Real leaders focus resources in areas that provide the greatest opportunity rather than making across-the-board decisions. ― Frank Sonnenberg
Should the project manager not be concerned about the resource’s location, the request must be more widely seen. A vacancy board approach work best here, with new requests visible to all potential resource providers. Each can then propose their most suitable candidates; just like a dating agency!
A clear understanding of the organization’s breakdown structure is needed for the project manager to locate all potential suppliers of his required resources. This is particularly useful when skills shortages occur at the preferred locations.
Once a candidate has been proposed, the project manager will want to see how well their skills and experience match those requested. The resource allocation process must support candidate review and rejection, before proposed resources are accepted.
That would be it, if only projects would go according to plan. But no sooner do you have the skills capacity nicely balanced with the demand when a project change creates a new bottleneck. For high priority projects, this can trigger a grab of resources from lower priority ones. Senior managers will need to step in to help rebalance the project portfolio around project priorities and key dates.
Sustaining high levels of resource utilization across the project portfolio is a worthy goal that can bring rich financial rewards. The UK Association of Consulting Engineers, in their member benchmark survey of 2011, found that a 2% increase in staff billable time could increase their member’s profits by up to a third. This is a rich reward for a quite modest improvement in staff utilization. Effective collaboration between project and resource managers is an important means of achieving this.
Barry Muir is CEO of Innate Management Systems Ltd. You can read his blog at Innate Blog
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