There is no question that our project resources – their strengths, weaknesses, ability to handle pressure, and their availability at the right time is key to the success of any project. Is resource management easy for you or is it a pain-point like it is for the rest of the project management world? Egos, conflicts, tracking delegated tasks, and making sure team resources are fully utilized are some of the headaches we can run into while managing project engagements. It can sometimes be a very complex juggling or balancing act. 

Forecast and re-forecast 

Resource plans are not static – they are very dynamic. Resource plans become obsolete for different reasons – all of which are likely to happen on every or any given project. Issues like change orders that create new tasks and deliverables and needs for new resources, resources who need to leave for a different project or for personal or personnel reasons, and resources who just need adjusted because of conflicts or rogue behavior. It happens and we need to be prepared to deal with all of these. Having a good resource plan in place from day one–mapping out when resources are working and when they are on down time–must be in place and is a major component to the financial plan for the project. These personnel resources are the most expensive resources on the project. Plan, but be prepared to review and update that resource plan almost weekly... or plan to fail. 

Use a good template or tool 

If you're trying to wing it when managing resources... don't. Mismanagement of your project resources is a huge failure point for many projects. Using a good project management tool to handle the week-to-week oversight and utilization rates as well as pricing different resource skill sets is the best answer to the resource management headache that can otherwise send a project spinning out of control. 

Increase communication on the project 

Effective and efficient communication is job one for the project manager. Project management success begins and ends with good communication and the project manager must be at the center of that communication. I believe that every project should start with a communication plan in place. Whether that is a formal document, a paid deliverable to the customer, or a less formal document–one should be in place. This document should identify key members of both sides of the project, share contact information, and indicate planned meeting alignments, like weekly team meetings, weekly formal customer meetings, quarterly reviews, and any other communication that will likely be happening on the project. This should be delivered to key stakeholders early in the project planning process. If you don’t have one, make one now. 

Discuss resources with the project customer 

Does your customer feel comfortable and confident in the delivery team? Do they have any issues with any of the project resources? Often the individual project resources work closer with your customer counterparts than anyone else on either side of the project. Is it going well? You don't know unless you inquire. Go ahead – the customer may be experiencing an issue and you need to know that as soon as possible. No need to be shy–be proactive. 

An expensive short-term fix is ok if it is condition critical 

While not advised, a short-term fix of bringing in contractors is ok if it means proper project delivery, maintained project revenue and ultimately a happy client that might have otherwise been lost. There is a learning curve concern, so project delays are likely, and the project costs will go up. So that must all be weighed against the importance of the project and customer. Usually though, if we reach this decision point, it’s worth going forward.

 

Summary / call for input 

Resource issues on a project or within the PMO or PM infrastructure are a big concern. It’s common to stretch your project resources as much as possible, but when it starts to affect project deliveries, or you are ready to start a project with no one available, then you are going to start to lose project clients and that’s when you have reached condition critical. No one wants to go there so taking measures to strengthen any resource management needs or problem areas today will help you on project deliveries, customer retention and revenue tomorrow. Win-win. 

Readers – what are your thoughts on this list? What have you experienced for resource management concerns? What are your resource management pain points?

 

 

Online 2/17/2022
Brad Egeland
Updated on: