For those who work within a Project Management Office (PMO), resource management is a constant struggle. Deadlines often pass without deliverables because teams lack who and what they need – when they need it. It may feel like there are too many projects and not enough people, but in reality, the problem may simply stem from poor people management, allocation, timeliness, and the prioritization of the resources the organization needs.
Inefficiencies Breed Instability
The term “resources” can mean many things in the Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) world. Although its definition broadly includes assets like equipment, it is most often used to talk about people, their skill sets, and availability.
With the correct resources available in each phase of a project, anything can be accomplished. Conversely, lacking the right skill sets – or failing to secure them when you need them – can propel a project toward failure.
Top Five Resource Management Issues
- Inadequate Information – Many organizations collect no data or the wrong data on the skill sets and availability of their people. Others gather information but allow it to be siloed within different departments or systems, benefitting themselves, but not the entire organization. PMOs that lack access to quality, comprehensive resource data across the organization have no means facilitate project success – and are destined to fail.
- Unrealistic Deadlines and Deliverables – The people who request projects within enterprises are not always in the loop when it comes to resource capacity. Sometimes, promised due dates and results are completely impossible, no matter how perfectly resources are utilized.
- Inconsistent Resource Utilization – Skill sets must be optimized in order to keep projects running smoothly. If utilization is poorly documented and infrequently reviewed, team members can waste time in positions that do not take advantage of their expertise.
- Poor Planning – Proper resource management relies on exceptional planning. When managers -fail to assess risks, organize the resource transition process, or oversee the pipeline, unplanned requests and common project roadblocks can derail the entire PMO.
- Ineffective Management – Projects should not have to compete with each other for resources. Many organizations lack a dedicated individual, like a Resource Manager, to govern resources and communicate capacity throughout the enterprise.
Solving the Resource Debacle
There are many ways to assuage resource issues; it all depends on where an organization’s problems are generated. In some cases, hiring a Resource Manager could solve everything. In others, there may already be a determined Resource Manager working behind the scenes – but his or her efforts may seem futile.
While there is no one-size-fits-all-solution to managing skill sets within every enterprise, there are a few actions that can make resources governance easier and more effective.
- Devote a manager to the struggle. Hiring a dedicated Resource Manager may not be in the budget for many organizations. Instead, assign the position to another manager within the PMO who has strong organizational skills – and understands that resources are real people with unique skill sets.
- Implement best practices. The keys to successful PPM are consistency and transparency. To achieve these attributes, it is essential to align organizational reports, metrics, and data collection techniques to industry best practices. With apples-to-apples data in hand, the PMO can realistically outline its capabilities and weaknesses enterprise-wide.
- Incorporate robust PPM tools. With the right oversight and processes in place, powerful PPM tools like Microsoft Project Online and Projility’s Hammerhead solutions can make resource management straightforward and easy. They allow users to visualize current project statuses, highlight bottlenecks, and illuminate pipelines.
There’s no secret solution when it comes to resource management. Resources are people, after all; what works for one enterprise may not work for another.
There is hope, though, if your PMO feels like it is losing the resource battle. Keen management, improved processes, and intuitive PPM tools can streamline your procedures and optimize skill sets – all while providing insight into the future.
Your PMO may actually have all the people it needs to meet its deadlines; it just doesn’t know it yet.
Projility provides expert solutions for effective change. We offer enterprise portfolio and project management solutions based on Microsoft Project Server and Project Online, with tailored dashboard reporting, analytics, and decision-making tools via our Hammerhead technology. Projility also implements professional services automation systems established on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Project Service, and presents cloud-based strategies, migrations, and hosting solutions through Microsoft Azure. Contact us for more information.