Want to know all about resource management?
Planning and managing resources is critical to a successful mission, just ask Bear Grylls!
Every company needs to manage its resources to ensure that they operate effectively.
And while your resources here aren’t food and water, they’re just as essential to your business’ survival!
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about resource management to help you run your projects efficiently — whether you have an on-site or a remote team!
This article contains:
- What is resource management?
- Why is resource management important?
- Three effective resource management techniques
- How to create and implement a resource management strategy
Let’s get started.
What is resource management?
Resource management is the process of planning, scheduling, and allocating your resources in the best way possible.
Luckily, unlike Bear, you won’t have to eat bark to manage your resources effectively!
Things aren’t going to get that wild in the project management sphere.
So is project management the same as resource management?
Nope, they’re two different things
- Project management deals with creating, assigning and managing tasks to complete a project
- Resource management is a part of project management. It’s about planning how to best allocate resources for the project
So what are my resources?
When you hear the word “resource”, you may think about a natural resource like wood or rocks. However, project management resources are naturally very different from a natural resource.
In project management, a resource is something needed to complete the project.
This includes different types of resource, like:
- Tangible resources: software, materials, equipment, real estate, financial resources and most importantly, human resource
- Intangible resources: skills, ideas, time, processes, intellectual property, strategic partnerships, prospect databases
To put things into a better perspective, let’s compare your situation to our favorite wilderness expert’s:
- Bear Grylls and his cameraman: You and your team (human resource)
- Food, water and wood: Project management software, work processes (such as Agile project management) and funding
- The harsh wilderness: Challenges you’ll face in managing your resources
However, there’s one thing that Bear and you share in common… And no, it’s not a killer workout routine that you both follow!
Whether you’re in the wild or the civilized world, proper resource management is all about efficient planning and resource utilization.
While Bear Grylls has his cameraman, you need dedicated resource managers for this!
What is a resource manager?
Resource managers work closely with project managers to ensure that there’s optimal resource usage for the project.
Their roles and responsibilities include:
- Resource allocation
- Resource leveling
- Planning for future needs according to current resource availability
- Resource utilization
- Human resource management
- Monitoring project resource usage
While this seems like a lot to manage, with an efficient resource management strategy, it becomes way easier!
Note: If you want to improve your resource management skills, you should also study the art of human resource management HRM. Students can enroll at the Society for Human Resource Management SHRM for detailed courses and certifications.
Why is resource management important?
You now know what is resource management.
But why do you need it?
Efficient projects try to minimize costs and waste as little resources as possible.
I mean, have you ever seen Bear Grylls wasting food?
While you won’t have to eat snails, you need to be careful with your resource planning to use those resources efficiently.
And how do you do this?
By creating a resource management strategy!
And what happens if you don’t have such a strategy?
Not having a management plan can be disastrous for your business.
- Your team won’t have a clear picture of your planning and management process
- You won’t be able to make full utilization of available resources
- You might face resource bottlenecks
- You would miss deadlines and have cost overruns
- There would be more communication gaps and conflicts within your team
Not a happy thought, right?
Here’s a closer look at five reasons why you need resource management:
1. For efficient resource utilization
Let’s face it, all your resources — human or financial resources — are limited.
Exactly why you need excellent planning and efficient resource utilization.
Inefficient resource utilization can go one of two ways:
- Under usage: not using the resource to its full potential
- Over usage: excessive use of the resource
Experienced managers know that both of these scenarios invite serious trouble!
If you underuse resources, they’re going to go to waste and place unnecessary pressure on your other resources. For example, if you underutilize a team, you’re wasting their talents and skills while your other teams could end up with the extra workload.
Similarly, overusing resources can be just as bad.
It can result in:
- Running out of the resource prematurely because you’ve used it excessively
- Reducing the effectiveness of the resource itself
For example, if you overwork your employees, they could reach burnout quickly — after which, their productivity levels will never go back to what they used to be!
And you don’t need me to tell you that this is a recipe for high employee attrition!
