Project Manager Vs. Resource Manager: What's The Difference?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 18 January 2023

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A project manager is responsible for managing a project and its team while helping to ensure it is completed before the deadline. In contrast, resource managers allocate resources and equipment across various projects. If you want to become a project manager or resource manager, it is essential to understand the different duties and responsibilities of each role. In this article, we specify project manager vs. resource manager differences, explore the details of both fields and discuss their typical responsibilities and average salaries.

Project Manager vs. Resource Manager

Here are the primary project manager versus resource manager differences:

Scope of work

A project manager may work on several projects at a time, helping to ensure each team meets their project's completion date. They can focus on each project individually, as long as it has its necessary set of resources. Resource managers usually work at the organisation level, meaning they may rotate resources between many projects and often manage a larger set of potentially conflicting priorities.

Education opportunities

There are extensive learning opportunities and certifications available for project managers, ranging from short-term courses to master's degrees. In comparison, specialised training or degree courses for resource manager positions are typically more rare. Many resource managers start in administrative and human resources jobs. Additional training may be available for specific skills related to the position.

Reporting to senior management

Typically, resource managers work in project management companies, helping to ensure that necessary resources are available for projects and accessible to project managers. They may regularly report to the senior management or operations director of the organisation. Project managers often have significantly more freedom in their work. While a project manager may technically have a supervisor, they primarily report to a project board. The project board can include members from several departments, both within and outside of the organisation. They usually meet to make crucial decisions that can help ensure efficient completion of the project.

Career growth potential

Typically, project managers begin their career in an organisation. Many later become self-employed or earn a promotion to a management position. There is no clear professional path for resource managers, but considering the similarities in skills between the two professions, a significant number of resource managers may also qualify as project managers.

What is project management?

Project management includes developing the project strategy, determining the necessary resources and allocating resources to various tasks to fulfil delivery commitments. It can also involve the use of information, skills and techniques to meet the project requirements, including defining the project's scope by specifying its quality standards, timeline and budget. The goal of project management is to meet both the client's expectations and the organisation's targets.

Project managers aim to generate a feeling of purpose in their coworkers. They may work diligently to apply their knowledge to a project and supervise the entire process. Project managers usually help determine the ideal number of employees for a task and divide the work among them efficiently according to each person's experience level and skill set. A skilled project manager can understand each employee's talents and assign them work that helps maximise overall productivity.

Related: 9 Project Management Types For A Project Manager

What is resource management?

The practice of effectively allocating the company's resources, including human resources, equipment and assets, is resource management. The primary goal of resource management is to meet the resource requirements of different projects. It may involve ensuring the timely allocation of resources, monitoring their proper use, and communicating effectively between employees to reach the expected return on investment.

Resource managers may determine which project manager and their team can benefit most from the available workforce or equipment. They often help project managers reduce gaps in the project process to help ensure the team can complete it on time and within budget. When a project manager identifies any issues related to deficient resources or employee productivity, they may discuss the problem with the resource manager. The resource manager can then analyse the company's resources to find the most effective method of supporting that team.

Related: A Guide To 10 Effective Management Styles (With Examples)

Responsibilities of a project manager

Here are the primary responsibilities of a project manager:

Creating a project plan

The project manager may develop a detailed project plan that fits within the allocated budget and timeline. They also typically provide timely project progress updates to stakeholders and supervise team members to help ensure project completion. Project managers develop detailed timetables and project plans according to the project proposal, required resources, potential risks and budget constraints.

Related: What Is Strategic Planning And How To Do It In 6 Steps

Defining scope and setting expectations

To understand a project's scope, a project manager can create a detailed breakdown of the activities involved in the project. Project managers may explain the scope of the project to stakeholders, including all work required to complete the project. They can communicate with stakeholders before defining the scope to understand the detailed requirements. After determining the scope, risks and deliverables, they may negotiate with stakeholders to manage expectations about the extent of the project.

Identifying time, money and resource requirements

Once they determine its scope, project managers typically prepare a full timeline for the project. Depending on the project's size, the project manager can estimate how much time it may take to complete, how much it might cost and what other resources requirements the project may have by evaluating all relevant parameters. They may provide a detailed list of required resources to the resource manager.

Tracking team performance and budget

The project manager keeps track of all work completed to prepare reports and update the stakeholders. They analyse team performances and give constant feedback to help increase efficiency and improve productivity. They may also evaluate and approve project expenses to ensure efficient management.

Determining risks and opportunities

To identify potential risks, project managers may run a risk analysis. Depending on their probability and predicted impact, the project manager can then calculate how to manage those risks. They can also search for any opportunities to have a positive impact on the project, such as by increasing their estimate of its required budget or identifying more efficient solutions to recurring issues.

Assisting in project documentation

The project manager may also prepare or assist their team members in preparing the project's documentation. They may monitor its larger milestones while discussing specific details of the documentation with employees who work directly on the project. The project manager may document key project details and consider legal records, resource performance reports and other critical employee details.

Communicating with stakeholders

A project manager may communicate with stakeholders to understand their needs and offer them project updates. They may report on the project's health, expenses or resource utilisation. Effective communication can help achieve the project's goals, complete the project efficiently and keep decision-makers notified about its critical details.

Managing project team

Project managers allocate work to the team members in the project and oversee their progress. The project manager may involve the rest of the team in the decision-making process by considering their suggestions. To improve team behaviour, they can also provide helpful feedback to team members. Project managers resolve issues, handle conflicts and help ensure everyone works efficiently.

Related: What Is A Project Manager? (Duties And Qualification)

Responsibilities of a resource manager

The following are the primary responsibilities of a resource manager:

Resource planning and allocation

A resource manager aims to allocate enough resources to projects to meet their requirements. They plan the distribution of resources among various tasks based on the project's budget and its team's skill set and professional experience. They may assign these resources for a specific period to ensure enough resources remain available for other projects.

Related: Human Resource Planning: Meaning, Importance And Key Steps

Capacity planning

A resource manager may first analyse the different capacities of the team. They can then match employees with specific projects according to resource requirement reports from project managers. While capacity planning, resource managers can also identify work underload or overload to help balance resource requirements with employee productivity levels. They may also decide where to assign newly hired employees to complete their training.

Resource requisition

A resource manager also handles resource requests to better allocate project resources and reduce internal conflicts. When a project manager submits a resource plan, the resource manager may review it to verify the resource requirement. If they agree with the project manager's request, they can confirm it and transfer the relevant resources.

Average salary of a project manager and resource manager

The national average salary of a project manager is ₹33,354 per month. In comparison, the national average salary of a resource manager is ₹5,46,638 per year. The industry and organisation involved can also influence the average salary figure significantly.

Related: Project Architect Vs. Project Manager: Find The Difference

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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