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A comprehensive step-by-step guide to resource planning

A comprehensive step-by-step guide to resource planning


Starting a new project is as daunting as it is exciting. There are endless opportunities to edit, streamline and develop ideas so that the job is executed to perfection.

However, one of the most important things to consider is resource management –– how to make sure you have all the correct assets and suitable budget, and just the right amount of them. This is essential to ensure you can complete your strategy on time while not wasting any precious hours, effort or money. But how exactly can you tell what the Goldilocks plan is? Resource planning is your answer.

What is resource management?

The main question at the centre of any resource management plan is ‘how can we make sure we get this deliverable ready on time and on budget?’. In order to come up with a plan that guarantees this, there are a few factors that need to be defined and explained.

What are resources?

When it comes to resource management, the term ‘resource’ deals with every aspect of a project that costs money. For example, it includes equipment, tools, office space, supplies, materials, time, and people.

What does resource management do?

In a nutshell, the point of resource planning is to use supplies in the most economical manner possible to make the project as efficient and productive as it can be. It helps project managers utilise resources, track capacity, and keep to budget.

What are some key considerations when it comes to resource management?

Although resource management sounds complicated, it’s actually pretty intuitive. The plan tries to map out the resources needed versus the resources that are available, to predict how time consuming and expensive a project is going to be.  There are a few questions that a good resource plan needs to answer:

  • How long is the project going to take?
  • What materials and assets are needed?
  • Who can work on the project?
  • What are their skills and availability?
  • What budget is feasible?
  • How will performance be measured?

That being said, good resource management doesn’t end when the project starts. It requires constant iteration, tracking and modifications. A good resource plan adjusts itself based on the data collected during the work on the project.

What tools does effective resource management require?

Generally, resource management can be done with a pen, paper and an inquisitive mind. However, there’s an abundance of software that can make this process more simple, helping managers to collect and analyse data better. Resource planning software assists in the planning and scheduling of projects, bolstering the management of the assets needed for business success. You can opt for desktop-based software, which is believed to be faster and more secure; or online-based software, which has benefits like team collaboration, the collection of real-time data, and remote access.

Why is resource management important?

Resource planning is all about making your business more efficient. Without a plan, companies can see a waste of money and energy, which hurts the bottom line. A well thought-out system will maximise resources, deliver the best, most timely and reliable results for projects. It also prevents burnout, and ensures everything is on track. What’s more, correctly planning will allow you to learn lessons and improve your work for next time –– not to mention the ability to better predict the price and length of future projects. In fact, resource planning was found to save companies 28 times more funds, while 86% of senior executives said that strategically shifting resources is the top lever for boosting company growth.

How to create a resource management plan?

Planning your resources for a project is similar to devising the project itself. There are usually 5 stages of planning: initiation, planning, execution, control, and closure.

Initiation

The focus of this stage is to identify and list the resources available on one side, and the assets needed on the other, and then compare the two. This includes your budget, supplies or manpower you might need. You can categorise them to help you assess what is more flexible –– for example, material resources are expanded with a higher budget, whilst time is limited in nature.

Planning

Here you need to take the raw data you’ve garnered and make sense of it. The leading question of this phase is, ‘do my available resources match my project’s requirements?’. If you need to make any adjustments to timelines, this is where you’ll suss those out. The recommended way to go about this is to create a roadmap with all the important information, deadlines, milestones, deliverables, and manpower, making sure it all matches up.

Execution

Now we get to the fun part. Sit all stakeholders in one room and reveal your plan. Pair your team members with tasks and responsibilities based on their best-matched skills to make sure the project is allocated and executed to perfection. This is where you tweak the draft roadmap in line with the thoughts and obligations of your team, ensuring a constant flow of required resources for every stage of the process, and a unit that utilises them productively. When all stakeholders have been informed, you can then start to work on the project accordingly.

Control

As mentioned before, resource management doesn’t end when the project starts. It’s a process with constant growth and evolution, holding the strategy accountable based on data and performance, adjusting it as necessary. Nobody possesses a crystal ball and sometimes there are factors that alter the progression of projects. Agility is key, but in order to be agile, there needs to be evaluation and re-evaluation while it’s ongoing. Meet with your team, make sure that they’re tracking their work, monitor their progress, confirm enough resources are available, and correct any mistakes. This consistent tracking will certify effective time management and prevent burnout.

Closure

Once the project is delivered and sealed, good resource management doesn’t just file it away –– it learns from it. Assess the project. What was successful? What could have been improved? Was the roadmap correct? Are all stakeholders satisfied? Answering all of these questions won’t only air any frustrations your team experienced working on the assignment, but also prepares you for the next project and means your process is increasingly more streamlined.

 



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