Top 13 Project Resource Management Practices for Project Managers
Most organizations would agree that resource management is one of the most challenging aspects of any project.
Issues related to resource management are very commonly responsible for project failures. But while these resource-related problems will always continue, a project manager can work on balancing capacity and demand of resources to mitigate them.
Here are 13 best practices for project managers to improve resource management:
1. Understand Project Requirements
At the outset, it is very important to know as much about the project as possible. For example, you’d need more than “we’re creating a new ticketing software”, to start laying the foundation of the project.
Understand client/customer expectations, success criteria, budget, timeline, expectations from your team, etc. to try and understand the project better.
2. Start with the Groundwork
Once you have a clear idea about the project, you can start building the foundation of your resource management process.
Understand the role of different resources in the project, the schedule and duration of each resource, and the key persons involved. Based on this information, you can then build your project calendar.
3. Plan Smart
The planning phase is very crucial for every project. Poor decisions, inaccurate estimates, and lack of visibility are some of the most common reasons why projects fail. It is during the planning phase that these common problems could be taken care of.
During the planning stage, make sure that you select the right people, identify resource dependencies, and create an approximate timeline for the project.
4. Estimate Tasks and Resources
When selecting people for the project, focus on their experience and expertise in similar projects. Ensure that you choose people that could efficiently work together on the project.
In most cases, project managers generally do not get all the people they want for a project or get them only for a limited duration. But even if you have access to the required number of human resources, you are good to go.
5. Use the 80/20 Rule
As per the 80/20 rule, 80% of the constraints related to resources arise from only 20% of human resources.
This 20% of human resources are people in your organization that have high demand across projects. Focus more on such resource bottlenecks to ensure that their availability.
6. Build a Team for Risk Management
No matter how proper the planning and implementation is, things are bound to go wrong at some point. While you might have already considered the common risks during the planning stage, unexpected ones could be handled by a risk management team.
For this team, you can look for people with have extensive experience who can effectively monitor and control the risks that might arise in the project lifecycle.
7. Make Use of Resource Scheduling Tools
A resource scheduling tool like eResource Scheduler, harvest, forecast, team deck are now very commonly used by a large number of organizations. These solutions offer easy access to the current projects and resources to make it easier for the project managers to schedule the resources efficiently.
Some of the advanced solutions also come with features like utilization reports and availability reports for improved decision-making.
8. Improve Project Communication
It is essential for all the members involved in a project to not just know the decision but also the whole process, which led to that particular decision. For this to happen, there should be transparency in the project communication process.
Every member should have access to all the project-related information so that they too can contribute to the decision-making process.
9. Focus on MTM Management
MTM (Multiple Team Membership) is unavoidable in most cases as you will mostly have people who are part of multiple projects. However, MTM is known to both improve and degrade the performance of the involved people.
So, if you have team members who are also part of other projects simultaneously, ensure that they do not suffer from burnouts or are overburdened. Prefer such people for low-level tasks so that the cognitive impact is limited and they can positively contribute to all the projects they are involved in.
10. Lookout for Overloading and Underloading of Resources
Not just MTM but even other members of your team should not be overburdened with tasks in any way as this could significantly impact their performance and can also risk the success of the project.
Similarly, not being able to make good use of the resources could also impact the budget and timeline of the project. For this, it is vital to monitor the resources and their availability regularly. A resource scheduling tool can be a smart solution for the same.
11. Know the Brooks’ Law
Project managers often tackle project delays by adding more resources to the team. But you should know that adding new members to your team could further delay the project. There will be time spent on their onboarding, and this could impact the budget and even the core team’s productivity.
Fred .P. Brooks first introduced this concept in The Mythical Man-Mouth in 1975. So, be very careful if you are planning to add new members and analyze the pros and cons before making a decision.
12. Be Quick in Correcting Project Deviations
Projects often go beyond the set timeline, budget, and very commonly run into unexpected risks. To make sure that these deviations do not affect the success of the project, you should be able to monitor them proactively.
Make reports and conduct meetings for identifying things that are not going as planned. The sooner such deviations are identified and eliminated, the better it will be for the project.
13. Empathy is the Key
As a project manager, you need to practice empathy. Put yourself into the shoes of the clients/customers and even the people you are working with.
Try to understand their expectations, requirements, and problems. Use this information for planning the project so that every party involved in the project has a positive experience. This is one of the most effective ways for considerably improving the project success rate.
Project Management and Resource Planning
Resource planning is one of the essential aspects of project management. It is challenging, dynamic, and can significantly impact the success of a project. But with the help of the practices discussed above, project managers can better manage their resources and proactively prevent the common risks.
It could take some time to master these practices. Once done, you will be better equipped to deliver long-term results and help an organization to achieve more success.