Your guide to getting started with resource management

Has your team ever felt overworked? Has it been hard to find ways to work efficiently? In a world where organizations are moving fast, sometimes employee workload becomes an oversight. If you and your team are staying at the office late to finish projects or lunch breaks are a thing of the past, resource management is something to pay close attention to. There is a way to maximize your team’s performance while keeping them happy and engaged—no late nights required.

What is resource management?

Resource management, or resource allocation, is the process of planning and scheduling your resources and activities. Resources can include everything from equipment and financial funds to tech tools and employees—basically, anything that helps you complete your project.

When you’re trying to decide how to manage or allocate your resources, consider a few questions:

  1. What is the availability of each resource?
  2. What are the timelines for each activity?
  3. How many resources will be required to accomplish each activity?
  4. Who is the best person to accomplish the activity effectively?

Why do you need to utilize resource management?

Resource allocation in project management isn’t just a nice to have. It’s a must have on every project you’re responsible for. The benefits of deploying resource management practices from the beginning far outweigh the time it takes. In fact, the number of projects your team can handle, along with the quality of each, depend on it. As project leader, resource allocation is your opportunity to optimize efficiency and effectively manage your team’s workload.

Oftentimes we don’t realize our employees are drowning in projects until it’s too late. Production is slow and team members are stressed out. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Resource management allows you to make sure your team members are confident with the amount of work on their plate, as well as the tools they need to accomplish each task. Not only does allocating resources properly keep your projects running smoothly, but it also prevents employee burnout. When resource management is done right, work will be produced at a faster rate, with higher quality, and employees will feel satisfied at the end of the day knowing their workload was right for them.

Top 5 advantages of resource management

If you’re not already convinced that resource management is critical to the success of your project, let’s dig a little deeper. Check out these advantages you don’t want to miss out on:

  1. See the whole picture. When you allocate resources effectively you’re able to get a broad view of the project in its entirety. Having every resource associated with your project in one central place gives you an insider’s look and allows you to make changes as needed. This high-level overview helps you connect the dots from resource to task to timeline and decide if someone’s workload is too heavy or light. This is your opportunity to spot potential problems upfront.

  2. Distribute work appropriately. You likely know the strengths and weaknesses of each of your team members. As you’re allocating resources it’s important to keep in mind who will be the most successful with each task or activity. Having a conversation with every person you intend to have work on the project will allow them to be informed and part of the decision-making process. They’ll feel empowered from the start. Be sure you’re using their time effectively by monitoring who’s overloaded on other projects and who has extra bandwidth.

  3. Keep your team on the same page. Being transparent with your team ensures that no one is in the dark. This is important because when everyone knows who’s doing what by when, confusion decreases and team members have clarity around their responsibilities. They can see how their part of the project fits into the overall vision for the team or company. And when a team works well together projects automatically run better—plus they’re more fun to work on!

  4. Set realistic goals. There’s no point in setting goals that you know can’t be reached. Instead, resource management gives you an opportunity to map out what you can realistically get done and by when. Having everything spelled out, including all necessary resources, helps you justify any challenges you anticipate to your boss (or whoever assigned the project). Know what you’re able to accomplish with your current resources and then make a case for more if necessary. Then set goals that actually make sense.

  5. Improve future planning. When you go through the resource allocation process, you’ll get better at it each time. You’ll be able to find gaps and add additional resources next time to execute even faster. This can also help you make a case for more budget or people when a similar project hits your desk while making informed decisions when planning headcount.

Resource management best practices

How can you become a resource management master? Try these 10 tips to get started.

  1. Measure realistic timeframes. Know how much time it takes for each employee to get things done. Planning down the road will be easier.
  2. Set start and end dates. Having a duration set for each task offers a realistic time frame for how long it takes each team member to complete a task. By making sure you set the right start and end dates, you’ll be able to provide an accurate timeline for the entire project.
  3. Know your employees’ skill sets. Understanding who is great at what helps determine the best resource for each task.
  4. Prioritize work. Decide upfront what takes priority when it comes to your team’s workload. Build your timeline around your top priority tasks and determine which resources will get you there.
  5. Adjust for efficiency as you go. Project management, in general, is an ongoing effort. Tasks and timelines may change as challenges arise. Don’t be afraid to move resources around as necessary to be as efficient as possible.
  6. Keep some time slots open. While resource allocation planning is critical to do from the beginning, you can’t plan for everything. Keep time slots available for new work that might come up and be flexible.
  7. Pick the resource management style that fits your team. You know your team better than anyone. Use your knowledge to determine the best resource allocation process, such as workload by hours, points, or task count.
  8. Check in on your team. Make sure you have a real-time pulse of your team’s workload and that each team member feels their work volume is fair and achievable. This can help you with future planning and improve how you allocate resources.
  9. Celebrate your team’s hard work. Having your team’s workload in one place keeps you on top of your their accomplishments, and gives you an opportunity to celebrate successes.
  10. Get the right work management tool. Using a spreadsheet is a great way to quickly make resource management confusing. Instead, try using a work management tool that can easily measure workloads for you. You’ll get a high-level view and be able to drill down to see more granular tasks—all in one spot. In Asana, you can even see individual tasks, and drag and drop them as needed.

Resource management should always be a part of your overall project management plan. While it can seem overwhelming at first, allocating the right resources at the right time will make work much easier as you move forward. Take it step by step and commit to using a work management tool, like Asana. Your team will thank you!