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By Jo Petroccia
What is resource management and how does it improve the performance of creative operations?
Think about the cost of mismanaging resources. It puts people, projects and profitability in peril
Creative operations – what is it?
For me, the term creative operations describes the process of breathing life into great ideas and making them real. It’s the coming together of people, process and technology and enabling them to work seamlessly to produce great content and memorable campaigns.
It’s the engine that keeps the wheels of a creativity turning.
How does resource management fit into creative operations?
Resource management provides the strategic oversight you need to get otherwise disparate departments working together. It gets the very best out of all the talent, knowledge and insight across an entire business.
Yes, a resource manager will allocate people to tasks. It’s part of the job. But the wider role is about far more than mere human Tetris.
Resource management vs project management – what’s the difference?
At any given time, a project manager is highly focused on a live project, the goals of that project, its financial milestones and what actions are required in the here and now.
A resource manager, by contrast, takes a much wider view. They look at what’s needed across a whole team of project managers and the wider creative operations function. And not just for this week: they make it their business to find out about work in the pipeline in the longer term. With that knowledge, resource managers need to manage all the Ps – priorities, personalities and process.
Again, this is where human Tetris goes out the window. The resource manager needs to align functions such as training and recruitment to the business’s roadmap and make sure the right people and skills are available when they’re needed.
Is resource management an overhead or costed on a project by project basis?
In accounting terms, it’s an overhead.
But in strategic terms, it’s an opportunity. Think about the positive contribution it can make. Think too, about the cost of mismanaging resources, or not having any form of resource management, coordination or forward planning in place at all.
What happens to creative operations if there’s no resource management?
This scenario creates a resource management vacuum. And that’s an open invitation for chaos to reign as the lack of coordination across creative operations puts a strain on people, projects and profitability. It puts the three Ps in peril.
What do you say to businesses thinking of bringing creative operations in house?
Firstly, look at resource management as part of your culture, not as a stand-alone discipline. It needs everyone’s buy-in. Be as committed to the idea of resource management as you are the resource manager and the job description. This means investing in, trusting and supporting the person you hire to lead the function.
Secondly, communicate to everyone in creative operations why you’re making this investment. People need to understand why resource management is vital and appreciate the expertise, advice and guidance the resource manager can bring.
When you have this understanding in place, creative operations will make better-informed requests of the resource manager. And the resource manager will have a better idea of what’s needed across creative operations. Better still, with their visibility across the business, resource managers will be able to make decisions and recommendations that support immediate project needs and benefit the organisation as a whole.
What’s the first step for businesses with no first-hand experience of resource management?
Find an experienced external resource management consultant. They’ll come in, get to know your business and get your processes set up for you. They’ll instinctively know what to do and what not to do. Plus, as well as laying the groundwork for the longer term benefits of resource management, they’ll be able to get you some quick wins, too – giving you almost instant results.
While your consultant is still with you, appoint a talented junior or mid-weight resource manager to your staff, ensuring they have the right personality and ambition for your organisation. Now, your consultant can train your new hire in the resource management processes they’ve put in place and mentor them in their first few months. This way, your new recruit will have someone to turn to when they face new challenges or when they need on-the-job advice and guidance.
What’s the most important consideration when hiring a resource management lead?
Ideally the hiring manager will have had some training in resource management. They really have to understand that there’s so much more to the role than allocating projects and tasks to teams and individuals. They need to grasp the full extent of the job description and, more importantly, the value it adds. From there, the hiring manager can define the personality traits as well as the skills they’ll be looking for in their resource manager.
To consolidate your new resource management function, supplement the mentoring your new recruit has had with bespoke training and/or resource and project management workshops. More often than not, resource managers are in a team of one in their organisations, so it can be a lonely role. Workshops with likeminded people doing similar roles in other companies provide great opportunities to share knowledge and bounce ideas around in a structured learning environment.
About the author
Jo Petroccia, Resource Management & Creative Ops Consultant, Trainer & Mentor.
As a leading consultant and trainer, Jo helps her clients get the most from their Resource Management function by focusing on their wider business goals. Transformation is at the heart of her expertise, particularly focusing on improvements in efficiency and culture.
The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Producers & Procurers iQ or imply endorsement from the publisher