Can you imagine any agency, IT organization, or even a start-up company without a project manager? The role of project managers in any operational scenario cannot be undetermined. Project managers are responsible for ensuring that projects achieve all the milestones and are delivered successfully. This means delivering the projects to the client on time and within the set budget. However, project management has evolved even more of late. Besides project management, the project managers these days are also involved in organizational resource planning. But before diving deeper into this aspect, let’s see what the typical duties of a project manager are.
Typical Responsibilities of a Project Manager:
A project manager’s role usually involves:
- Drafting a project management plan.
- Coordinating and executing the delivery of a project.
- Identifying resourcing and hiring needs (a resource manager can also manage this).
- Estimating timelines and cost.
- Setting expectations for all the team members.
- Communicating seamlessly with all the stakeholders.
- Monitoring and managing team’s performance.
- Tracking project’s KPIs and milestones and project budget.
- Identifying any risks, challenges, and opportunities in the project.
- Reporting the status and progress of the project.
- Managing all documentation.
- Streamlining and optimizing processes in a transparent manner.
- Leading the project team in an encouraging way to ensure optimal resource utilization.
What is resource planning?
So, before we talk about project managers’ role in organizational resource planning, let’s see what it means. A process where various tasks are allocated to human and non-human resources to maximize efficiency is called resource planning. It helps project managers manage their team’s resource utilization and monitor resource capacity to keep the projects within the budget. Resource planning enables you to organize your team in a way that they are aware of what tasks to work on and when.
Role of a Project Manager in Organizational Resource Planning
Before the project begins, the first step for a project manager is to figure out how many and what type of resources are needed to execute it. This includes estimating the budget for human and other resources needed to ensure that the project is profitable and finally getting approval from the stakeholders. So, to begin this process, the project managers need to determine the project requirements. Then, the next step is to do resourcing for the types of roles and number of people required. Read on to find what all project managers are responsible for when it comes to organizational resource planning.
- Estimate Work or Tasks
Before any work can be assigned to any resources, you should determine what needs to be done and how much time each activity or task will take. For this, you need to break down the project into smaller chunks. In complex or long projects, it is important to create a work breakdown structure (WBS). By doing this, you can break your project into smaller, constituent deliverables. Creating a WBS also provides project managers with exact deliverables that they can decide as part of the project. Then, each deliverable is broken down into its constituent tasks, which can be assigned to various resources.
- Estimate Duration of Each Task
Now that you know what needs to be done exactly, it’s easy to estimate the time it would take to complete those tasks. This is very important for organizational resource planning. If a task or activity is expected to be completed in 20 hours, but the resource aligned on it has only 15 hours available, then you may have to get help from some other resource to complete it. Calculating the duration of each task and sub-task or the entire project is a complex process. Project managers can also rely on their experience, industry standards, and past project results and make a decision.
- Ascertain Resources
After assessing the requirement and determining the objectives of your project, you should decide the right strategy and then identify the resources you’ll need to achieve that goal. You need to give this a proper thought and keep the efficiency of resources and cost in mind. These resources could mean human resources, materials, tools, equipment, facilities, etc., like subcontractors, freelancers, admin, etc. Once the project managers ascertain the skill they need in their team and how people are required, they can start hiring people.
- Resource Planning and Capacity Planning
When a project manager does organizational resource planning, it includes assigning tasks to people and managing timelines. At times, the project manager also plays a resource and HR manager role and finds suitable projects that fit different resources, thus ensuring that all team members are satisfied. Thus, his role involves both resource and capacity planning at times. When new projects are in the pipeline, project managers also map out to see what each resource is doing currently and calculate the capacity utilization. This enables them to determine what resources are required to be hired and which projects should be pursued.
- Establish the Budget and Timelines
While doing project management, budgets and schedules are interrelated. If the timelines are not being met, project managers may need additional resources to complete the work on time. However, this way, the budget will be overshot. Hence, being careful at the organizational resource planning stage is very important. Many project managers track time and budget on Excel spreadsheets, but the right resource planning software provides you an edge right from the beginning stage.
- Resolving planning conflicts
At times, planning conflicts also happen when one person is being considered for various projects at one time. Project managers can avoid this scenario by having a better overview of their team members’ availability and pipeline of projects. To avoid conflicts in organizational resource planning, remember to double-check if the resources you have shortlisted are available. It’s a good idea to consult with other project managers to confirm if they don’t require the same resources on the same timelines. It’s also important to track the workload and the organization’s pipeline during the project lifecycle. This helps in ensuring that your plan aligns with the current bookings and existing project development.
Perform a post-project analysis
At times, planning conflicts also happen when one person is being considered for various projects at one time. Project managers can avoid this scenario by having a better overview of their team members’ availability and pipeline of projects. To avoid conflicts in organizational resource planning, remember to double-check if the resources you have shortlisted are available. It’s good to consult with other project managers to confirm if they don’t require the same resources on the same timelines. It’s also important to track the workload and the organization’s pipeline during the project lifecycle. This helps in ensuring that your plan aligns with the current bookings and existing project development.
Implement a Leading Organizational Resource Planning Software
An organizational resource planning software helps streamline your project tasks on a schedule, plan for resources, and put seamless processes in place. eResource Scheduler is an award-winning resource planning and scheduling tool that helps you to integrate your project plan, budgets, timelines, and a lot more. If you aim for optimal utilization of your employees and ensure ideal staffing for your projects, choose eResource Scheduler. This resource management tool provides real-time visibility of your resources assignments and increases utilization by 18 to 30%. This online cloud-based resource planning tool is a boon for the project managers as it helps them in coordination and collaboration. So, if you have questions on how this tool can help your business, book a free trial to know more.