Good resource management practices help you avoid both these inefficient utilization conditions easily. You’ll be able to make full use of all your resources without over-relying or running out too soon!
2. To get an overview of your project
Bear Grylls always draws a mental map of the whole forest when he starts exploring.
This way, the next time he needs to find water, he’ll know exactly where to look.
Similarly, a powerful management strategy gives managers and teams an overview of each task in a project. This helps everyone understand what’s going on in the project at all times.
You’ll also be able to:
- Track your task and project progress
- Get more control over all projects
- Track the efficiency of your resources, which helps you with strategic decision making
- Plan and manage resources according to your needs
3. Minimize miscommunication
Miscommunication can be costly.
Imagine what would happen if Bear Grylls and his cameraman got into a fight.
Not a pretty picture, right?
But the fact is that any organisation or team is likely to have miscommunication and conflict at some point!
How do resource management practices help here?
Everyone knows who’s responsible for handling different parts of a specific process. No more ambiguity about who’s supposed to do what and who’s responsible for specific KPIs!
No more blame games and nearly everyone’s happy!
Tip: Use a management tool with live updates and multi-user access to eliminate project miscommunications. This is super essential for an organisation where you have multiple project managers.
4. Avoid unforeseen circumstances
Bear Grylls is phenomenal when it comes to foreseeing the future and planning his needs accordingly.
How does he do it?
With resource planning!
For example, if you know that you’ll be out of water in a day or two, you should plan to spend more time filling up your flasks at a river the next day.
So how does resource planning help avoid unforeseen situations?
Here’s how this works:
- Knowing your resources
Resource planning lets you know what resources you have, and what results should be delivered by each resource
- Knowing processes
You know what processes are required to complete each project
- Estimating time
When you know the resources and steps, you can accurately estimate a realistic timeline of a project, helping you avoid delays
- An unforeseen event happens
This might involve a shortage of resources (such as a key employee resigning or a shortage in materials) or a change in market conditions (such as customers demanding a completely new feature in your product)
Since you have excellent visibility into your resources, processes and timelines, you can quickly estimate how you need to reallocate your existing resources or acquire new ones.
This helps you move as quickly as a Cheetah and take adaptive action – fast!
5. Measure efficiency
You’re out in the wild, hunting food for the next two days.
On the first day, you spend four hours hunting a rabbit that lasts for two meals.
On the second day, you spend three hours hunting a deer that lasts for six meals.
Which was more efficient?
The deer, of course!
That’s resource management, right there!
Now coming back to project management, here’s how resource management helps you out here:
- Planning and allocating resources helps you get an overview of your resource usage
- You can then optimize your projects so that they yield more while costing less
- You can also troubleshoot and eliminate factors that hinder your project’s progress
With careful resource monitoring, you’ll know exactly how your resources work. These insights will help you plan, manage and allocate resources more efficiently in the future!
Tip: Use a project management tool that gives you detailed reports to know quickly how your team is performing. This way, you’ll be able to take steps to boost their efficiency.
Three effective resource management techniques
We’ve been talking about the need for efficient resource management all this time.
But how do you manage resources efficiently?
Let’s now go over three effective resource management practices used by top resource managers all over.
Including Bear Grylls himself!
1. Resource allocation
Resource allocation is all about using your available resources wisely.
In the wild, you wouldn’t use drinking water to take a bath right?
Similarly, you shouldn’t assign a specific task to someone who doesn’t have the required skill sets for the job.
The key is to understand your team members’ skills and allocate them to the right tasks.
2. Resource leveling
In resource leveling, you discover underused resources and put them to better use.
Think of it this way:
If you had some leftover wood from that fire you used to cook food, why not use it to build a fishing rod to help you fish?
Similarly, if a team member is struggling with a project, assign them to something else they could do easily — this way, you’re combining resource leveling and allocation for maximum efficiency!
3. Resource forecasting
Resource forecasting works by predicting future resource requirements.
You go over what your project requires and what you currently have to determine what else you need to carry it out.
