Every business wants to be more productive. One of the most direct routes to accomplishing this is through resource management. Your people are your most valuable assets and getting the most out of them is key.
Resource management: a crash course
Resource management is a crucial aspect of project management. Its role is to look at the resources (primarily people and the tools/machinery/materials they use) an organization has at its disposal and to identify the work that needs to be done. Resource managers must match these two areas up, ensuring that resources are allocated to projects optimally.
What works and what doesn’t
Let’s look at the common ways that organizations attempt to boost productivity. It is important to create a working environment where your people feel valued, empowered, and inspired to do their best. There are many ways organizations might attempt to do this:
Change the work culture
You should always aspire to have a friendly and inclusive work environment. However, although ‘Pizza Mondays’, staff days out, and big office parties can bring people together and boost morale, it might not get to the heart of the reason why productivity is low. It can be tempting to rely on making wholesale changes to work culture and work environment, but it is unlikely the sole cause of your business’s unproductivity.
Deploy and roll out new kit
Many businesses splash the cash on the latest devices (laptops, smartphones etc.) to boost productivity. The problem is that it can be expensive and may just paper over the cracks. If there are major problems with how your organization is structured, the productivity crisis at your business will go unresolved.
Bring in productivity apps
Introducing apps that promise to boost productivity sounds great in theory, but they don’t always live up to the promise. These tools involve training and buy in from all staff. But, also, when new apps are brought in to solve every problem, there’s a risk you could end up with too many apps. App overload can occur – where users become confused and distracted by the need to switch between apps to find information and get stuff done.
If a company has a lot of manual processes, then it can slow down the time it takes for employees to get work done. Automating these can go a long way to boosting productivity, cutting out repetitive tasks and freeing up employees to work on more valuable work. However, the process of making big changes can be time-consuming, disruptive, and costly. Also, you must make a decision on where to start. You can’t change everything at once – it will only lead to chaos!
In each of these scenarios, underlying problems have the potential to persist. Resource management can resolve these productivity problems for good.
Resource management: a different approach
Looking at how projects and resources are managed is a much more practical and cost-saving approach to the productivity problem. Resource management software can help you put your people first. Here’s how:
Being able to see how resources are spread across different projects and tasks is key to being able to manipulate resource data. If it is at the planning stage of a project or right in the middle when things are in full swing, being able to see who is free, who is occupied, and who is working on what, is key to knowing what your plan of action is going to be. This way, your people are put on projects where they can work to the best of their abilities and achieve great results.
What-if analysis is a powerful tool that allows organizations to test scenarios in a risk-free environment. This way you can manipulate resource data, and move people around projects and tasks, without having to commit real, tangible resources. You can predict outcomes and figure out the best allocation of your resources on your computer screen. You can make sure your people are put on the right jobs, given the resources at your disposal, and have the right amount of time to succeed. What-if analysis can help project managers with resource planning before a project gets underway but can also provide assistance when reacting to unexpected changes when a project is underway. It is the ability to react to the unexpected that can make or break a project when it matters most. If a project breaks down mid-project, you need to be able to reassign people to new tasks or bring in the right people to fix it as soon as possible.
Timesheets can help you better manage your employees’ workloads. By knowing how long it takes certain employees to complete certain tasks, you can make sure people are assigned to tasks they can work efficiently on, but also equally spread the work around among the resources at your disposal. This way you can avoid overworking or underworking your people. This is key to job satisfaction and can have a significant effect on productivity. There’s nothing worse than employees feeling overburdened by work and suffering from burnout. Likewise, it is just as unproductive if employees feel underworked, underemployed, or bored from having too little to do. Getting this right is essential.
Improve productivity today
Resource management software can improve productivity at your organization by helping you make the most of your most valuable asset: your people. By investing in technology that provides capabilities for advanced resource management, such as resource modelling, what-if analysis and timesheets, you can ensure that you put your people first at every opportunity – and drive productivity through the roof.
Greg Bailey, Vice President Resource Management at ProSymmetry
Image Credit: Gpointstudio / Shutterstock