Whether blamed for lengthy project delivery times or less-than-stellar project results, many PMO leaders find themselves in the cross-hairs these days. No one wants to be accused of being slow or process-heavy when it comes to resource capacity planning. But PMO leaders and resource managers can’t manage resources one project at a time. Instead, the path forward must involve matching high-level resource capacity to the overall project portfolio before projects are ever approved.
If you’re interested in making resource management everyone’s job, I think you will find this new Gartner report, PMO Leaders Can Improve Project Delivery with Better Resource Management, very helpful. They explain that a weak matrix approach to resourcing can wreak havoc on a project team, making it nearly impossible to keep a project on track. Gartner also attempts to answer the ever-pressing question: How do I free up staff from their day-to-day tasks for projects when they require significant uninterrupted time?
These are hard questions, but Gartner has some great insights. They lay out a pragmatic, five-step approach that starts with resource capacity planning and ends with personal work management. I think you’ll find it particularly useful since they tackle both the rise of agile and fixed teams and whether PPM leaders still have an ongoing role in resource capacity planning and resource management.
Here’s what Gartner recommends for PPM leaders who want to improve how they manage the project portfolio:
- Begin by identifying the high-level resource capacity available to work on projects. Keep identification at the job role and FTE level of detail. No matter where you are on the maturity scale, you should get this done first because it’s easy and requires no special tools.
- Start “soft-booking” named resources to projects once the portfolio has been approved. By considering individuals’ specific skills and skill levels, you can be more realistic since real people don’t all have identical skills.
- Personalize resource work management with task assignment and skills matching – or even a well-staffed project will run into trouble. This allows the PM to make task assignments correctly.
- Initiate team work management practices to jell the team into a productive unit. Let the team dictate the performance standard of individual members through cohesion, dynamics, and structure.
- Utilize the concept of personal work management to ensure the person assigned to the work can get it done. Any resource management system that doesn’t involve the individual directly in the process will produce less-than-optimal results.
Even if you master all of the above, I’m sure no single PMO leader can solve all of these issues. By focusing on resourcing, however, you can show yourself to be a true leader. Your job is to persuade others to join in your resource environment quest so you can better match business value against organizational demands.
Also, I think Gartner makes a great point about recognizing how small wins in any of the five areas above can be leveraged into longer-term wins. Why not use this research to assess where things are working or – in some cases – not working? Then, you can move forward with quick wins and move resource management in the right direction.
Optimize your resource environment with these five steps. Learn more in the full report.