For example, if Bear plans to explore the wild, he’s carrying his ax with him!
Or at least his cameraman would.
Always be prepared, and you won’t have to rely too much on your critical thinking or problem solving skills to save you out in a jam!
How to create and implement a resource management strategy
You now know various effective resource management practices.
But how do you get started with your own wilderness quest like Bear Grylls?
How do you match his phenomenal natural resource management skills?
Note: Since even Bear couldn’t get through the wilderness without the right supplies, we’ll highlight how a project management tool like ClickUp can help you manage your resources each step of the way!
ClickUp is the world’s leading project management software. Used by 100,000+ teams in companies from startups to titans like Airbnb, Netflix, Nike and Google, this management software has everything you need to manage your project resources.
Whether you need help with resource scheduling, allocating resources, performance management or project portfolio management, ClickUp has got you covered!
It’s the only management solution you’ll need!
Step 1: Define your goals
Bear Grylls doesn’t start his day without planning what he’s going to accomplish by dusk.
And the easiest way to do this is by setting goals.
In project planning, setting goals helps define what you aim to achieve with your project.
For example, if your project’s scope is improving your website, some of your goals can be:
- Increase website visitor lead form conversions by 30%
- Boost website loading speed by 40%
But how do you keep track of these goals?
Writing your goals on paper or a whiteboard isn’t the best choice in 2020.
Even if your dog doesn’t eat it!
Why go retro when you have a planning software like ClickUp that makes mapping goals a breeze?
ClickUp’s solution: Goals
ClickUp’s Goals help you break down your project goal into small, measurable targets. To complete a goal, you only need to finish these targets!
ClickUp’s Goals also let you:
- Quantify project goals with OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)
- Set up weekly scorecards for a weekly performance appraisal of your project team
- Track project sprints in real-time
Step 2: Identify constraints and assumptions
Wilderness quests aren’t easy, right?
You’re going to face tons of problems and uncertainties!
Like walking along a forest trail and suddenly coming face-to-face with a grizzly!
That’s what managing a project is like too!
Any project has two key elements:
- Constraints: Factors like cost, schedule and your project’s scope which affect the number of resources you can allocate
- Assumptions: Things you believe will hold true throughout the project, like the number of team members remaining constant
Tracking both these elements is vital as it’ll allow you to manage your resources efficiently — irrespective of what comes your way!
And how do you track all the constraints and assumptions for efficient allocation of resources?
ClickUp’s solution: ClickUp Docs
Create documents specifying all your constraints and assumptions and store them alongside your projects.
You can even tag team members and create project tasks from within the doc to keep everyone on the same page!
Step 3: Define projects and allocate resources
Before starting any project, you need to define what the project is and organize the resources for it.
This includes everything from people to the equipment you’ll need.
How do you do this?
Use resource planning software like ClickUp to make your project and portfolio management process as organized as possible!
ClickUp’s solution: Tasks, subtasks and checklists to manage everything
There’s a lot that goes into a project, right?
From assignees to resources to to-do list items — there’s a lot!
And since there’s so much to keep track of, it’s impossible to manually keep track of it all.
Luckily, ClickUp breaks down your project into smaller tasks, subtasks and checklists for easy organisation and accessibility.
Here’s how it works:
- Tasks and Subtasks: break down your projects into small tasks and subtasks and then easily assign them to your team members. Now your team can work on the whole project by completing smaller parts step-by-step
- Checklists: create simple to-do lists that can be quickly checked off as your team progresses through a task. This is really useful for mapping out steps, quality check items and so on.
Project managers can even assign one task or subtask to multiple team members. This is super-helpful when more than one person works on a single task!
Step 4: Collaborate with your team
You now have your projects allocated and resources organized.
But, it won’t be any good if you’re unable to collaborate with your team efficiently.
Remember, Bear Grylls needs to work with his cameraman to get stuff done on his adventures. He can’t do it on his own!
So how do you do this with your team?
