Resources, specifically your people and their specialized knowledge and skills, are the foundation of your projects – so how do you utilize those resources in the best way possible? In this episode, Curt explains how tracking time on projects will help you to better manage the time of your most valuable resources.

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Today we’re gonna talk about resource management. You’ve got a lot of complicated projects coming your way. You’ve got a lot of really smart people with a lot of different skill sets. You’ve got Java developers, you’ve got Linux people, you’ve got Windows people, you’ve got testers, you’ve got debuggers, you’ve got documentation people. You’re trying to put all these people together to go deliver services to your clients in the most efficient way possible so you don’t have to overcharge everybody, and then you lose out to all the competitors. The evil competitors that lie to everybody. Don’t you hate them?

How do we know that we have enough of the right kind of people to do all the work that’s coming at us? What happens if we win that great big job, do we have enough people to do the work? How long will it take us to get it done? That’s resource management, resource planning.

How much does it cost us when people are sitting on the bench and how can we avoid having people sitting on the bench? What do people do to try to understand resource costs and try to understand resource projections into the future? We figured out that tracking time, with timesheet software, with an Excel spreadsheet or a big cheap tablet, tells you about the past. People also want to know about the future, future time. So one of the things you do with old time data is you do project estimation. You want to predict which people are gonna be used in which projects and figure out “Oh look, I’ve just planned that Fred is gonna be working 900 hour weeks for the next 10 years.” That’s probably not gonna work out too well.

So these sorts of things pop out pretty quickly when you get the data right. Having what-if scenarios and plugging this in to an active tracking capability so as time moves forward you take your future plan and it becomes the current of what’s actually happening. You can find out very quickly, “Oh look, this guy just quit, and he was the critical resource on five different projects.” That’s gonna be a problem. You get alerted to these kind of problems early, you can do something about it.

Having the right technology, the right software with the right reports and the right graphical capability, that’s what resource management software can do for you.