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When it comes to project management, people are often your most valuable asset, but if not managed properly, can also be the most costly.

This is more relevant than ever in today’s working world, where teams can be dispersed across many locations and time zones, making co-ordination of resources and work even more difficult.

People resources are subject to the common problems experienced across the project management spectrum:

  1. Lack of organisation-wide visibility to support effective delivery planning and outcomes
  2. Resources applied to the wrong projects, limiting the business value delivered
  3. Disconnected and often manual processes complicating resource allocation, utilisation and management
  4. Constant firefighting to resolve project bottlenecks or meet changed business needs
  5. Team and individual burn-out, particularly from over allocation of scarce or in-demand skills

These can be looked at from both a near and long-term view to understand the most effective ways to manage and utilise your resource pool and understand the impact this has on successful project delivery.

The short-term view of Resources

The biggest challenge in effectively managing resources day-to-day is gaining an overarching view across all current project schedules – whether traditional, Agile or hybrid. To manage delivery effectively and confidently, portfolio, resource and project managers need to be able to see which resources are not only allocated but are being utilised.  Visibility of current work, committed work and resource availability allows for:

  • Balanced workloads across project resources – making sure teams and people are not being under-utilised or over-worked and at risk of burn out
  • Fast resolution of bottlenecks by finding the correct available resources and applying them to the problem quickly
  • Accurate estimations of project delivery times
  • The ability to adapt to new requests or urgent changes to scope
  • Easier management of unexpected resource changes

Effective short-term resource management has an immediate impact on the bottom line through efficiencies gained from correct resource utilisation, the ability to focus on delivery rather than being in constant firefighting mode, adapting to changes quickly and bringing projects in on schedule. Not to mention the benefits to all your teams of balancing workloads realistically, identifying capability gaps and protecting your people who have scarce or in-demand skill sets.

The long-term view of Resources

Many organisations struggle to accurately plan and make decisions about resourcing for future project requirements. The more manual and siloed resource information is, the greater the challenge in understanding future capacity demands.

Organisations with visibility across their resource pool can optimise mapping between resource availability and upcoming work schedules, putting themselves in the position to deliver strong, longer-term business value and achieve the following:

  • Accurately plan for and make resourcing decisions to ensure upcoming priority projects have the correct level of support
  • Identify gaps in overall resource availability or specific skill areas to build-in necessary recruitment timelines
  • Understand overall FTE requirements and associated costs to make informed decisions on correct workforce size
  • Determine best resource ownership structure for upcoming work and allocate people accordingly
  • Stabilise the project workforce by providing better visibility of the project pipeline and future work allocations/opportunities

Accurate longer-term planning ensures the right people are in the right places to deliver on the highest value priorities, contributing to the organisation’s achievement of strategic and operational goals in the most effective way possible.

Achieving Resource visibility and accuracy for your projects

With the vast capabilities available to the industry through automation and AI, the use of spreadsheets, disconnected task tools and manual resource request/allocation processes are fast declining. On the other hand, the need for organisations to be able to adapt quickly, achieve faster results and connect their workforces is rapidly increasing, along with a growing maturity in measuring the ROI of their significant project investments.

With human resources representing a major cost to deliver, the visibility and productivity of the project workforce is a critical factor for success. Implementing an intuitive, organisation-wide project and portfolio management solution with integrated resource management capacity brings visibility, efficiency and certainty to both current and future project investments

Finding the right solution, informed by understanding your key needs, processes and ways of working, will enable you to embed best practice resource management across the organisation. The need to resolve issues quickly, inform faster, better decision making and focus key resources on supporting the achievement of organisational goals has never been greater.

Summary

More and more organisations are turning to project management technology solutions where all information related to project resources is captured and managed as part of the one project and portfolio management system. Sensei IQ does just that – giving your everything from current resource allocations and availability to resource requests and approvals, individual workload commitments, and future resource requests and allocations.

All information is surfaced in “at a glance” dashboards giving project, resource, and portfolio managers the information they need to effectively manage their current project workforce and plan for future project delivery.

For an overview of how this type of system could work for your organisation, whether you work in a traditional, agile or hybrid environment, view here.

By Marc Soester

Executive Director

Marc Soester is an Executive Director at Sensei and has over 18 + Years experience in being a PPM and Work Management Subject Matter Expert​, he has been part of over 250 PPM ​implementations​ and is an Industry Standard Expert on PMI, P3O, Scaled Agile. Marc was also the first Microsoft Project MVP and is an active member of the Microsoft ​Product Advisory Council.

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