Managing resources – how else will you get the work done?

The management of project resources requires the identification, supply, and management of resource requirements to meet project demands in an increasingly effective and efficient manner.

Our research studies have shown that resource management is one of the critical determinants of overall project delivery effectiveness for an organization.

Too often project managers have limited or no authority and serve as little more than project coordinators. Functional (resource) managers make virtually all the project related decisions and are clearly the power base for project delivery. Changing to a position where project managers have clear and full authority to resolve all the issues they need to in order to deliver their projects, and resource managers actively supply the required resource to, and work in partnership with, project managers, may represent a considerable hurdle to overcome.

Effective resource management requires mastering a number of related practices.

Capacity planning – Base load & project demand by skill type is defined, enabling macro-scheduling and appropriate sourcing of internal/ external capacity & capability. This allows a long term view of required skills by type enabling development and deployment plans to optimize utilization & capability of internal staff, and employ appropriate sourcing strategies for additional capacity and skills.

Resource pools and centers of excellence – Resource pools, comprising specialist centers of excellence or generalist pools, operate on a project basis to optimize utilization across business units. This drives better utilization of project-based generalist resources and experts and builds capacity in the scarce skills categories.

Scheduling and allocating – Improved estimating and forecasting of project demands enables reliable scheduling and allocation of the right resources to the right projects, with Resource Managers brokering agreements with Project Managers. This ensures the reliable provision of appropriate talent to balance expertise, internal utilization, development opportunities and appropriate use of external resource.

Time recording – Systematic tracking of effort expended on project, support and operational activities informs consumption patterns, project & individual utilization. This facilitates the production of metrics to enhance project estimating, tracking & forecasting, resource utilization & consumption patterns, & assessment of baseline demand.

Forecasting – “Forward load” updated reflecting forecast demands and negotiated resource requirements, particularly the scarce skills.  Significant issues, changes and variances are escalated and resolved. This requires that assigned resources are re-deployed where necessary; knock-on impacts on other projects of changes are assessed and mitigated where possible.

Resource management is difficult, yet getting it right is a key.  It is a key differentiator which over half of the respondents in our recent diagnostic survey recognize they do poorly.

John Hall

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  • Mukesh Rao  On April 17, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Absolutely right and bang on dot. No fluff. Project managers have to become adept if not masters in these dimensions of resource management to ensure smooth running of the projects. Very few are able to do that. However, one needs to keep in view the other side of the coin too. With strict cost control and limited budget, especially in fixed price projects that seems to be the norm in IT projects offshored to India, project managers are mandated to maintain a team profile (also known as bulge mix). Managing these dimensions within the constraints of the bulge mix is a huge challenge often resulting in poor resource management overall.

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