The Best Tools for Project Resource Management

To Run a Project Effectively, You Need to Manage the Resources

The success or failure of any project depends on having the right resources in the right place at the right time. What are the best tools to make it happen?

Any project is doomed to fail or at least to run over budget and behind schedule, if the necessary resources are not on hand when they are needed. Resource planning is a fundamental, yet often overlooked, aspect of project management. After all, it becomes irrelevant how effectively you have defined and planned what needs to be done if you don’t have the necessary resources when needed.

The question of resource management becomes increasingly complicated when resources are shared across different teams and projects. This is where resource manager tools really come into their own, to ensure task assignments do not overlap while minimising slack. Here are some of the tools that no resource manager can do without in the 21st century.

Planning tools

A basic spreadsheet is fine for managing a single project or a small team. But for anything else, it rapidly becomes unwieldly, as anyone who has tried to use multiple spreadsheets and get them to work together will be painfully aware.

Specialist planning software has a user interface that looks very similar to an Excel spreadsheet, so is easy and intuitive to use, but is far more robust with additional functionality. It helps resource managers to continuously optimise their resource usage and allocation, providing a specific timeline for each project, along with resource requirements and priority levels.

Management reporting tools

Communication is a key aspect to successful project management, and there are invariably numerous stakeholders expecting to be kept updated. Project Managers can find themselves spending more time reporting on activities than actually doing them.

Today’s resource management tools produce on-demand reports that present whatever information is needed clearly, concisely and using up to the minute data. It keeps those who need to know properly informed, while minimising the time spent by project managers in creating reports, charts and histograms.

Governance tools

The importance of effective project governance cannot be overestimated. In the past, breaches and failures would only become evident long after the event, but today, there are resource management tools that monitor the checks and balances every step of the way, from initial authorisation and approval to final sign off. The software will constantly keep on top of resource allocation and availability, as well as budget, to provide an early warning the moment anything begins to go off track.

Timesheets

The very word timesheets can strike fear into the heart of project managers. They are fundamental to understanding how contractors are spending time and money, and are key to doing more of what is right and improving efficiency. However, they are often ill understood, poorly checked and the information that could help so much is left unnoticed.

The right timesheet software can make an enormous difference to efficiency, productivity and costs. It will also streamline expense processing and payment practices, meaning contractors as well as manager will see only benefits.

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