People often assume or misinterpret Resource Managers (RM) and Project Managers (PM) roles, but their roles and responsibilities differ significantly within the organization.
PM and RM play a crucial role in achieving this goal if a company wants to deliver a project on time and within budget. Both functions are essential for the successful delivery of the engagement.
The PM works on specific projects while RM performs at the business unit level. The project manager ensures project delivery within a stipulated time frame and in the budget, while RM ensures the right resources are allocated to projects.
The RM’s job begins after the organization wins the contract. RM ensures the right resources are boarded, and once resources are finalized, they move on to another project.
The PM’s job is to manage these resources and deliver the project within scope and SLA (service level agreement).
One important point to note here is, without the right resources, the project does not start, and hence in any business sector, the roles of RM and PM go hand in hand.
Role of Project Manager (PM)
The PM is responsible for end-to-end project delivery and dealing with one or more projects. The primary job of PM is to achieve project milestones within defined SLA (service level agreement) and, importantly, within budget.
The PM role is project-specific and focuses on project implementation within scope and schedule with the help of the project team. In short, the Project managers are the possessor of projects, and their job is to ensure the project gets delivered satisfactorily in line with the company’s objectives and customers’ expectations.
Project Manager responsibilities
- Planning, monitoring, and development of project management plans and communication between stakeholders and management.
- Budgeting and ensuring cost-effective project execution without compromising standards.
- Monitoring SLA (service level agreement) to track the performance of the project.
- Delivering the project within budget and scope.
- Risk Management – Identify risks and create a risk mitigation plan.
- Work on CSI (Continuous Improvement of Services) for soft and hard dollar services.
- Responsible for SOP (standard operating procedure), run books, and other documentation.
- Responsible for CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Assessment) – follow up, improve and close.
- Responsible for project assessment and quality process as Six Sigma.
- People management – Team motivation, appraisals, promotion, structuring their career path, etc.
Role of Resource Manager (RM)
The primary role of RM is to ensure project managers have sufficient resources to deliver the project. The PM operates at the project level, and RM works at the business unit (BU) level to ensure that the BU has sufficient resources to deliver on the commitments.
RM is not associated with any specific projects, but actually, their role is temporary to the particular project, and once the resources are fulfilled, they move on to another project.
Resource Manager Responsibilities
- Understanding the project budget and assigning the right resource to the project
- Availability plan: RM has to ensure the bench is always occupied with the right resources and should be aware of projects in the pipeline.
- Scan and filter resources by experience, skills, and availability
- Coordination with PM to locate overutilization and underutilization of employees and right skilled people are aligned to projects.
- RM can also work with PMs to reallocate resources, adjust requirements, and mark critical resource requirements for external recruitment.
- From time to time, RM connects with PMs to learn about upcoming projects and understand resource requirements.
- In some cases, RM may contact the relevant department to discuss employee performance, training, resource development, etc.
- Work with the business development team to estimate resource requirements
- RM has to connect with external vendors to fill up resources temporarily in case of urgent requirements.
- Always up to date with the latest labor laws, documenting processes, maintaining records, etc.
Difference between a Project Manager (PM) and a Resource Manager (RM)
The roles of PM and RM differentiate from each other, but then both of them have to work together to deliver the project successfully.
The project manager’s aim is to deliver projects without breaching SLA (service level agreement), within scope and budget. They employ best practices like ITIL, Six Sigma, etc., and deliver projects with the help of team resources. They aim to generate profits and achieve customer satisfaction.
The RM does effective resource management. Their goal is to provide the right resources for the project and ensure employee satisfaction score remains high and their career objectives are fulfilled.
Method of delivery
Once the company wins the contract, the PM outlines the project scope and provides resource estimation to the resource manager. The RM starts onboarding resources from internal channels like bench, resources getting released from other projects, etc. In some scenarios, they may flag to hire resources from external resources like recruitment or contractual basis.
