Understanding Resource Management Software: Our Top Tips

How resource management software can improve project management

For project management staff, balancing the needs of a project with the skilled personnel required to work on it is a significant part of the job and one that needs ongoing refining.

Striking an ideal balance between having skills on hand to complete the project, but at the same time not having them under utilised or over stretched, is important for effective project implementation and good productivity.

It’s something sound resource management, ideally using software specific to the purpose, can help with.

What is resource management software?

It’s software that enables skill demands across several projects running concurrently to be balanced so that there are no shortages, or instances of relevant personnel being overstretched or under utilised.

How does it achieve this?

Projects are ‘layered’ on top of one another in an easy to decipher graphical fashion with comprehensive reporting to show the following:

  • Bottlenecks – where skills may be put under pressure when demand for their abilities peaks across different project demands
  • Underuse – shows where certain skills may be in less demand
  • Reporting – shows general demand across various skill sets

How can this information help me reschedule or alter projects to prevent overload?

Good resource management software enables various ‘what if?’ scenarios to be experimented with.

For example, if there’s a bottleneck coming up then you can virtually reschedule a project – such as extending its timeframe – to see if this would alleviate the increased skills demand further down the line.

Alternatively, if there’s a noticeable period where skills are going to be under utilised, then maybe speeding up one or more projects may rectify this.

The beauty with this function of the software is your ability to try out various ‘what ifs?’ without committing to anything until you feel the right solutions – or combinations – have been arrived at.

What’s the main benefit of resource management software?

Probably the ultimate benefit is in improved productivity; it’s the one main metric many businesses measure themselves by, and a fall off can have devastating effects on the bottom line. Indeed, UK business has suffered a general decline in productivity since the financial crisis of 2008.

Efficiently run projects completing to deadline with key personnel deployed, but not overstretched or under used, is a significant contributor to good productivity.

Can resource management software help me plan ahead for skills requirements?

Yes it can.

Looking ahead at future projects yet to come on stream, and analysing general trends to assess the type of skills your business will likely need in the future, is a key function of the software and enables you to plan ahead with systematic recruitment of the skilled people you’ll need.

It also means you can plan training for existing staff so they’re equipped with the skills needed to meet further demands.

You could call resource management software your ‘virtual crystal ball’ for looking into the future and enabling you to plan for it.

Can the software help with reporting?

Certainly – a range of management reports can be generated including costs, so they’re ideal for billing clients.

Tracking time spent by project personnel can be easily achieved with bespoke time sheets, and reports can be personalised so only relevant information is seen by specific people so preventing them having to wade through data not applicable to them.

Road testing resource management software

You may still wonder, despite the tips above, if resource management software is a good fit for your business. Vendors should offer some type of road test such as a proof of concept workshop to see if your project planning will benefit.