It wasn’t long ago that projects were still being managed by spreadsheets and whiteboards. This worked, but was flawed in many ways, leading to resource allocation headaches, scheduling conflicts, cost overruns, and missed deadlines.
Today, a project management tool and resource planning software make things simpler and efficient. Whether you are managing a single project, balancing an entire project portfolio, or juggling multiple professional services providers, you can plan, manage, and track every asset of your project on one centralized platform.
First, let’s look at the features project resource management software provides and then see how it benefits the entire project planning, evaluation, and execution process.
Project Resource Management Software Features
Resource management software has a variety of features to make project planning and tracking easy. Once information is entered into the system, much of the process is automated to flag conflicts or gaps. Features include:
- Project planning tools: Plan the scope of work and evaluate available resources.
- Resource management tools: Make sure you have enough resources and the right resources assigned to projects.
- Resource scheduling tools: Schedule resource allocation to ensure coverage for each phase of a project, balance workloads, and utilization rates.
- Budgets: Prepare, analyze and track budgets.
- Tracking progress: Project managers can track every element of a project in real-time, including milestones, work hours, timelines, and expenses.
- Communication and Collaboration: Centralize communications and collaboration among team members, external stakeholders, and executives.
- Documentation: Store all documents, files, specs, and requirements accessible by authorized users.
- Customization: Whether you prefer a Gantt chart, calendar view, tables, graphs, or other ways to view your data, you can customize your view.
The Benefits of Project Resource Management Software
Software features are great to have, but only if they benefit the organization by making things run smoothly and efficiently. So, what direct benefits does project resource management provide for project managers and team members? Here are nine.
1. Simplified Planning
Project resource management software simplifies the entire planning process. It saves a considerable amount of time versus paper or spreadsheet management. Artificial intelligence (AI) can help predict project timelines based on available resources while capturing constraints such as project scope, costs, and schedules.
With real-time updates as projects progress, you can more accurately measure actual costs and return on investment (ROI).
2. Identify Gaps and Bottlenecks
Getting to a certain phase of a project only to find you haven’t allocated the right resources or do not have the expertise required to complete a phase is frustrating and creates delays. Project management software can help identify gaps and shortfalls early, so you can eliminate these errors in planning. With real-time updates to information, you can more accurately predict and fill resource gaps.
Balancing resources can be tricky. You want to maximize the workload without overbooking crews or wearing them out. By visualizing workloads across a project, you can ensure you are properly managing resource allocation, utilization, and capacity.
3. Flexible Change Management
Even the best plans often require adjustment midstream. Resources get pulled away for other projects or are no longer available. There are changes to project scope or unanticipated challenges arise. Budgets get adjusted. With drag-and-drop tools, resource management software simplifies the planning process to handle changes as they occur.
The best project management software will allow you to easily create different scenarios to see the impact of changes (or potential changes). For example, it might be necessary to review your leave management policies to accommodate a team member. It’s simple to see how this impacts the entire project timeline.
4. Improved Pipeline Forecasting
Most project management teams are working on multiple projects at the same time. Almost 60% of PMs are managing two to five projects at any one time. Some 11% are managing six to 10 projects while 15% are overseeing more than 10 projects simultaneously.
This can make pipeline forecasting extremely challenging if you don’t have a robust and reliable project management resource software solution. The software provides greater visibility across your entire portfolio of projects so you can see how they inter-relate and how changes in one project can impact other timelines.
5. More Transparent Communication
One of the biggest challenges in large projects is communication. Projects can get derailed quickly when communication breaks down.
Forget to let a crew know that a delivery has been delayed and you may have people sitting around waiting. It can have a ripple effect across a project timeline and affect multiple phases downstream.
Keeping every stakeholder advised about every aspect of a project that affects them is crucial to success. A centralized platform allows you to communicate and collaborate with stakeholders to avoid miscommunication.
Also, when team members have insight into how other aspects of the project impact them, greater transparency helps them anticipate conflicts so project managers can deal with them more efficiently. This can also help prevent some of the interdepartmental or workgroup squabbles that often arise.
You can also communicate and collaborate with clients, contractors, or external groups within the same platform, granting them permission to see and access only the part of projects that are relevant to them.
6. Real-Time Updates
Information can get out of date quickly. If you’re using printed sheets or spreadsheets, team members may be working off old information that is no longer relevant. Because information is updated in real-time in project management resource software, you can ensure everyone is working off the most current data to make better decisions.
As information is entered or changes are made, your software will automatically analyze the impact on your entire portfolio of projects and flag you if conflicts occur.
7. Scale Quickly
Project managers rarely sit still. There are always new challenges that arise and, often, new projects are being added. With project planning software, it’s easy to scale quickly, add new projects, and handle scope changes.
Whether you’re looking 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, six months, or a year down the road, you can quickly assess the impact of new projects on current deliverables.
It also gives you the information you need to analyze multiple portfolio choices to eliminate duplicates, run scenarios, and make Go/No Go decisions.
8. Better Budget Management
Just four in ten companies report that they bring in their project within the established budget most of the time or always. That’s a startling number when you consider the number of high-value projects that companies undertake.
Budget management is an essential function for a project manager. Project resource management software helps track every expense in real-time to provide a more accurate view of budget concerns. This allows project managers (PMs) to make adjustments, if necessary, to keep a project on budget and see how changes impact other projects.
9. Enhanced Project and Customer Satisfaction
When everything comes together and you can bring projects in on time and budget, everybody’s happy. By putting together a solid plan, managing the process efficiently, and keeping things on track, you’ll improve your deliverability and success rate.
You’ll be able to more effectively balance scope, quality and budget.
Effective Project Resource Management
If you’d like to learn more about how project resource management can help your organization, contact Cora Systems today. Cora’s centralized PPM solution puts you in control.