Managing resources is primarily about maximizing efficiency through processes and resource allocation. Sounds simple, but it is more like a chess game. After all, you want to use your available resources in a clever and profitable way. But what do you actually understand by the term resources? In general, resources are understood to be everything that is necessary to achieve the company’s goals. This means that resources can be land, buildings, raw materials, machines, employees, their expertise and skills.
You have a goal and must decide how to achieve it with as few optimally-distributed resources as possible.
The most common mistakes when managing resources
As already mentioned, optimal management of resources is kind of like a chess game, so the first thing to do is to avoid the most common mistakes.
1. Resources are incorrectly selected and assigned
If resources are used arbitrarily and without the big picture in mind, this can quickly backfire. Therefore it is important to know which skills and resources are available to you. To do this, it is first helpful to create an overview of resource availability as well as the skills and abilities of you employees. The goal is to allocate resources in such a way that both every day and project-related tasks can be processed. To achieve this goal, resources may have to be postponed or projects that are unnecessary for the business goal may have to be paused.
2. Unrealistic time constraints
For instance, setting a deadline based on the simple calculation that with 25 hours of work remaining on the project and 100% work capacity, an employee could certainly complete it within three to four days is simply unrealistic. After all, work performance is always subject to fluctuation as well as the usual breaks and meetings that accompany a day.
In principle, 80% of the contractually-defined weekly working time can be calculated as a resource. Also, you should include vacation and sick days in your planning. And very important: Never forget to plan times to motivate your employees!
80% of the contractually-defined weekly working time can be calculated as a resource.
Such behavior is a task of patience for all those involved in a project. Constantly asking for the latest update or something similar hinders more than it helps. Instead, a manager should trust his staff and assume that they will do their best to make the project a success. Delegating tasks also ensures that the manager has time and can keep an optimal overview of resources.
4. Not comprehensively informing teams
For teams, it is often not enough to simply know by when something should be completed. But, they also need to know why this is important. First, this contributes to the motivation of the employees through direct involvement. Second, they can work on the task in a more goal-oriented manner and contribute new, profitable ideas. It is helpful if you involve the entire project team at an early stage.
In order to get a significant step closer to your business objectives, resource management software can help you to optimally manage your resources.
Resource management software offers support
When OTRS is used as resource management software, you have an ideal solution. As soon as a request is placed by a customer, someone acting as a project coordinator could quickly contact the customer to gather any request details.
When OTRS is used as resource management software, you have an ideal solution.
Let’s consider what happens when a request to schedule a workshop is received. In this case, the possible dates for a workshop may be needed. The project coordinator could review the request, gather these dates and then create an appointment for related to the request in resource planning with a link to the original details.
The appointments would then be automatically entered into team calendars and categorized: For instance, they may be sorted as “Fixed appointments”, “Tentative appointments” or “Internal appointments.” Initially, the appointments for such a workshop may be scheduled as “tentative” so that teams can have an overall view of utilized resources, in this case the employees. As soon as a customer confirms the appointment, it could automatically be set as “fixed” in the system and could even be transferred to another calendar if needed. For a better overview, the color of the appointment could also be automatically changed as its status changes, thus giving the project coordinator an understanding of all the resources still available at a glance.
Another part of the resource management feature addon is the ability to create teams in OTRS. Whether you want to divide your teams according to technical knowledge, locations or subsidiaries – the design is completely up to you. The added benefit of doing this is that you can display only resources from the selected locations/specialized fields/etc if required.
"Always look at the big picture!"
Also, by using an additional calendar to display all internal appointments, such as meetings and vacations, you avoid double booking or even exhausting your resources, ie. the employee. This lets you always keep the big picture in view!
In order to bring even more clarity into resource planning, OTRS as resource management software allows to companies to insert different dynamic fields into calendar entries. Using the example with the workshops, it would therefore be possible to store the additional information about the type of workshop directly in the appointment. In addition, the calendars in OTRS have so-called “ReferenceTags”. This means that all information about the customer – name, contact data or the linked ticket with a daily rate and location – can be included directly in the appointment.
With the help of the resource management software and the many configuration options that can help with allocating time, the project coordinator can have all important information available at a glance. The coordinator can find the right colleague for the workshop request based on the characteristics of the resources, such as the consultants’ place of residence and their availability.
Once assigned, the consultant automatically receives an appointment in his personal calendar via an individually configured notification and thus has all information available locally. Business trips can be planned more easily. In case of delays, the customer’s contact details are immediately available. If the project coordinator makes changes to the appointment or deletes it completely, these changes are transferred to the local calendar of the assigned resource without delay.
And, as workshops continue to be held, reporting can be performed. This can also be configured individually and can, for example, display the workshop days performed per month or their turnover.
From the first request by a customer all the way through reporting and evaluation, OTRS can support you optimally in terms of successful resource management. Common resource management mistakes are easily avoided, and the workload of the whole team is more easily balanced and managed.