Resource management vs project management

Ultimate Guide to Resource Management – Chapter 6

In this chapter we are examining the differences between project management and resource management. 

The use of project management techniques is quite widespread within organizations, while resource management is often overlooked or an afterthought. And effective project management is hard to do without effective resource management. 

The gap left when organizations fail to get these two related techniques working in harmony leads to project delays, over utilized staff and less than efficient use of resources.

Read on to understand if you should be doing project management, resource management or more likely both!

Task vs resource focus

While project and resource management are related and complimentary activities they differ markedly in the approach they take and the outputs they seek.

Project management involves planning, scheduling and managing people to reach an end goal.

Scheduling is normally low level and involves matching resources to task level assignments or sprints if agile development is being used.


Resource management shifts the focus away from the tasks to be done and instead focuses on the resources required to work on the projects. It gives you an overview of your resources, helps you identify resource or skills shortages and shows you how resources have been allocated between projects.


Resource management or project management? It is not an either or question.

Resource management is never broken down to a level below the project. Whereas project management normally works down at the task level.

In the example from the Kelloo resource planning software, we can see how work is defined at a high level by just entering the project, the type of resources and the amount of work to be done. It is not required to break the work down into detailed tasks.


Enter demand

People involved

Resource management is normally done by resource managers in conjunction with senior decision makers, HR and the project management office. It involves people who are able to make high level strategic decisions about how best to deploy the organizations resources.

Project management is normally done by project managers and may also involve the project management office.

Should you do project management or resource management?

For all but the smallest organizations with a handful or projects or resources the answer is almost certainly that you should be doing both project management and resource management.

To make decisions about which projects you should be doing, resource hiring and optimal deployment of resources the data from project management systems is too low level.

For managing timelines and delivery dates to customers, data from resource management systems is too high level.

However, embrace both techniques and get your resource management and project management working in step and you will see your teams and project performance improve and your profitability increase.