Step-change resource and workforce management improvement

In our analysis of project portfolio delivery effectiveness we have found that conventional approaches to improving performance rely upon point solutions that deliver benefit to parts of the program and generally ignore the program as a whole. Implementing a PMO or investment in training or recruiting project managers may have some localized benefit for a time but seldom deliver lasting improvements.

 Organizations typically need significantly more, such as:

  • More capacity: to deliver more without increasing cost
  • To focus effort on the ‘right things’: aligning better with strategy 
  • Increased profit: by doing things more cost effectively.

 When a leading mobile telco’s demand for project work began to exceed its technical resources and its capacity, they needed to formalize their resource management processes.  PA helped them to understand their resource capacity and constraints, and reorganize for more efficient development and allocation.

Referring to our project portfolio delivery effectiveness practices pyramid below, workforce and resource management are integrating and differentiating practices respectively and developing these together, we knew, would significantly improve the overall delivery effectiveness of our client’s organization.

What we found

  • Organization characterized by functional silos and unclear responsibilities, leading to duplicated activity and sub-optimal decision making
  • The business lacked an overall picture of resource availability, utilization and/or capacity
  • Little attention had been paid to identifying and addressing key resource constraints
  • Portfolio planning was undertaken in the absence of forecasted resource data, leading to unanticipated shortages
  • Projects consistently missed delivery deadlines, placing an even greater burden on scarce resource areas (affecting up to 30% of total resources)

 What we did

  • Created capability groups within the organization, recognizing that different work patterns required specialized techniques to maximize productivity
  • Conducted a diagnostic study to define total resource capacity and specific areas of current and anticipated constraint
  • Developed a process/tool to enable regular resource updates, maintaining big picture visibility of utilization & constraints
  • Implemented streamlined governance/ processes to manage initiative selection, scheduling, and allocation
  • Established an accountability and performance management framework with personal scorecards to measure and reward the desired behaviors

 What was achieved?

  • The personalization of data and management practice increased productivity in each capability group by at least 20% in 6 months (and up to 100%)
  • Dynamic, comprehensive resource dashboard facilitates strategic realignment of portfolio according to resource capacity, delivering more efficiency on individual projects and throughout the portfolio
  • Ability to actively match resource capability increases yield against strategic targets (faster, more reliable delivery)
  • The performance management framework incentivizes the development of an organizational skill profile that anticipates business need

 The approach touched all levels of the project organization delivering a solution that resulted in a sustainable step change in performance far exceeding the effort to implement it.

 John Hall

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