Want to learn how to manage project resources in a way that will boost productivity for you and your team? Even if you know the basics, you can always benefit from fine-tuning your project resource planning strategy. Use the following tips and information to manage resources in a way that maximizes productivity throughout every stage of your project.
Why project resource planning matters
Project resource planning matters because it can determine how productive a project will be, as well as the overall success or failure of a project. Consider these statistics:
- 48% of projects do not finish on time.
- 43% of projects exceed their budgets.
- Inadequate resource forecasting leads to 18% of project failures.
As you can see, project resource management controls the two most important critical success factors of any project: time and budget. If you don’t manage resource allocation effectively through strategies that improve productivity, there is a considerable chance that the project may fail.
However, if you take the time to review the productivity advice below, you can pick up some tips on how to manage resources in a project and deliver work that exceeds expectations.
How to manage resources in a project effectively
Here are some broad-stroke project resource planning tips that apply to any industry or project type. Learn how to direct and manage resource allocation in productive ways.
1. Consider the big picture.
Big picture questions are an absolute must for business leaders including project managers.
Big picture questions help you figure out a strategic framework for problem-solving. They also help you align resources with your project vision, eliminating costly mistakes such as micro-managing (a common practice among project managers who forget this important step), which 55% of employees say hurts their productivity.
Resource leveling is an important part of this process. What is resource leveling? Simply put, it's a method of figuring out when your project can be completed using the available resources, without spreading them too thinly across the project lifecycle. When considering the big picture of your project, look at how and where your resources should be used to their advantage.
Ask yourself what this project is like compared to others in terms of duration, size, and complexity. These answers will help give you an idea of what you’ll need. It will also help give you context before diving into the nitty-gritty details.
2. Outline your resources.
Project resources include anything and everything you need to complete the project. Examples of project resources include tech tools, time allocated, and personnel. Make sure you price out or estimate the cost of each resource. If the proposed resource list is already over budget, take action now before they become an issue.
Also, as you manage project resources, consider important details about each resource that may affect the project outcome. Will weather affect or halt construction at any point? Will your team need the aid of outside freelancers to complete certain tasks? Add these predictions to your resource requirements list.
3. Visualize your resources.
Visuals are proven to increase information retention by 50% and drastically improve overall workplace productivity.
Use a visual resource management tool to plot out when you need each resource, how much of it you plan to use, and which resources depend on one another at every stage of the project. Gantt charts help project managers draft, track, and reallocate their resources as needed.
4. Have a backup plan.
Not having one can be a major productivity killer. If potential risks are not outlined through a fallback plan, teams may be unprepared in dealing with unexpected threats that can delay or even damage project resources.
In fact, a backup plan for how to manage project resources is an absolute necessity. Changes, such as employees requesting time off, contractors experiencing shipping delays, and creative visions getting reworked happen all of the time. When you draft your contingency plan, include at least two budget-conscious alternatives for each item such as task redistribution or alternative vendors.
5. Check-in regularly.
According to the New York Times, being held accountable is one of the best ways to improve productivity — so make sure you hold both yourself and resources accountable on a regular basis!
Schedule time to review your resources at the beginning or end of each workday. Compare the amount of each resource you planned to use to how much is left. Make adjustments to your plan if you see that some resources are being used up faster than others.
Resource management tools you need to know about
One of the best ways to increase the productivity of your project resources is to automate employee admin, check-ins, and forecasting. But the trick to increasing productivity with these tools is to not overload yourself. Instead, consolidate and use a multipurpose platform for all your resource management needs to avoid the law of diminishing returns.
Try the following resource management tools to help you do exactly that:
- Wrike Resource. Wrike Resource is a powerful resource management tool that helps managers create a plan to avoid burnout and project delays. It does this through flexible resource allocation tools, drag-and-drop task prioritization, and advanced monitoring features.
- ToDo. ToDo is a free Chrome extension and Wrike add-on that gives you an easy way to create, prioritize, and view notifications for tasks without opening a new window.
- Workload Charts. Workload charts help project managers plot and assign tasks to employees according to their individual availability and skill set. DIY your own or use the workload charts made available within Wrike to maximize each team member’s potential in the shortest and most realistic amount of time.
Boost productivity with the right resource management tools
By now you’ve learned why resource management is so important, how tracking your time can help you increase productivity, and how to help your team get things done on-time and within your budget. You’ve also learned that it’s possible to increase productivity when you choose to coordinate projects with resource management software. Use Wrike’s free two-week trial to supercharge project productivity using the resources you already have at your disposal.