Essential Elements of Services Success: What is a Resource Management Plan?
This is the first in the “Essential Elements of Services Success” blog series focused on helping professional services organizations strengthen the core of their business processes.
Whether you have a strong business-wide plan in place or not, if you’re coordinating people, processes, and projects, then resource management is happening at your professional services business right now. The key to optimizing the overlap between those elements and driving results for your business and for your clients’ businesses is a well-coordinated, scalable resource management plan that encompasses all the ways resources are deployed.
What is a resource management plan and how do you start making one? Here, we will provide you with a back to basics approach that will help you solidify the foundations of your professional services business for more replicable success and strong processes that support growth and new opportunities.
What is a Resource Management Plan?
In professional services, resource management is the control and deployment of the many different resources used for a project, which encompasses both employees and the equipment they use. A resource management plan is the framework that collects information on all necessary resources and determines how each will be used to complete a project.
These plans can be applied across an organization, reused from project to project, and highly modified as needed in the case of unique work requirements. In any case, these plans provide managers with insights into how their team is performing, what changes or improvements need to be made to be profitable and successful, and what internal conflicts may be compromising a good team. However, every resource management plan must be composed of the right information.
Essential Elements of a Resource Management Plan
When considering the elements that should be included in a resource management plan, most managers will automatically think of their team members as the central component. And while people are the top priority, there are many more elements of a resource management plan that should be included to create a comprehensive process.
- Team Members – Create a comprehensive list of all team members, including full-time, part-time, and contract employees that are currently working for your organization for clarity into your workforce.
- Office Space – The physical space your business provides can play a critical but often unseen role in completing work, as well as a company’s finances. Understanding your available office space, if it is properly utilized, and the role remote work plays will help you better provide for your local and distributed team.
- Roles and Responsibilities – Create clearly defined roles and their respective responsibilities for projects, which will then be assigned to team members, helping to create a hierarchy and prevent tasks from falling through the cracks.
- Tools – A list of available tools, which can include physical equipment and software depending on the type of work, helps managers understand whether their staff is properly equipped for a project and what new purchases are needed or if redundant equipment can be eliminated.
- Material and Components – Outside of your reusable tools, one-time use materials and components needed to complete work should be collated and priced to understand true resource costs.
- Availability – Having a consistently updated schedule for every team member where managers can see the availability of resources helps them to make informed decisions regarding project staffing to avoid task conflicts, poor utilization, and overworking.
- Skill Sets – Having a database of skills for every team member will improve task assignments by ensuring decision-makers can easily see what each resource is proficient in, thereby reducing time-to-staff, increasing the likelihood that the best-fitteam members are assigned to a project, and uncovering underused skills that already exist within the business.
With the elements in place, managers can begin assigning work, identifying the needs of both projects and resources, and taking critical actions that are informed by important data. Which of your team members are absolutely needed for an upcoming project? Is your team stretched too thin by its current workload? Are you spending too much on tools and cutting into your profit margins? These critical questions can’t be answered without the dependable insight brought by a resource management plan.
The Benefits of a Resource Management Plan
It can be easy to think of a resource management plan only benefitting the daily needs of a resource manager, but when used well, these plans have a widespread positive impact across a professional services organization. These benefits include:
- Improving utilization rates across your teams, which in turn translates to better profit margins and a higher workload capacity.
- Knowing when the time is right for new hires, new tools, and changes in your daily work processes due to a better understanding of your current resource pool.
- Preventing unexpected issues in resourcing, such as task conflicts or a lack of needed tools – this prevents project delays, improves project performance, and increases client satisfaction.
- Identifying and stopping overutilization that creates burnout in teams, which can lead to high employee turnover.
- Improving transparency across the organization, which helps managers and employees throughout the organization better understand their company and how it’s performing.
- Creating a data-backed measurement of a company’s efficiency, including individual utilization, usage of tools, leveraging skill sets, and project performance.
A great resource plan provides all the data and insights that a company needs at both a portfolio-wide level and down to each individual worker. The best plans help provide an understanding of where crucial improvements can be made and allow for greater flexibility in work processes so that they can adapt to important changes as companies incrementally improve over time.
Creating a great resource plan is like having your company stand in front of a mirror – you get the clear picture you need of what your business looks like today, how it is doing, and what the expected impacts of changes will be.
What Can Kantata Resource Management Do For You?
Are you working to create your first comprehensive resource management plan? Or are you already knee-deep in resource management but need to take your capabilities to the next level? The Kantata Cloud for Professional ServicesTM is designed to bring a clear perspective and better capabilities to people-powered businesses. Find out more about how Kantata resource management software can change your business.