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Libby Marks

Resource Management Today: 4 Contemporary Challenges & Solutions

No, it’s not your fault! Here are four factors ramping up the difficulty in resource management (and how to tackle them).

It’s well documented that effective resource management drives significant financial and competitive advantage. But it's consistently rated as one of the hardest project management processes to do well. As a result, many businesses experience lower productivity, profitability, and predictability due to mismanaged resources.

If you’re struggling to get resource management right, right now, we’ve got two things to tell you. It’s not your fault and you’re not alone. 

From increased workplace flexibility to global skill shortages and inflationary pressures, external factors are making resource management harder than ever. And at a time when it's never been more critical to business success.

Poor resource management leads to all kinds of problems - like subpar utilization rates and ROI, schedule slippage and overspend, and issues with recruitment and retention.  

Fortunately, resource management software is a more affordable, accessible, and intuitive solution than ever.  

Here are four reasons resource management is getting harder - and how resource management software can help you overcome them. 

  1. New flexible working practices
  2. Financial pressures on headcount
  3. The economic climate for clients 
  4. The competition for top talent
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1. New flexible working practices

Before 2020, resource management was easier. In many organizations, the old rules of top-down management meant people had to work standard hours from a standard place. It didn’t matter if that meant long commutes and poor work-life balance, so long as it worked for the business.

Those days are thankfully gone for many of us. The pandemic was a catalyst for pro-people shifts in how we work. Remote. Hybrid. Increased flexibility. Four-day weeks. A newly globalized workforce. Asynchronous.

While this increased flexibility is broadly seen as a positive trend - one that increases discretionary effort and productivity improves mental health, and reduces work-life conflict - it has ramped up the complexity of resource management. 

In his recent interview on future work trends, our CEO Tim Copeland says:

Nowadays, understanding the capacity of your workforce is harder. Pre-pandemic, everyone would be present in a physical office and they'd work from nine to five. And it was easier to manage those resources because they were very predictable.

Today, employees expect accessibility and flexibility around hours. That's an absolute baseline expectation that didn’t exist before. Building systems that can scale with that level of flexibility - and still give the right answers around capacity - that's a challenge.

2. Financial pressures on headcount

From redundancies to efficiency drives, organizations are looking at resources to weather the financial storm. In this challenging landscape, businesses need to double down on effective resource management, as Tim Copeland explains. 

The world's going into recession and you see all the headlines about just how aggressively a lot of companies are cutting their headcount. The need for efficiency and effectiveness has been elevated. For a long time, companies were able to get away with less stringent controls because money was so cheap. But that's no longer the case.

Money is very expensive now, so people are a lot more expensive now than they used to be. Businesses need to be very careful about how they're spending their money and how they're asking employees to focus their time and energy. Resource management is the key to this.

Whether your business is trying to deliver the same work with fewer staff - or use the same number of staff to deliver projects at a lower cost - you need to fire on all cylinders. This means your resources are working productively in the business - earning, not burning, money. 

3. The economic climate for clients 

The resource management challenge is compounded by the impact of economic factors on clients. Hit by rising prices and faced with tough decisions to protect their viability, clients may change their plans with you - withdrawing, delaying, or changing the scope of their projects. 

There are also supply chain issues in some sectors, where volatility creates unpredictability for project schedules and resourcing requirements. For example, resource management in the construction industry is particularly vulnerable to external factors.  

These external factors can cause problems for project-based businesses. They leave PMs scrambling to re-schedule projects, reallocate resources, and mitigate any financial risk. 

Businesses need the agility to adjust to these changes quickly to minimize the impact of upstream issues. McKinsey reports that businesses that dynamically reallocate resources - 'money, talent and management attention' - to priority areas see better returns than those that don't. 

But many will struggle to do this effectively if they’re using spreadsheets and static data to manage resources. 

4. The competition for top talent 

Resource management isn’t just about the workforce you have for today, it’s about building a fit-for-purpose team for tomorrow, says our CEO Tim.  

Something companies need to think about is how well-suited their current workforce is to the needs of their clients in the future. Particularly if those needs are changing. One of the major benefits of effective resource management is understanding what sort of skills are required to deliver work that's coming down the pipeline.

But capacity planning is also getting harder, as recruitment and retention become more challenging thanks to socio-economic factors like 

  • The growing skills gap - caused by aging, the speed of technological change, etc
  • The growth of the gig economy eroding the appeal of in-house roles 
  • The increasingly global competition for top talent 

Businesses need to face this challenge head-on - upskilling existing staff and recruiting new skills in good time for their growth agenda. But to do this they need to improve their visibility into their current resource pool and predictability of their future needs.  

We told you it’s not your fault…

There you have it. If you’re finding resource management harder than ever, that’s why. The fates are conspiring against you. And just when you could really do with the universe giving you a break. 

This is why we’re delighted Runn began its quest to make resource management better WAY before the pandemic and global recession hit.

Because if you’re struggling with managing resources in this new landscape, we’ve already got the software you need to make resource management a whole lot easier. 

And that doesn’t just mean better resource management. It means:

  • More projects completed on time and on budget
  • Higher cost efficiency and ROI from your resource spend
  • Better informed decisions about recruitment and training
  • Happier staff with more manageable meaningful work
  • Delighted clients and positive word-of-mouth 

And who wouldn’t want that?

Start using your free account 

You’re going to love Runn. We’re affordable and easy to use. And our clients really rate us. Just check out Runn reviews on Capterra 😊

Once you’ve used Runn, you’ll never want to go back to manual resource management and time-sucking spreadsheets. 

That’s why we’re happy to offer a free, no-strings, 14-day trial.

Sign up in seconds with your email address and start exploring. 

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