Resource Management tips for Project managers
A project’s success is completely dependent on the people involved so to be a great project manager; you need to be great at people management to ensure projects are successful.
A project resource is any resource that is allocated to perform any of the work tasks in a project. For example: an analyst, a trainer, a technician, even you as the project manager. In most projects, you will have more than one project resource, which means more than one personality to work with and manage to achieve the best results. It may sound straight forward to some, but as your team grows, or the personalities require extra management, this can become critical and detrimental if not approached correctly.
Think about any day where you were in a bad mood, feeling overwhelmed or just tired… You probably didn’t feel like doing what was on the list for that day. As the project manager, it’s your job to make sure that work happens, even when your resources are having those bad days, weeks or months. Motivating resources is a big part of people management, and there are many ways you can motivate people whilst account for different people needing different motivations! There are many ways to motivate (and de-motivate) so you will have to learn your team’s needs to determine what’s best.
Obviously, each project and each person is different but here are some key tips for people management in projects ranging from small to massive, and working with one resource to working with hundreds.
Getting to grips with People Management
People Management is, as the name implies, managing people! This doesn't mean ordering people around or making sure they don’t take overly long lunch breaks. People management actually means engaging and interacting with each individual on your project (resource or stakeholder), in the way that brings the most benefit to the project.
Practically, this means knowing everyone involved with your project, and understanding how to get the best out of them, whether this is with actual work required, or just support from a sponsor. We’re going to focus on getting the best out of your project resources.
How to start resource management
No matter the size of your project or team, get to know the people working on your project! This doesn’t mean know everything about them, but rather, have a list of everyone that is working on your project (you should have this handy from your planning stage).
Learn who the people are that want to be on the project, aren’t concerned about which project they work on, and those who do not want to be on the project at all. This will help you determine who will require your time for People Management.
You should have a project kick-off meeting with all the resources, so that they can meet you and everyone else, and understand what the goal and scope of the project is. Remember, some teams may be made up of people you see every day, others may have resources from different areas in your company that you don’t know, and some may have resources from other companies – wherever they’re from get to know and talk to them all.
Key steps for effective resource management
Learn who the resources are that the rest of the team look up to! You may have 4 analysts on your project, but one of them may be looked up to by the other three. If that analyst is 100% on board with the project and you as the project manager, it will help the other three feel the same!
Another key action to do as the project manager is to be visible. No this doesn’t mean standing in front of everyone while they work or messaging them every 5 minutes on Teams or Slack. It means letting the team know you’re there with them and also working hard on the project. There are many ways to do this, and many methods you may have to adopt based on your project.
Let’s look at two different scenarios:
Scenario 1 – the entire project team is based in the same location. This is obviously the best-case scenario for resource management, as it means you have easy access to all resources on your project. Simple things that you can do as the project manager are:
- Walk around every morning and greet everyone, make sure they’re ok, and check if they need any special assistance that day. Not only will you be on top of any issues for the project, but all resources will know that you’re there to assist if needed.
- If it’s a long project, organise some team lunches or outings to relieve some stress, and to show the team that they are important.
- If possible, sit with the team. Being close to the team allows them to come to you instantly when any problems arise, if you’re sitting on the other side of the building, it makes it harder for them to come to you with any issues.
Scenario 2 – the team is based in different geographical locations or remote. While this is more difficult than scenario one, there are things that you can do to mitigate any risks from team members being distant. Don’t forget to follow the steps in Scenario 1 as well in whatever adapted way possible, but also add in these items:
- Instant message (or email if you don’t have instant messaging) the resources off-site, to let them know you are online for the day and can help with anything required.
- Make sure all of your meetings have dial-in facilities so that they can join the meetings via telephone.
- If they are not too geographically far (e.g., another office in the same city), then make a plan to visit them occasionally (as often as possible).
- Wherever possible for any offsite team members, video call them for meetings.
Always stay connected to your team for everyone to feel motivated and a part of the team.
Optimise your resource management with the right PPM software
Project management software lets you manage projects and tasks. But PPM software (project portfolio management) gives you control of your entire project ecosystem, including your resources. Staying close to your project resources through PPM software helps them understand what’s going on with the wider project and stay engaged. It’s obvious but so important that it’s worth mentioning – PPM software, no matter how great, doesn’t take away from the steps we mentioned in scenarios 1 and 2, but it can support resource management for project managers.
Market-leading PPM software like Fluid increases transparency and visibility of a project to help everyone feel connected to the work they’re doing - especially important for resources working in geographically dispersed locations. Fluid aids collaboration too, this is important for encouraging all resources to be involved with the project itself.
Contact to us today to let us help you manage your projects effectively.