Resource planning, management and allocation is the art and science of allocating the right resource to the right project at the right time. But it is not that simple. PMOs, Project managers or resource managers can face a lot of challenges ranging from poor capacity planning, to conflicting resource priorities, to inadequate information on what resources are available. This can significantly impact your organizations’ effectiveness.
The Center of Business practices published in 2009 a document titled “A benchmark of current business practices” and it talks about some of the resource management challenges. So, let’s see some of the resource management challenges project managers face:
1. Resource capacity planning is poor
What is “capacity”? Capacity is the resources available to get the job done or deliver a project on time and within budget. Often organizations don’t have any idea to measure their capacity and hence they are unable to plan their resources. One way to tackle this is to adopt a purpose-built resource management software.
2. Resource risks are not assessed
Many organizations assess risks related to process, technology and unforeseen events. But they don’t think about risks associated with the resources. A project manager or a resources manager should sit down and create a list of every possible risk and opportunity they can think of while allocating resources.
3. Not enough appropriately skilled resources
It is not enough to just have resources, they should also possess skill sets required to successfully complete the project and skillsets useful to the organization in general. Allocating resources without taking account their skills sets can be a waste of time.
4. Resource use is not optimized
Sometime already allocated resources are not optimized. Either they are working on low priority projects rather than projects which meets organizational goals. Or else they are doing busy work, in other words they are not assigned challenging tasks according to their skillsets and responsibilities.
5. Schedules/deadlines are unrealistic
Ahh, unrealistic or tight deadlines are the “bête noir” of project management! This should be avoided at all costs. Planning, not only by taking into account project constraints, but also resource constraints (whether personal or professional) is essential in project management.
6. Resources are assigned inconsistently
Allocating resources just on a whim or a hunch without analyzing the incoming demands, understanding the priorities, considering the organizations goals can be dangerous. Before assigning resources, it is important to have a holistic view of incoming demand and available resource capacity according to matching skillsets and roles.
7. Too many unplanned requests for resources
In many organizations, new projects are popping up every now and then. Some of these projects which are aligned to the organizations goals and strategy are important and some are not. So, the first step towards resource management and planning is to get a handle on demand, and then accordingly allocate resources.
8. Shifting resources to respond to problems
Again, in many organizations problems and issues crop up every now and then. It is quite natural because despite efficient planning, unforeseen challenges come up. That doesn’t mean one should shift resources here and there. It is still essential to get a good grasp on demand and requests.
9. Resource utilization is poorly documented
While managing projects, it is important to document all resource utilization and allocation. In many organizations, this is done manually on lengthy spreadsheets which often contains errors. That is why an organization on the higher end of the project management maturity should rely on purpose built software, not spreadsheets, to document resource allocation and utilization.
10. Transition process for resources is inadequate
Shared resources, working for different departments and different projects, are common in project management. Often shared resources are hopping from project to project without any adequate transition process.