Whether you are a wily old veteran or a rookie, there are certain steps that any project manager needs to take before beginning a new project. Project management is a complex undertaking and involves keeping a lot of logistical ‘pins’ in the air, maintaining a forensic attention to detail and dealing with unpredictable conditions.
A good project manager needs to be able to deal with all these changes and keep the project on course to achieve objectives. Following best practice might just be the difference between project success and having to prepare excuses for the board. That’s why we’ve put together these resource and project management tips to help you be even more successful.
One of the most important aspects of successful project management is the optimal allocation of resources. A key pillar of project management is your people. In fact, people are arguably the most important part of the puzzle when it comes to successfully delivering a project.
Therefore, resource management needs to be a priority no matter what stage of a project you are contending with. Project management can often be a type of guessing game. However, by allocating your resources correctly you can reduce the amount of guesswork that can sometimes hamper a project’s progress. But what does that look like in practice?
To allocate your resources in an optimal way, you need to know the answers to several questions concerning your people, the materials you need and the time you have at your disposal.
- Who is qualified to handle specific tasks in this project?
- Who is available to work on a specific project?
- When are they available to do so?
- How long is their availability?
- What is needed, i.e. equipment, warranties, rental fees, etc.?
- The volume of materials?
- When do you need them?
- The length of time they are needed for?
- What is your project deadline?
- When does the project need to begin to ensure meeting the deadline?
- Taking other answers into account, when is the earliest you can begin the project?
By answering these questions, you can get a better picture of your resource availability before diving headfirst into a project. In an ideal world, the answers to the above would line up strategically ensuring you are getting the most from your resources. For example, the people available to work would also be qualified to use the equipment that is needed; there are enough materials for the number of staff you need to complete a set of tasks, etc.
Of course, managing any project is rarely a smooth sail from start to finish. The level of detail project managers need to keep abreast of and the dynamic pace of most projects makes for a tricky and often frustrating job. Nonetheless, asking and answering the questions above is the foundation of good project management.
Even with good planning and asking all the right questions, project managers aren’t guaranteed to know exactly who will be needed to work on certain projects. Nor can they always predict the availability of employees. Even the most experienced project managers must rely on the information they have around them. The usual way of gathering and drawing insights from this information is through a project portfolio management (PPM) solution—or a level below that, by using Excel spreadsheets. PPM solutions can be extremely beneficial to a project management team. But they can also be unwieldy, expensive and difficult to use. And, depending on what you are using, the solution for it may not be all that relevant to your needs.
If you are using a PPM solution, you may not be getting a clear and explicit enough view of your resources. What you need is a solution that is dedicated to resource management. One that gives your project manager a complete overview of resources so they can be as accurate as possible when answering the questions above, identifying employee availability and creating realistic project plans.
ProSymmetry’s resource management solution, Tempus Resource, is dedicated to ensuring your project managers can see the health of your resources for current and future projects clearly. The software provides cutting-edge modeling and forecasting to enable project managers to approach resource allocation in the most effective way possible. Taking a single project or an entire portfolio, users can create a resource allocation model to test, in real time, the effects of changing or modifying their projects to help them make better project-related decisions. Tempus Resource helps you ask the right questions and, importantly, get the right answers.
For more information on resource management and devising a resource allocation model to get better answers for your resource questions, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today.