Resource management

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In organizational studies, resource management is the efficient and effective development of an organization's resources when they are needed. Such resources may include financial resources, inventory, human skills, production resources, or information technology (IT) and natural resources.

In the realm of project management, processes, techniques and philosophies as to the best approach for allocating resources have been developed. These include discussions on functional vs. cross-functional resource allocation as well as processes espoused by organizations like the Project Management Institute (PMI) through their Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) methodology of project management. Resource management is a key element to activity resource estimating and project human resource management. Both are essential components of a comprehensive project management plan to execute and monitor a project successfully.[1][2] As is the case with the larger discipline of project management, there are resource management software tools available that automate and assist the process of resource allocation to projects and portfolio resource transparency including supply and demand of resources. The goal of these tools typically is to ensure that: (i) there are employees within our organization with required specific skill set and desired profile required for a project, (ii) decide the number and skill sets of new employees to hire, and (iii) allocate the workforce to various projects.[3] [4]Within professional services and consulting organizations, the effectiveness of these tools and processes is typically monitored by measuring billable utilization rate.

Corporate resource management process[edit]

Large organizations usually have a defined corporate resource management process which mainly guarantees that resources are never over-allocated across multiple projects.[5][6] Peter Drucker wrote of the need to focus resources, abandoning a less promising initiatives for every new project taken on, as fragmentation inhibits results. [7]


One resource management technique is resource leveling. It aims at smoothing the stock of resources on hand, reducing both excess inventories and shortages.

The required data are: the demands for various resources, forecast by time period into the future as far as is reasonable, as well as the resources' configurations required in those demands, and the supply of the resources, again forecast by time period into the future as far as is reasonable.

The goal is to achieve 100% utilization but that is very unlikely, when weighted by important metrics and subject to constraints, for example: meeting a minimum service level, but otherwise minimizing cost. A Project Resource Allocation Matrix (PRAM) is maintained to visualize the resource allocations against various projects.

The principle is to invest in resources as stored capabilities, then unleash the capabilities as demanded.

A dimension of resource development is included in resource management by which investment in resources can be retained by a smaller additional investment to develop a new capability that is demanded, at a lower investment than disposing of the current resource and replacing it with another that has the demanded capability.

In conservation, resource management is a set of practices pertaining to maintaining natural systems integrity. Examples of this form of management are air resource management, soil conservation, forestry, wildlife management and water resource management. The broad term for this type of resource management is natural resource management (NRM).

In addition, we can use Ishikawa diagram to analyze Man, Money, Material and Machine needed.

In a nutshell, resource management is the process of finding the answers to the question – how to use available resources efficiently, effectively and economically.

Key terms[edit]

To get a clear picture of resource management, it’s essential to understand the different terms and processes, associated with it.

Resource plan

Just like every other step in project management, resource management starts with a well laid-out plan. The resource plan includes a detailed and comprehensive list of all the resources required for the successful completion of a project. This process involves the senior team members and project managers.

Resources breakdown structure

The resource plan gives you a clear picture of the required resources. The next step is to create hierarchies among the resources. This is known as Resources Breakdown Structure or RBS in short. Generally, the RBS identifies and orders resources according to reporting structure, team hierarchy or by geography.

Keep in mind that RBS is different from the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure). The latter defines the tasks associated with each phase of the project, while the former arranges resources in different hierarchies.

Responsibility Assignment matrix

This involves assigning responsibilities to each resource in the resource plan for completion of the project. This is where you define the following:

  • Who is responsible for which task
  • Who owns a particular task
  • Who can help resources if there are queries regarding the task
  • Who needs to stay informed about the progress of the task

The RAM makes use of the following symbols:

  • R: Responsible
  • A: Accountable
  • C: Consulted
  • I: Informed
Resource over-allocation

As the term implies, it denotes a particular resource has been allocated too much work. When resource over-allocation occurs, the person will not be able to complete the allocated tasks within the scheduled time.

Resource over-allocation can have several negative impacts like – overtime of projects, stressing out employees, over-shooting project budgets and even derail a project. To avoid all these, it’s essential that your resources are balanced and allocated optimally.

Resources histogram

This gives a visual representation of resource allocation. It helps everyone concerned – from project managers to employees – stay in the loop. It’s a quick and easy way to see – who is working on what, when and reports to whom.

Some advanced resource scheduling tools do more than providing you with a graphical representation of resources. It shows your real-time allocation of resources, helping you re-schedule resource allocation. This helps you resolve conflicts and avoid under or over allocation.

Resource dependency

This refers to the principle that an organization should guard against depending on a particular resource or team of resources for all projects. Over-reliance on a particular sub-set of resources causes workload bottlenecks and resource shortages.

You can avoid resource dependency by distribution the work across multiple resources, or by having a back-up plan. For instance, if a particular team member has been allocated several tasks simultaneously, he/she could be blocking other’s work.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Third Edition. Newtown Square, Pennsylvania: Project Management Institute (PMI). 2004. ISBN 1-930699-45-X.
  2. ^ A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Fourth Edition. Newtown Square, Pennsylvania: Project Management Institute (PMI). 2008. ISBN 978-1-933890-51-7.
  3. ^ Resource Management Process
  4. ^ Resource Management Method
  5. ^ Modern Project Management
  6. ^ Enterprise Resource Management
  7. ^ Frank Parth. "Growing in Turbulent Times'".
  8. ^