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
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
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