The correct use of resources is listed in almost all project management studies as a central success factor for successful projects. Conversely, the wrong use of resources - insufficient or even the wrong resources - is one of the most common reasons why projects fail. Good resource management is therefore a basic prerequisite for successful project work.
Challenges in resource management and how to overcome them easily
Essentially, four challenges need to be addressed in resource management:
- Identify suitable project participants
- Assign project participants (to a work package)
- Use project participants as efficiently as possible
- Continuously control and monitor project participants
To identify suitable staff for your project, you should proceed in two steps: As a project manager, you know best what qualifications you need for the project. Therefore, you should address your request to the line manager who will then assign suitable employees to the project.
The most important prerequisite is that there is sufficient capacity in your department. In order to determine this, you should know the exact workload of the department and your employees. Furthermore, in a multi-project environment, you have to take into account all requests that are sent to the department. Last but not least, the basic loads, holidays and days off have to be included in the picture of the workload. You can only make a reliable statement about capacity utilization if you take all the factors mentioned into account.
The assignment of the project participants is usually a coordination process between you in your function as project manager and the line manager. The process can only be carried out successfully if a comprehensive real-time overview of the resource utilization is available. With the support of a software solution for project management, this transparency can be created and the coordination process can be made comfortable and efficient.
In order to deploy project participants as efficiently as possible, you need a comprehensive and realistic overview of the capacity utilisation of employees and departments throughout the company. Due to the multi-dimensionality - projects, line work, days off and other availability reductions - inaccurate planning data must be considered and processed. The use of professional project management software is recommended. This solution must have a dynamic capacity alignment procedure that recognizes unproblematic and selective overloads and levels them accordingly. Such a dynamic balancing procedure corresponds to the principle of project management, i.e. the self-organization and autonomy of the employees within a given framework. It reduces the planning effort and at the same time makes planning more realistic and easier.
Last but not least, it is extremely important to maintain an overview and control of the project and all those involved. This makes the project, especially for you, more transparent and the information becomes more condensed, as you can easily follow and understand every step. The planning tool used for this must be of much more use than its operation requires in terms of effort. Real-time behavior, an intelligent information hierarchy, various monitoring functions and a reporting system must also be available. Equally important is the easy integration of the system into the existing IT landscape.
Strategic benefits of efficient resource management
Of course, it often does not remain with a single project, but over time it becomes necessary to manage a project landscape and to maintain an overview of the distribution of resources there as well. The benefits of this so-called project portfolio management as an instrument for implementing corporate strategy offer numerous advantages at a strategic level. This is because the aim of portfolio management is to find the optimal mix of projects within the given conditions, such as customer concerns and available resources, which can make the greatest contribution to achieving the organisation's objectives. In a portfolio, projects and project ideas are collected, evaluated, prioritised and finally either approved or rejected. Logically, in the end only those projects can be realised for which sufficient financial means and suitable resources are available. Therefore, an essential task of project portfolio management is to coordinate ongoing and planned projects with regard to the time availability and capabilities of resources, synergies and conflicts.
Therefore, the basis of a project portfolio consists of a holistic resource management. Only under the condition that the existing capacities have already been taken into account accordingly in the project portfolio, realistic planning is also possible. Competent resource management is therefore a key discipline for a successful project portfolio. The most suitable employees should be assigned to the most important projects. In addition, a comprehensive analysis is required to identify and avoid resource bottlenecks and overload situations at an early stage.
Skill management revolutionises resource management
Capacity planning based on the skills of the employees has the potential to change the entire resource management. This will affect almost every area of a company, especially employees in the departments of a line or Maxtrix organization. Therefore a detailed skill planning for projects and all other work that is affected by this transformation process in capacity planning becomes essential.
Skill management is a powerful instrument that should not be underestimated. It enables highly efficient use of resources and enables the company to identify future needs for expertise. You should definitely pay attention to this strategic dimension of skill management, as it can improve your company's market position in the long term.