The RM tracks resource utilization using tools like PeopleSoft or other tools. They keep checking overutilization, underutilization, billable, non-billable, etc., and accordingly, align the plan and discuss it with PM.
If RM cannot provide resources within timeliness, then there are high probabilities of escalation, penalty, and even in some cases of losing projects.
The PM analyses the project for risk, and if they foresee any risk, they prepare a risk mitigation plan. Along with this, they regularly assess the project performance. To achieve this, they utilize milestones. The PM ensures the project is completed within the timelines and budget without outages, escalation, and breaching SLA.
The Skillset required for PM and RM
As a project manager has diversified responsibilities, they should possess a few essential skills, including:
- Project Management
- Excellent communication skills
- Ability to think out of the box
- Know-how and when to delegate
- Problem Solving
- Strategic Thinking
A resource manager needs the below specific skill sets to fulfill their role successfully.
- Excellent communication skills
- Awareness of Technologies
- Outstanding negotiation skills
- Quick decision-making
- Analysis and Forecaster
- Presentation skills
Tools used by the Project Manager (PM) and Resource Manager (RM)
The Project Manager has a multifaceted role dealing with a team, timelines, management, costing, reporting, and scope. It is challenging to take care of all these activities manually with precise accuracy, so special tools and software are available to aid managers.
Project management tools are an excellent asset for project managers in organizing and managing their projects and tasks effectively. These tools can be adapted to different sizes and for other purposes according to project requirements.
Let’s see the top tools that the project manager utilizes to deliver the project
monday.com is a cloud-based comprehensive tool for project management. The PMs can use this tool to plan, track, and update project status.
It has 200+ inbuilt templates that make it easy to create workflows and manage team activities.
The visually appealing user interface is easy to use without training, and the drag-and-drop functionality helps customize items and sub-items and update workflows in real-time.
Its unique data representation allows PM to represent project workflow using Gantt charts. The Kanban framework enables team members to monitor current job status at any time.
The software is available in three versions – Basic, Standard, and Pro and prices are $8, $10, and $16/seat/month, respectively. There is even an enterprise version that supports custom functions and very complex environments.
Wrike software ensures the seamless execution of projects. The tool helps project managers manage, track and prevent delays in the execution of project activities.
The tool gives complete visibility of a project to ensure effortless management of resources, tasks and helps to stick to the schedule.
Its time tracking software, customized Kanban boards, enterprise-grade security, and workflow automation give complete control and visibility of the project.
Irrespective of your vertical or business unit, this tool does a job for a project manager relentlessly. The tool can be used by various sectors like IT, digital marketing, product and project management, consulting projects, professional services, business operations, etc.
You can look at some more project management tools here.
Tools used by Resource Manager
The Resource managers use tools and templates to get work done efficiently.
Depending on the size of the project or the team and company profile, resource managers can choose from a large number of resource management tools currently available on the market.
Teamdeck is an efficient and complete cloud-based resource management software. The software benefits in terms of resource planning, time tracking, availability check, and generating customized reporting.
Its flexible resource management console provides all details of resources allocated to projects and visibility of current and future workload.
Whether permanent, temporary, or even freelance, all resources can be tracked, and their timesheets can be maintained.
One of its best adaptability is that it provides API software integration with other tools like Slack, Zapier, etc. Built-in templates, which can be further customized, can be used for reporting.
The software is available to try for free for seven days, after which it costs $3.99/team member/month.
Some more popular SaaS-based HR management tools are explained here.
Project managers and resource managers are two important focal points for the successful execution of engagements. Using tools to facilitate and automate their work will go a long way in speeding up day-to-day responsibilities, strengthening well-organized communications, and, most importantly, keeping tabs on budgets and expenses.
The selection of specific tools is based on need, project, and company-based. So to start with, I suggest implementing a trial period of the tool, checking the feasibility, and then making a final decision.
You may also be interested in Best Open Source Project Management Software