the following:

Fred Wilson

Fred is an Agile & Software Consultant at nTask. He works with teams to streamline workflows and enhance team collaboration. He is an avid reader and often writes about productivity, project management and collaboration.