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10 Common Resource Management Mistakes

10 Common Resource Management Mistakes

UPDATEDJan 31, 2023

Resource management is a critical piece of every professional services organization, but it will take hard work for managers to be truly successful. Besides requiring in-depth knowledge of all available resources and how to best use them, resource managers also need to make corrections on the fly as new project requests and changes in both task priority and resource availability occur.

Here are 10 common resource management mistakes to be on the lookout for during your next project.

1. Poor Resource Forecasting

A project truly begins with the resource forecasting process. Managers need to accurately predict the resources they will need to complete a project and how they will need to be applied. Additionally, managers need to be able to anticipate worst-case scenarios and prepare contingencies to resolve the problems mid-project. Ideally, resource managers should be able to anticipate and resolve problems before they even have the chance to occur. Without proper resource forecasting, managers are left unprepared and scrambling throughout not just the current project lifecycle, but in the preparation process for the next project.

2. Reinventing the Wheel

Every project deserves its own special considerations, . From analysis of what makes the project unique to carefully considered breakdowns of each and every resource the project will need. However, approaching every project in a bubble can make us forget what we’ve learned from past projects. How was resource management handled in similar projects? What methods were successful? What roadblocks commonly occurred? Rather than looking at projects in a vacuum, we need to consider them as a series that can be improved upon with each iteration.

3. Too Much Management

From a resource manager or project manager’s perspective, it can be tempting to control every single aspect of a project. Having a sense of when to course correct is essential, but overly enthusiastic resource management quickly becomes micromanaging. As a result, employees are now spending more time and energy trying to anticipate and adjust to every new suggestion rather than having the time and space to focus on their own tasks and the larger project.

4. Not Enough Management

The opposite of micromanaging, hands-off managers have a tendency to let resources and projects manage themselves. While this communicates a sense of trust and respect to the project’s team members, it leaves them completely vulnerable to project setbacks and delays that could have been avoided with more active monitoring and management. Management that provides employees with communication and context can help avoid costly mistakes.

5. Lack of Flexibility

A project timeline acts as a roadmap for a project’s completion. It covers all of the project’s phases and what tasks need to be completed to meet the project deadline. While extremely useful as a point of reference, many resource managers treat project timelines as the single way to complete a project. Imagine you are on a roadtrip with a certain number of stops before reaching your destination. If one of the routes you planned to take unexpectedly closes, you would find an alternate way to the same destination. Without flexibility, any unexpected changes can cause major setbacks.

6. No Room for Error

We all like to imagine we can tackle a project at peak efficiency. In reality, to err is human, and in projects that require collaboration (especially with a client or department head) assignments may need several rounds of revisions before they’re ready to be passed onto the next project phase. Resource managers need to realistically consider how long each project phase will take and where they may need to build in cushion time to make up for delays.

7. Forgetting Dependencies

Another common resource management mistake is forgetting to consider dependencies within a project. Dependencies can refer to certain tasks that need to be completed before another phase can begin, or it can refer to actual resources that need to change hands in order to progress. Without considering dependencies through tools like Gantt charts, resource management plans and predictions can quickly fall behind schedule or break down completely.

8. Resource Tracking

So you’ve successfully assigned all your resources and know exactly how they need to be used for a project’s success, but do you have a method in place to actually track their use? Resource managers need to be able to see when resources are being applied to tasks in order to judge progress and make adjustments. Without comprehensive resource tracking, managers have no idea where adjustments need to be made and how to fix the issues that follow.

9. Communication Breakdowns

Communication between resource managers, project managers, and team members is crucial during a project’s timeline. Managers need to keep team members in the loop, while also letting them know what changes they need to make. This flow of information keeps team members grounded and gives them a sense of the project’s overall health. When team members aren’t updated, they may feel disconnected from the project and lose motivation.

10. No Post-Close Analysis

When a project ends, it needs to be properly analyzed. Examining past projects under a microscope provides powerful insight about what made the project successful, and what was standing in its way. In particular, this allows managers to see how resources were used through the course of the project and if they could have been used more efficiently. The phrase “hindsight is 20/20” exists for a reason, and neglecting to study completed projects results in the same mistakes being made over and over.

Avoid These Mistakes with Resource Management Software

Strong resource management software provides improved transparency and real-time updates that give managers the information they need to make informed decisions. Examine data trends across past projects for expert resource forecasting and future project planning, while keeping team members on the same page with specialized resource tracking software and communication features. Resource management software is an invaluable tool designed to take your project and resource management to the next level.

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