A new project request has come across your desk. Now what? Do you jump right in with assigning tasks and making progress on that work? Not quite.

Before you get started, you know that it’s crucial to answer this question: What exactly do you need in order to pull this project off? That’s when you turn to your resource planning processes to identify what’s required to complete that request, and how you can allocate those resources for maximum efficiency — before anybody on your team gets started.  

But what is resource planning? Mapping out resources for a project plan can be complex, so we’re here to help. In this article, we’re digging into what resource management is, why it matters, and how the right tools can make this important process much easier. 

What is resource management?

A resource is anything that you need to execute a specific task or project. That could be skill sets of certain employees, specific software or technical tools, budget, and even raw materials or physical space. Basically, whatever you need to get that project across the finish line is considered a resource. 

So, what’s resource management? It’s the process of planning, scheduling, and allocating those resources. It’s how you’ll arrange and use them in order to ensure maximum efficiency. 

Imagine that you’re hosting a webinar. Some of the resources you might need to make that happen include the expertise of your marketing and IT teams, video conferencing software, and budget for your promotions. Through resource management, you’d figure out exactly why, when, and how you’ll access those various items. 

Does resource management really matter? 

Here’s the short answer: yes. 

Effective resource management is important for a number of reasons. For starters, proactively mapping out your resources will help you boost your project’s success rate. In Project Management Institute’s (PMI) 2018 Pulse of the Profession survey, 21% of respondents cited limited or taxed resources as the primary reason for project failure.

Additionally, investing the time in resource allocation upfront prevents waste. You’ll know exactly what you require and how you’ll use it — meaning you won’t sink time or money into things you won’t need. 

Finally, when it comes to your project resources, what’s your greatest asset? Your people. 

The time and expertise of various team members will be one of the biggest resources that your projects depend on. But, unfortunately, 48% of workers say they have too many unreasonable deadlines and too much work to do. Solid resource management helps you make the most of your team’s capacity without spreading them too thin.  

Top tips for enterprise project management resource planning

What is the purpose of enterprise resource planning? Resource management is important, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s also complex. Let’s cover a few tips to get a solid grasp on what a project or task requires, and how you can juggle those assets accordingly. 

1. Get all of the project details upfront

It’s difficult to plan your resources effectively if you don’t fully understand what a project entails. That’s why it’s important that you’re clear on the project’s scope and requirements before you start planning anything.

A whopping 57% of employees say they have difficulty finding the right information to complete a task, and that it’s the top contributor to their lagging productivity. That lack of clarity seems even more dire in creative projects, with only 27% of agencies in one survey indicating that the creative briefs they received had enough detail.

Before you roll up your sleeves and get started on a project plan, make sure that you grasp the ins and outs of that request so that you can root your resources in reality rather than your best guesses.  

To make sure that you’re getting the right details from the beginning, consider using a project intake form or creating a templated brief that people need to fill out when requesting work from your team. You’ll secure the information you need right away, rather than having to chase it down. 

2. Create a resource plan template

Speaking of templates, they can be a major help for resource management. While every project will be unique in terms of the resources it requires, you don’t need to start from scratch with every new project plan. 

There are plenty of resource allocator templates out there that you can use, or you can create one that’s customized to your team and typical projects.

Regardless of which route you go, getting the bare bones down on paper gives you a starting point you can use time and time again. It’s a surefire way to make the resource planning process a little less intimidating. 

3. Don’t forget about resource dependencies

You know what it’s going to take to put together and host that webinar, and you’ve jotted all of those resources down. However, you don’t want to make the mistake of planning in isolation. You can’t assume that they’ll all be readily available right when you need them.

What if that IT team member is in the thick of another project and isn’t available to set up your video conferencing during the time you intended? What if the room you planned to use as your quiet space is already booked for a different meeting? 

Failing to account for resource dependencies can sabotage your projects. In fact, an older report from PMI found that resource dependency is another major contributor to project failure.

Avoid the domino effect that happens when you fail to account for the relationships between your resources by making sure you zoom out and understand how those resources might be required elsewhere. That will help you plan for those contingencies, rather than letting them sneak up on you. 

4. Leverage the superpower of resource management software

Resource planning and allocation can be tricky, but you don’t have to go it alone. The right resource management software makes it way easier to keep track of your resources, adapt to changes, and make important decisions about what needs to be used where.

Curious how this type of technical tool can help you? Well, let us tell you a little more about Wrike Resource

Using Wrike Resource to streamline your resource planning processes

Wrike Resource is an add-on feature available for Business and Enterprise accounts that gives you the visibility you need to effectively manage your greatest resource: your team.

With features like workload charts, the ability to set task effort separate from duration, timesheets and time tracking, and team utilization reports, Wrike Resource simplifies the process of assigning tasks, planning schedules, and balancing workloads. 

Put simply, you can stop guessing about whether or not your team can realistically fulfill that project request and turn to Wrike Resource to make informed decisions. It means more realistic project plans and a lot less stress for you and your entire team. 

Sound like something you can’t live without? We thought so. Get started with a free trial of Wrike.

Find out more about the differences between capacity planning and resource planning here.