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Resource & skill management -  what are the differences?

Michael Fenske
23.02.2022 | 4 min reading time

project management software

skill and resource management

hybrid project management

classic project management

Whether using agile or classic methods, each of your projects can only be as good as the people who work on it. So why should you settle for pure resource management when you can also have skills management?

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Employees in project management are familiar with this: No matter how well a project has been prepared, many problems arise in the day-to-day running of the project. The most serious of these are probably gaps in the supply of personnel: If employees are absent because they are sick or are called away to more urgent projects, your project quickly gets into trouble. "No problem!" you may think to yourself, "That's what resource management is for." A good plan in itself - as long as your resource management does not assign unsuitable team members to you...

We explain why skill management is the sensible evolutionary stage of resource management, where the differences lie and what the prerequisites are for effectively deployed skill management.


Resource management: the indispensable basis

Anyone who believes that their projects can get by without resource management has probably never experienced what a lack of resources can cause ... In fact, good project management is hardly conceivable without associated resource management. This is also shown by the definition you can find at Wikipedia: "Resource management as part of project management serves to identify and allocate project participants (resources) and to use them as efficiently as possible." Resource management is of particular importance in multi-project management and spans a strategic, an operational and a tactical dimension. The tactical element includes staffing, in which you assign project roles to previously identified resources. This resource planning thus assigns those people to your project who will face its challenges and make it reach its goal. Resource management then takes care of the appropriate distribution of resources during the course of the project, reacts to changes and ensures optimal staff deployment.

The problem with resources

In small projects and manageable large teams, project management is usually well informed about the individual (potential) team members. They know each other and know where the skills, competencies and social abilities of the individual employees lie. Thus, up to a certain complexity, even powerful and success-oriented project teams can be put together. However, as a company grows in size - or even in multi-project management - this casual method quickly reaches its limits. When initially assembling teams, you may still have the time to talk to potential members of your team (or their superiors). But when additional resources have to be organized as quickly as possible in the hectic day-to-day project work, it soon becomes all about the resource itself. There is no time to assess skills and abilities.

In the worst case, this can lead to you staffing project teams incorrectly, which can seriously disrupt projects. In short: As soon as your projects are no longer small and manageable, you should get yourself a skills management system. And you know yourself how quickly a project can become large and complex ...


Skill Management: Superpowers for Projects

Now that's a bit of a stretch, but: with skill management, you're not just identifying resources, you're identifying the skills (and maybe even superpowers) that your project needs right now. To use an image: With bare resource management, you help yourself to a large drawer of resources when performance is needed and hope you don't miss. Resource management with skill management, on the other hand, doesn't provide you with an unsorted drawer, but a toolbox of precision tools. Each drawer is neatly labeled, and you can immediately find the skills you need.

The problem with skills

You've probably already guessed: It's not quite easy to optimize your resource management in this way. To stay with the image: It does take a bit of patience until you have put together a well-sorted toolbox. Besides, we're not talking about tools here, of course, but about people. And they don't always like it when you evaluate and categorize them.

Skill management requires acceptance

Before you enrich your project management with skills management, you need to get all employees on board with this concept. You have to convey to them that the assignment of skills does not represent a value judgement, but rather makes it possible to staff projects throughout the company in a way that is both project-serving and motivating. Using one's own skills in the right team and being in the right place at the right time for a project is not only positive for the company, but simply makes project work more enjoyable!

In addition, any missing hard or soft skills are also a very good incentive to close existing skill gaps with targeted training or workshops.

So if you have the employees on your side, you can build up a so-called skills library (your "toolbox"). This serves as a database for your skills management, but can also provide the HR department, for example, with valuable insights for further personnel planning.

So the only question that remains is how to incorporate the data and insights gained in the process into your project management and resource management. The obvious answer, as is often the case, is to use Can Do, the software for skill-based resource and project management!

Can Do and Skill Management

Skill Management is a function that is integrated into the Can Do project management software. This makes it easy for project managers to assemble the ideal fit Dream Team for any project. Here are some of the features and benefits:

  • Your resource management is based on capacities, roles and suitability (skills).
  • You always have an overview of which skills are bundled in your teams and how busy the employees are.
  • You know which skills are actually available where in the company and thus avoid discussions between project and line.
  • You enjoy real-time resource planning.
  • The overview of resources, capacities and skills succeeds company-wide and also in multi-project management.

Learn more about Can Do's resource management and skills management on our features page.

Conclusion: Your own skills are scaled

It has already been discussed above: In manageable teams and objects, your own skills also and above all come into play - you know your people and their skills and therefore usually know yourself exactly which teams work well. With Skill Management, you succeed in transferring this skill to larger project environments, so to speak. Even in multi-project management, thanks to Can Do, you don't simply select resources - but the capable ones for your projects.

Want to know more about what skill management means in Can Do? Feel free to contact us!

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Michael Fenske
Written by

Michael Fenske

Michael Fenske works as a freelance author for Can Do GmbH.