In an ideal world, every project would run on time and within (or even under) budget. In reality, many projects show early signs of disorganization, start to spiral out of control, and eventually end up failing. Statistics underscore just how common this problem is: one in every three projects have no baseline; less than one-third of projects are completed on time and to budget; 75% of IT execs believe projects are doomed from the start… the list, unfortunately, goes on.
Project managers that are realistic understand that it’s not uncommon for projects to encounter problems. Even when the budget and schedule are met, if the project hasn’t delivered the results and quality you expected, it can’t be determined a success. But the best project managers don’t let these challenges stop them.
In today’s post, we’re going to look at project challenges that surface as a result of neglecting resource management, and how you can make sure you don’t fall into these project traps.
1. Deadlines, planning and resource capacity
Resource capacity concerns sourcing your available resources and managing them effectively to deliver a project within your time and budget constraints. If you don’t know how to measure the resource capacity of your projects, the efficiency of your projects will likely suffer—too many staff may be assigned to one task, while others may be overburdened with work.
When you don’t know exactly who’s working and when, you’re going to end up with unrealistic deadlines for your projects. That’s why it’s also crucial to plan as much of the project process as possible, taking into account every resource—people, capital and material. A resource management tool can help you do this.
2. Your people resources aren’t optimized
Resource utilization concerns making the most of the people, money and materials you have at your disposal, a key element of effective resource management. Each of your workers should make the best use of their skills to successfully complete the project. Allocating resources without taking account of their skill sets will not only make your project less efficient, but can lead to frustration and confusion.
It’s therefore important to document the allocation of resources. For many organizations, this is done manually through Excel spreadsheets. While this method is suitable enough, it’s also more time-consuming and prone to errors than resource allocation in purpose-built software. Project deadlines are tight at the best of times; you don’t want to take more time out of the equation by manually allocating your resources.
3. Knowing your assignment
While it’s important to match project tasks to the skillsets of your employees, you also need to ensure those tasks are meeting organizational goals. Allocating your resources without considering project demands (what has to be completed), priorities (what needs to be completed first), and organizational goals (the desired outcome of the project) is a dangerous game.
So, before you assign resources, you need total visibility over them—understanding which tasks need to be completed, how fast and by whom. Project heatmaps are a great way to do this, providing you with a visual representation of your human resources so you can attend to the most pressing areas of need.
4. Moving resources around
Sometimes, problems can appear no matter how much planning and preparation you do beforehand. Project obstalces can happen at any time during the project lifecycle, from a stakeholder changing their mind to realizing you don’t have enough resources to complete a project.
In these situations, it’s tempting to try and adjust your resources ad hoc. But this has the potential to make things worse—removing staff members and asking those remaining to work more hours, for example, will likely damage morale and cause productivity and quality of work to suffer.
Tempus Resource, from ProSymmetry, uses state-of-the-art resource planning capabilities to give project and resource managers the best tools to manage resources.
Resource modeling and forecasting capabilities allow you to approach resource capacity planning in the best possible way, helping you avoid many of the challenges we’ve mentioned. By taking a single project or a whole portfolio, users create a model where they can test, in real time, the effects of changing or modifying their projects, to help them maximize their resource forecasting. You can see how a project would change if you added an extra employee or changed people around to better utilize their skills. And you can see this without committing the time and money until you’re certain it will benefit the project. This is what we believe is at the heart of successful and effective resource management.
For more information on resource management or to get your free trial of Tempus Resource today, get in touch with us.