Resource Management Techniques To Run A Better Agency

August 9, 2022
3 minute read

This post is part of our complete series on Resource Management. 

This post was originally posted on Feb 16, 2015. It was updated on August 9, 2022, with new information.

Let's face it...resource management is often that dirty two-word phrase that no one wants to deal with. Wouldn’t project management life be much easier if we could just run with the project and not worry about budgets and time sheets and resources and team availability? Our creative juices would be allowed to flow freely! Think about what you could do for your client and for your organization if there were no resource or budget constraints. Or time frame constraints for that matter. Sky's the limit! Go!

Ok. Back to reality. We do have the resources to manage the projects we are tasked with managing. And we do need to figure out strategic ways to manage those resources, resolve and minimize resource conflicts, build accountability and task ownership, and report on resource forecasting and availability. How do we do that? What resource optimization techniques and tools can we use to help ensure that we are managing our resources with proper oversight and that our projects are adequately staffed on an ongoing basis? Let’s discuss:


What tools and techniques can you use when developing a resource management plan?


  • Use of an automated resource management tool

Using a solid cloud-based or desktop automated tool – either as a standalone tool or as part of a creative management or project management toolset – is the most effective way to help the project manager regularly monitor and forecast project resource usage and allocation. Both over-usage and over-extension of project resources AND under-usage and under-allocation can be negative and affect the project adversely. The key is to use a tool. Even if it’s an easy project and all you’re using is a simple spreadsheet, use it and use it well.


  • Weekly review of resource forecast and usage

There is no replacement for regular review, forecast, and reforecast of projects, resource actuals, and projections. Everything ties back into the budget and timeline for the project – and your project resources are usually your biggest source of project expense and time on the project. Stay on top of the resource analysis and planning to ensure that resources are being used where and when they are needed. Your CFO will thank you for that when you show a project delivered on time and within budget as a result.


  • Regular discussion of timesheets 

Finally, discuss resource utilization with your team – they are the resources. Let them know how important this ingredient is to the overall project's success. And how important proper handling of project time charges – the time they charge to your project (and other projects) – are to the financial success of the project as well as the organization as a whole. They may not realize how important accuracy can be in this department, but it is very important and it is your job as their project manager to drive that concept home. So do it regularly. 

  • Be aware of how many hours being spent on a project are billable

It’s one thing to know how many hours are spent on a project, and quite another to know how many of those hours are actually billable. The latter provides you with the information you need to both keep within budget and know which clients are the most profitable to work with.



  •  Avoid obligating resources to multitask

Multitasking may seem like a good time-saving technique, but studies show that multitasking can cause efficiency to drop by 40%! Giving your employees one strategic task to complete at a time will increase focus and speed of completion.


  • Resource allocation and resource scheduling

Be aware through regular and ongoing discussions of what other projects and activities employees might be working on concurrently. You don’t want a surprise conflict in their availability to come up and stop your project’s progress dead in its tracks. Schedule your resources so that they are available to complete tasks within the right timeframe.


  • Resource leveling

Resource leveling is a technique in which project schedules are adjusted according to the availability of resources.


  • Resource smoothing

Resource smoothing means monitoring resource limits and adjusting the activities involved in a project accordingly. This ensures that the resources originally allocated for a project are neither under nor overused.




Resources tend to get overused, extended, and even over-allocated. It’s not good practice – and certainly not part of project management best practices. And, for the most part, it’s avoidable. A proper tool will tell us if we have over-allocated our resources on our projects going forward. That same tool – whether it’s a high-end visual project management or resource management tool or just a spreadsheet that works well for the project manager – can tell us if we have been overusing our resources to date in the project on a regular basis. Knowing if we are using them in the right places is more of a subjective call on the part of the project manager based on their task understanding and project management (and subject matter) expertise.

Of course, all of these same concepts hold true for underutilization and under allocation of project resources. Either way, they can cost the project excess dollars and productivity – that’s why using resource management strategies is so critical. Not only are the resources affected, but the budget and project timeline can be compromised as well.

Workamajig’s resource management tool makes scheduling, planning, and assigning work an absolute breeze instead of a time-wasting bother. No complicated, tiresome spreadsheets or meetings. Just a fully automated, easy-to-read tool to get those resources rolling to success!

Let’s hear your feedback. What works for your ad agency? What resource management techniques do you use for your creative projects? What problems come up regularly, and what methods do you employ to get past them?


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