By definition, resource management is the process of using a company's resources in the most efficient way possible. At its best, strategic resource management increases the probability of project success, profitability and employee productivity.
Although "resources" refers to human (i.e. employees) or not (i.e. equipment), in the advertising industry, resource management more commonly involves allocating employee time. In other words, it’s a resource manager’s job to make the most of the staff they have by applying the right employees to the right task at the right time. This practice can prevent employee burnout with less fatigue from over-utilization and less boredom from downtime. Since there are usually several projects in various stages going on simultaneously, those responsible for managing resources need a 30,000 foot view of all employee assignments as well as current and future project needs.
Have a flexible plan for optimal resource allocation
The one thing that is certain when managing ad agency projects is uncertainty. Project managers must remain flexible while keeping projects on track. The same applies to resource managers. Bottom line: project and resource management is an ongoing process. When resources are mismanaged, time is wasted and deadlines are missed.
Each employee has a skill set, and can be applied to certain types of tasks. For example, a copywriter can also perform proofreading assignments. Some resources have a wider range of skills, such as an ability to work with image retouching, video editing and design software, while other employees are more narrowly focused, but have a higher proficiency of the skill. The better a manager understands their team, the better they can apply their time.
One way to remain flexible is to define roles to categorize assignments, and apply these roles to employees. This provides flexibility when demand for resources increases. An employee with a wide skill set would have several roles, and can quickly be assigned to a task where needed. Sounds efficient, doesn’t it?
Track employee time to get better at resource management
When you plan and allocate resource time, the required hours to complete a task are estimated. Knowing the history of how long it actually takes employees to complete similar assignments provides information that can help you be more accurate when allocating resources in future projects. Time tracking is critical in order to compare estimated to actual hours during a project as well as after it is complete. It is one of the ways to measure profitability per project and client. Time tracking also makes it possible to run an employee utilization report, which is highly valuable to a resource manager.
Avoid the resource management circus
Are you overwhelmed with the thought of juggling the elements of resource management with calendars, spreadsheets and schedules, not to mention the volume of email. Why waste time dealing with a three-ring circus of tools that don’t work together? Integrated tools make all the difference. They identify peaks and valleys, track time and generate reports you need – and it’s tied together with communication tools. Bottom line: it’s a huge time saver. And that’s smart resource management.
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