People often assume that a Resource Manager (RM) and Project Manager (PM) have roles that are the same or interchangeable. However, their roles and responsibilities differ significantly within the organization.
While a project manager works at a project level, a resource manager performs at the organizational level. In other words, while a project manager oversees the delivery of a specific project, the resource manager usually allocates the right resources to all projects within the organization.
To better understand the difference between a project manager and a resource manager, we elaborate on what role each plays in an organization.
What Does a Project Manager Do?.
The project manager is responsible for managing one or more projects from start to completion. The PM’s main objective is to achieve project milestones within defined timelines and, importantly, within budget.
Project manager day-to-day responsibilities include:
- Planning, monitoring, and developing detailed project plans that adhere to the allocated budget and timeline.
- Defining scope and setting expectations of the project for all stakeholders.
- Keeping stakeholders updated regarding project status, budget and resource utilization, project tasks, and more.
- Executing the project within the set budget without compromising standards.
- Tracking the performance of the project to ensure teams meet deadlines.
- Identifying risks and creating a risk mitigation plan.
- Identifying opportunities in the project and making necessary suggestions and improvements.
- Overseeing documentation of project activities, legal records, resource performance reports, and more, and presenting them to decision-makers.
- Conducting Customer Satisfaction Assessment.
- Managing team members through motivation, appraisals, promotion, and more.
What Does a Resource Manager Do?
The primary role of a resource manager is to ensure that every project has sufficient resources for its successful completion. An RM is not directly associated with any specific projects. Once they ensure that a project has all the resources they need, they move on to another.
Resource manager day-to-day responsibilities:
- Resource planning and allocation by assigning the right resources to appropriate projects.
- Capacity planning to ensure the right resources are always available for projects in the pipeline.
- Estimating resource requirements.
- Reallocating resources, adjusting requirements, and marking critical resource requirements as advised by the project manager.
- Scanning and filtering resources by experience, skills, and availability.
- Coordinating with the project manager to identify overutilization and underutilization of resources.
- Coordinating employee performance reviews, training, resource development, etc.
- Connecting with external vendors to fill up resources temporarily whenever necessary.
- Staying up to date with the latest labor laws, documenting processes, maintaining records, etc.
Project Manager vs Resource Manager: Key Differences
Successful completion of projects relies on resource managers and project managers working hand in hand. However, the role each plays in this process is different.
The project manager’s goal is:
- To deliver high-quality projects within set timeframe and budget using various project methodologies and techniques.
- To employ best practices like Six Sigma, etc.
- To guide team resources towards delivering projects.
- To help the organization to achieve its business objectives for profitability.
- To ensure customers are satisfied.
The resource manager’s goal is:
- To allocate the right resources without compromising the project quality.
- To enhance employee satisfaction, keep them motivated and help them to achieve their career objectives.
Method of delivery
A project manager delivers by:
- Outlining the project scope and updating the resource manager on the estimated resources they need for their projects.
- Assigning tasks to resources and tracking milestones to ensure that the project progresses as planned.
A resource manager delivers by:
- Sourcing for resources from internal channels like bench and those getting rolled over from other projects, etc.
- When necessary, hire external sources such as recruitment or contractual agencies.
- Training resources so that they can acquire new skills necessary for future projects.
The project manager executes by:
- Analyzing the project for any risks and preparing a risk mitigation plan to protect the project from foreseeable risks.
- Regularly assessing the project performance by keeping an eye on set milestones.
- Ensuring the project is completed within the timelines and budget without outages, escalation, and breaching Service Level Agreements.
The resource manager executes by:
- Tracking resource utilization using project management software. This enables the RM to support project managers when they request resources.
- Ensuring resources are not over utilized or underutilized to avoid billing loss, employee burnout, and more.
- Keeping track of billable and non-billable resources.
- Ensuring that resources remain productive, satisfied, and engaged.
Project management and resource management are two functions necessary to maintain a business’s sustainability and profitability. Understanding how each aligns with your business will ensure the successful execution of projects.