Despite advancements in automation, we’re still a long way from entrusting critical projects to a robotic workforce. And it's true that automated tools will cause a gradual decline in the demand for physically-intensive tasks, while upping the need for interpersonal skills. After all, the ability to process information and make decisions still hinge on experiential judgment, an area humans outperform machines in.
With the business landscape evolving dynamically, disruptive forces are influencing the nature of work, who will be doing it and the way it gets done. In other words, the workforce and workplace are impacted, with more businesses seeking experts with niche skills.
While it's one thing to hire such a talent pool; it's quite another thing to keep them productive and engaged in the long run. This is where project resource management comes in. As one of the 10 project management knowledge areas, it has enabled businesses to drive projects by acquiring and retaining the right team composition.
Here are 5 core benefits project resource management offers;
1. Wider project visibility
When it comes to consolidating information across the business, the first thing you would need is real-time visibility into multiple projects and the resources assigned to them. Only then can you determine:
- If previous projects finished early, on schedule or were postponed to a later finish date
- The hours available made optimal use of the right skills
- Which deviations and alterations created risks and issues for the project
- The number of feasible projects that had to be ended or halted due to resource insufficiencies and cost overruns
When you get the essentials of resource management software right, you’ll see existing workloads pinned to the schedule for inflight projects. This way, you can correct effort imbalances and resource clashes, ensuring skill-based allocations stay on track. What’s more, based on the estimated duration and resources needed per project activity, you can finalize schedules without stretching key skills thinly, or overlooking them entirely.
2. Beats the skills gap
Automation is rapidly taking over the workplace, to the extent of deciding the skills needed to drive high-impact projects. For one, shifts in the nature of work and who will be doing it determine your businesses’ ability to scale in the direction of financial growth. And for another, 24% of the work economy will comprise of the gen Z workforce by 2020, implying the time to develop new skills, is now.
Taking a look at your workforce capacity is the first step to assessing skills utilization. Besides flagging the skills you’re running low on, it lets you know which skills can be retrained in time for new roles being created, or upskilled to capture new qualifications. Investing in cycles of micro-learning not only engages the workforce but also lets the talent pool take ownership of their career progression. They can consequently collaborate better on future endeavors and participate in knowledge transfers.
3. Compelling business intelligence
The more information you have, the better able you are to make impactful decisions. The reports you pull from the information system should give you insights into the health and performance of the company. Business prosperity is linked to this data, which comprises of business-as-usual activities, internal contracts, operating costs, and employee and financial records.
Business analytics is all the more compelling when data points are tailored to the requirements of several stakeholders. As the term suggests, project resource management brings project and resource data onto a unified scale. This makes it easier to evaluate the business strategy and redesign it in accordance with resource requirements for the future. This way, your workforce capacity can be restructured by the type and quality of potential needed to meet incoming demands.
4. Strengthens project engagement
Project resource management also offers the opportunity to ease departmental project teams into a collaborative work culture.
The workforce composition today is malleable and comprises of the freelance economy, part-timers, contractors and even substitutes filling in for full-timers on leave. Team dynamic is considered the crux of every successful project. Besides strengthening project engagement, project resource management is instrumental in getting the most out of your team. Whilst spacing schedules and ensuring more work gets done on the clock, it enables members to put their effort and skills into knowledge transfers, project reviews and lessons learned.
5. Generates precise estimates
The seasonality of work is such that your resources would be inevitably pulled into multiple inflight projects simultaneously. Therefore, it’s important to have precise effort and cost estimates that capture the hours your staff worked. Rather than risk an insufficiency in strength (i.e. number of people needed) or skills once the project is underway, project resource management minimizes the time to request for - and book - resources in bulk.
You can then roll out resources and measure a team’s planned and actual hours after closing the project. The project can be invoiced against the efforts invested, time-intensity and ensure you’re not devaluing competencies nor inflating the project’s billing worth.