What is Resource Management: Five Key Features
What is Resource Management?
We have a tendency to think of resources in concrete terms, like natural resources such as water or industrial resources like steel used in manufacturing. However, resources can also be abstract. Both time and labor are abstract resources. Efficient resource management requires that all resources, both concrete and abstract, are used to reach a goal.
What makes resource management complex is understanding how these resources interact. For example, if you wanted to improve time efficiency, you might look into hiring more team members. However, this also requires you to examine expenses to see if you can afford additional salaries, or if you need to make internal team changes. Successful resource management requires you to understand how each resource is being used and to accurately predict how altering use of one resource will affect the others.
What is Resource Management Software?
Think of the tools your professional services business currently uses to track resource management. Most likely, you’re working with a combination of time tracking software, spreadsheets, and old-fashioned email reporting.
Resource management software is a centralized hub that combines all these features into a single interface. By bringing all of these resource management tools together, project leaders are able to obtain better insight into what is happening on every front of the project.
Additionally, resource management software provides automated services that previously required man power to access. For example, resource management software can log and track progress so project managers can view trends and accurately forecast the future of the project.
What is an Effective Resource Management System?
There are several capabilities that any resource management system absolutely must have to properly support a professional services organization. Does your system offer these five features?
Project Time Tracking
Efficient time tracking is an imperative feature of an effective resource management system. The age-old adage “time is money” has never been more appropriate. Providing accurate project time tracking is crucial in seeing how much time and manpower is being invested in a project and if that investment is yielding needed results.
With effective resource management software, users should be able to glean this information at a glance and make appropriate changes. For example, an efficient time tracking system can tell a manager that a team of five is working ahead of schedule while a team of four on another task is behind. The manager can then make the call to possibly reallocate team members based on their progress, or ask them to focus on different tasks for the time being.
Team Collaboration Tools
While many features of resource management systems are skewed towards project managers, effective resource management software should also provide features to team members beyond time tracking. Communication between teams and departments tends to be a weak link in project management, so providing team collaboration tools is essential.
Team collaboration tools can take many forms, and every team dynamic has different requirements and needs they need met. By giving team members a way to interface and update each other on their progress, the communication process is made much clearer when done in the context of the related project. The same is true for cross department collaboration. A good resource management system provides a central interface to communicate, share assets, and pass along assignments.
Resource management software should be capable of providing real time analysis and reporting. As the system is constantly being fed data regarding resources and their utilization rates, effective resource management systems should be constantly analyzing this data and building insight reports. Opposed to manual reporting and analysis, resource management software has access to data as soon as it enters the system, so reports are never obsolete.
These reports can take form in the identification of trends, forecasting results, comparing current performance to targeted performance, and other data analysis. These reports allow project managers to quickly gain insight into different aspects of the project and see what is and isn’t working. Managers can then implement changes to get the project back on track, or make note of what is working for future endeavors.
A good resource management software system should provide for all of your needs, but should also support integration with other software solutions. In a best-case scenario, you should be able to rely solely on a single system for resource management, but in practice it’s rarely this simple. There are cases where a client insists on using third party software or perhaps a certain tool is so built into your organization that switching to a new one simply isn’t worth it.
These are situations where resource management systems need to provide integration. In short, the resource management software is capable of integrating other software into its system, either by linking data for easy access or other integration methods that allow the two systems to communicate back and forth. By offering cross integration, a good resource management system saves time and preserves its status as a centralized hub without alienating other tools you may need to work with.
Visual Project Planning Tools
For many employees, visualization provides a way to communicate and contextualize information. In terms of resource management, this means giving employees access to visual versions of their tasks and goals like project timelines, calendars, and other depictions of the project process. When a team member can physically see how all of these elements interact, their engagement and understanding of the project’s parameters increases.
For project managers, visualization allows them to keep employees on the same page while also improving their insights about the project. Seeing data come to life as graphs or charts helps them make sense of the project’s scope and progress. For example, while a spreadsheet can record data, it can also cause information to become lost within a sea of data and eat up a large amount of time during the review process. Offering visual alternatives like graphs causes this information to become more apparent and provides actionable insight.
Make the Most of Resource Management
The Kantata Professional Services Cloud is an award winning resource management software solution that has been driving client success for years. Find out more about Kantata project and resource management software today.