A. Use Comments to discuss ongoing task requirements
Need to talk about projects and clarify things?
Every ClickUp task has a built-in comment section to help you have task-specific discussions with your team.
ClickUp’s comments help you:
- Clarify what must be done in the task
- Address any issues with the right context
- Give a detailed explanation for a specific task
- Share relevant files and docs
- Tag team members to get their attention
B. Use Assigned Comments to create a mini subtask within a comment
When you have tons of work, some of your comments are going to go unnoticed.
Happens to all teams, right? But that doesn’t make it ok!
Remember, a single comment might be super important to the project, like a major bug fix. And not acting on it immediately is going to have disastrous consequences!
But don’t worry.
With ClickUp’s Assigned Comments, you can ensure that your comments always stay on your team’s radar!
It lets you quickly convert comments to tasks and assign them to a team member (or yourself). The tool then notifies the person and even displays it in their task tray — making sure they can’t overlook it!
Once the task is done, they can easily resolve the comment to avoid needless follow-ups.
Step 5: Conduct a time analysis
You now have an idea of what resources you need and how to coordinate with the project team.
But there’s still one thing that needs your attention.
Grylls wouldn’t spend the whole day trying to make a fishnet, would he?
Without analyzing your time constraints, it becomes challenging to get a clear picture of the overall project schedule.
How do you estimate and track time for your projects?
Here’s everything you need:
A. Use Time Estimates to set task deadlines
You can’t let your project team spend countless days on a single task, right?
ClickUp’s time estimate feature helps you decide how long a task should take to complete. You’ll also be instantly notified if a task overshoots its deadline.
This way, you won’t have to worry about overdue projects or losing track of time.
But don’t relax too much — you never know what’s around the corner in the wilderness!
B. Use Time Tracking to measure actual time spent and modify estimates accordingly
With ClickUp’s time tracking, a project manager can measure how much time a task actually took. This data can help you make better time estimates for future projects.
The tool gives you two ways to track time:
- Native time tracking: ClickUp’s Chrome extension is completely free and will track the time your team spends on a task or project
- App integration: If you’re already using third-party time-monitoring apps like Time Doctor, Everhour or Toggl, ClickUp lets you smoothly integrate them into your project space
Step 6: Monitor progress
Resource management isn’t just planning a strategy and implementing it.
You also need to actively monitor how your project team is doing.
But you can’t call up each member in your project team for updates, right?
Imagine doing that for every task — your entire day would be spent over the phone!
Luckily, with ClickUp, you won’t have to!
ClickUp’s solution: Advanced project tracking features
ClickUp has tons of visual tools like a Gantt chart, burn-down chart and more to give you detailed, visual overviews of your project progress.
Here’s how these tools can help you:
- Gantt chart: a Gantt chart highlights a project’s progress over a duration of time
- Burndown chart: the work left to be completed in a project
- Burnup chart: how much you’ve accomplished for the project so far
- Cumulative workflow chart: track your project’s progress and identify potential bottlenecks
- Velocity chart: helps estimate your team’s average completion rate
But that’s not all of ClickUp’s features!
This resource planning software also gives you features like:
- Priorities: assign tasks priorities to help your project team tackle tasks that are urgent
- Profiles: know each member’s tasks and responsibilities in a glance
- Dependencies: attempt your tasks in the correct order
- Team reporting: monitor your team’s performance to give compensation and benefits to those who perform well
- Multiple assignees: assign a single task to various team members quickly
An excellent resource management strategy is one of the cornerstones of any successful business.
But you can’t implement one on your own.
Just like how Bear Grylls needs his cameraman, you need powerful project management software like ClickUp to help you.
From planning your project portfolio to scheduling and monitoring your resources, ClickUp will help you every step of the way!
Sign up for ClickUp today to become a resource guru like Bear!
Erica is ClickUp’s Senior Content Manager and professional beach bum. She spends her days creating emails, blogs, landing pages, and more to help people increase their productivity so they can save one day every week to do more of what they love.