Plenty of tools abound in the project management environment, given the processes accompanying every stage, from initiating projects right to closing them successfully. In this regard, one of the most closely inspected elements of a project are its resources. But,

What are resources?

Resources refer to the talent pool and technical capabilities needed for projects. Of these, human resources are an organization’s most crucial asset, considering that skilled expertise is what drives core projects, service delivery, operational activities and administrative functions.

Without the exact skill-matches and actual availability, delivery becomes even less certain. When team sizes are small enough to manage visibly, resource planning can be carried out on a basic spreadsheet or tool developed in house. But as you scale up and the workforce composition changes, it gets difficult to sift through data concerning task and team management. This is why project and resource managers alike rely on a dedicated resource management software.

An enterprise-grade resource scheduler software confirms that the right and sufficient resources are available to be scheduled for work. It lets resource managers identify, find, plan, and allocate the right resources. The tool offers insights into schedule changes, demand shifts and resourcing risks and also streamlines resource request processes. With a holistic view of the resource pool, ongoing projects and timelines, project managers can deploy teams to work that makes optimum use of key skills.

Advantages of resource management software

A resource management software looks at projects from a resourcing perspective. In other words, it lets businesses keep count and track of the influx of employees and their assignments. It takes into consideration the amount and quality of resources utilized previously and tracks competencies mobilized on existing projects as well.

This way, the project strategy can include resource predictions concerning roles and how the capacity would evolve for pipelined and future projects. Businesses would also benefit from tapping into potential from within, closing talent gaps and resolving project bottlenecks before they took over the project entirely. Other benefits of a resource scheduler include:

1. Wider range of visibility
Visibility has a powerful impact on the decisions you take. It is a much needed feature to determine if your resources have sufficient bandwidth. Or conversely, if they’re being under or over worked. After all the more surmisable the data, the quicker you act. A resource management software comprises of visual swimlanes that depict how resources are positioned across the enterprise. This way, you can match progress to efforts against the timeline; ensuring several projects are on track.

2. Comprehensive skills data
A skills inventory that stores resource records lets you know which skills are active and the period for they’re booked for. A resource scheduler software lets resource managers pick out passive and benched skills to determine if such competencies can be enhanced via reskilling( for a newly created role) or upskilling (obtaining a higher qualification critical to their role). This data is vital to shape and finalize future deployments around skills relevance.

3. Optimal bookings
High-level Gantt charts within a staff scheduling application let you drop suboptimal bookings off the project without compromising resource availability. It depicts activities, timelines and resources assigned, thus flagging projects that are experiencing resource crunches, skill clashes or overbookings. It blocks out training times in the project calendar to prevent excessive work from being assigned to your staff in the midst of both core and non-core work.

4. Resource forecasts against work requirements
Given the shift to iterative agility, both in terms of work culture and work, it makes sense to have a master list of resources needed to drive new opportunities. A resource management software comprises of reports that crisply state your resource pool’s availability, utilization and existing capacity. Looking at all 3 elements in unison lets you decide if the present strength has sufficient skills and bandwidth to take up work and plan on hiring additional resources accordingly.

5. Lowered labor costs
Rather than limiting your projects to full-time staff, adding part-timers, freelancers and contractors to your workforce network ensures the right priorities are being worked on while staying within the allocated budget. With a gig economy, the advantage lies in maximizing the project’s billability without incurring a labor overhead. A workforce planning software assigns each resource a full-time equivalent (FTE) weighting against the type of contract they’re under, thus tapping into existing potential without running the risk of over or under utilization. This way, each employee’s primary skills are appraised for the actual hours invested.

6. Quality delivery
With the right and available competencies, project delivery can follow the normal trajectory. Making use of the right talent in the right places ensures sequenced tasks stay the course while enabling your workforce to collaborate and help each other out of a tight spot. A resource management software lets a project and/or resource manager spot troubled projects and identify the resources needed to be released or reshuffled onto them, thus giving it the much-needed momentum to continue progression.

How does resource management software differ from other tools?

Businesses have realized that connected information systems not only reduces project management costs but also improves process efficiencies. And the fact remains that skill-based allocations require a resource planning tool. This is because conflicting reports on resource assignments and project billability have proven to compound the project planning process. This results in missed potential, lowered work quality and employee morale and above all, poor financial performance.

With that in mind here is how resource management fares against other products;

1. Resource management software vs project management software: While project management deals with the project lifecycle from its initiation all the way through to completion, a resource management tool scans skills levels and available hours being utilized on existing projects. It then lets project managers cap the number of resources needed for future projects after factoring in labor cost and effort estimates.

2. Resource management software vs. human resource management software: Human resource management systems look after talent management, payroll processing, performance appraisal and benefits administration. While an employee scheduling software is common to both tools, resource management is the successive step that profiles and picks out resources who are the right fit based on project requirements and constraints.

3. Resource management software vs. Enterprise resource planning software: It's easy to get the two mixed up, but think of enterprise resource planning software as more of a rostering system. It drives efficiency by connecting multiple platforms and unifies cross-departmental workflows. A resource management software generates resource-centric heatmaps for accurate insights into workforce planning and staffing strategies. It syncs employee schedules with leave management and capacity reports, thereby ensuring you’re informed ahead of labor shortages or surpluses.

While it's undeniable that each of these systems offer manifold benefits, productivity scales remain optimal only with a workforce planning software that lets managers pressed for time verify resource and project essentials in a single shot.

Over to you

The more straightforward the employee scheduling software you use, the better able you are to smooth out workloads. As far as tradeoffs go, quality delivery and cost-efficiency shouldn’t be in the list. It's time then, for you to sign up for a personalized demo or custom-configured trial of Saviom’s resource management software. With pricing options as simple and personalized as the tool itself, ascribe to resource efficiency scales with an exploration of customized screens, plugins and business analytics that run on a scalable architecture.
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