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Resource Management

Term Definition

Resource management is the efficient and effective deployment and allocation of an organization's resources when and where they are needed. Such resources may include financial resources, inventory, human skills, production resources, or information technology. Resource management includes planning, allocating and scheduling of resources to tasks, which typically include manpower, machines, money and materials. Resource management has an impact on schedules and budgets as well as resource leveling and smoothing.

In order to effectively manage resources, organizations must have data on resource demands forecasted by time period into the future, the resource configurations that will be required to meet those demands and the supply of resources, again forecasted into the future. Forecasts should be as far out as is reasonable. Resource leveling, as it relates to inventory, is a resource management technique aimed at keeping the stock of resources on hand level, reducing both excess inventories and shortages. In project management, resource leveling is scheduling decisions, which are driven by resource management concerns, such as limited resource availability. As opposed to leveling, resource smoothing may not delay the project completion date, only particular activities within their float.

Many organizations use professional services automation software tools to make resource management tasks more efficient and effective. The automated tools may include timesheet software and employee time tracking software, which calculate skill sets, experience and workload in selecting the most skilled employee in an organization to handle any specific project. This enables the organization to forecast future staffing requirements prior to project implementation.

In businesses/ organization where revenues/funds are not dependent on product sales, such as legal, consulting, and engineering, organizations strive for minimal bench time. In these organizations, time and expenses are carefully tracked and billed to clients. In order to be sustainable, resources must be maximally utilized on billable time and activities. Effective resource management will optimize organization efficiency, minimize bench time and improve the bottom line.

Effective, proactive resource management delivers the utmost level of optimization and efficiency by enabling proactive allocation of resources based on business policies. At this level, implementation of business-policy oriented resource provisioning ensures that resources are provisioned in advance of business needs and in alignment with overall business priorities and objectives. This drives the highest possible resource utilization rates, while simultaneously minimizing business service and availability risk.

Project Management

Term Definition

Project management is the function that oversees execution of a project, is responsible for project resources (time, money, people, materials, energy, and space), and ensures that task and budget milestones are met.

The project management process involves five components: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling and Closing. Project management responsibilities are typically assigned to one individual. In some organizations there may be various Project Managers and each may manage many concurrent projects. In other organizations, one may be assigned the role of Project Manager for a specific project. For example, an organization launching a new product or service might assemble a team to handle implementation, training, and rollout. That team would be assembled of employees across the organizations that have other primary roles. The Marketing Director might be assigned as “Project Manager” for that project but it would not change their primary role in the organization.

The Project Manager role can be likened to that of an orchestra conductor. The conductor must ensure that each section performs their part of a given piece, while also overseeing the overall goal of performing the entire piece in harmony and to the satisfaction of the listeners. Project Managers will usually not participate directly in the project activities but rather oversee the project to ensure that milestones are reached, budgets and timelines are adhered to and the project is brought to its successful conclusion.

Projects are temporary in their nature and are organized to create a unique product or service. Projects can last for days, weeks, months or even years. In the past, project management was typically confined to the engineering and construction of various public or consumer products such as buildings, computer software and vehicles. The discipline of project management is also now routinely applied to Marketing and Advertising, and much of that can be contributed to technological advances which have impacted these disciplines.

Project Accounting

Term Definition

Project accounting differs from standard accounting in that it is designed to monitor the financial progress of a project rather than the overall progress of organizational elements. With Project Accounting, financial reports are specifically created to track the project process. Utilizing Project Accounting provides Project Managers with the ability to accurately assess and monitor project budgets and ensure that the project is proceeding on budget. Project managers can quickly address any cost overruns and revise budgets if necessary.

Project accounting also differs from standard accounting in the time period that it is reported. Standard accounting reports financial progress for fixed periods of time, for example, quarterly or annually. Projects can last from a few days to a number of years. During this time, there may be numerous budget revisions. The project may also be part of a larger overall project. For example, if an organization were constructing a new building that would be the larger project, however telecommunications could be handled as its own project, and as such with a separate project budget.

Costs and revenues that are allocated to projects may be further subdivided into a work breakdown structure (WBS). In utilizing project accounting, you have the flexibility to report at any such level and can also compare historical as well as current budgets.

Project accounting allows companies to accurately assess the ROI (Return on Investment) of individual projects and enables true performance measurement. Project managers are able to calculate funding advances and actual versus budgeted cost variances using project accounting. As revenue, costs, activities and labors are accurately tracked and measured, project accounting provides future benefits to the organization. Future quotes and estimates can be fine-tuned based on past project performance. Project accounting can also have an impact on the investment decisions that companies make. As companies seek to invest in new projects with low upfront costs, less risk, and longer-term benefits, the costs and benefit information from a project accounting system provides crucial feedback that improves the quality of such important decisions.

Resource Management & Scheduling

Term Definition

Resource management & scheduling is the process of getting the right number of people with the right skills, experiences and competencies in the right jobs at the right time to advance the business. Resource management & scheduling is a comprehensive process that provides organizations with a framework for making staffing decisions based on its mission, strategic objectives, financial resources (budget), and a defined set of desired workforce competencies.

The need for resource management & scheduling has increased in the wake of shifting views of work, with more workers seeking to change organizations throughout their careers; greater competition for more talented workers; rapidly changing technology work and the skills workers need.

Resource management & scheduling must address what the organization will need in the future to accomplish its business. The critical workforce characteristics and the desired distribution of those characteristics must be identified. This information will help the organization to narrow its focus and allocate its resources to the portion of the workforce that will most directly contribute to its success. Resource management & scheduling analyzes the current workforce to determine the distribution of future workforce characteristics present day.

Once you have assessed the current workforce, you determine what gaps will exist between your current and projected workforce needs. The next critical step in is to determine what gaps will exist between current and projected workforce needs. Strategies are then implemented to address the gaps. The strategies might include recruiting, training or re-training, outsourcing, competency-based assessment, leadership development, succession planning and technological enhancements.

Resource management & scheduling enables organizations to strategically make human resource decisions. Change is anticipated and thus planned for in advance. Some components of resource management & scheduling are succession planning, retirement projections and workforce demographics. The discipline of resource management & scheduling gives focus to these components, how the uncontrollable actions will take from the workforce and key positions that will need to be filled.