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Project Portfolio Management

Resource Planning the Savvy PMO Way

Part 2: Using data to continuously deliver the highest value work

Published By Scott Townsend

Resource Planning the Savvy PMO Way

This blog series is part of our quest to help you enhance your resource planning, no matter where you are on the resource management and planning capacity curve. In part one of this blog series, we covered the first two guidelines, which are all about your people:

  1. Focus on your key resources first
  2. Assign and allocate resource roles and team assignments

In this blog, we summarize the last three resource planning steps. These focus on how the Savvy PMO uses data to not only manage day-to-day operations but also prepare for the future. The right analytics and reporting help you continually align employees to strategic work and build the highest value project and product portfolio based on your resource and budget constraints.

Here are guidelines 3-5:

3. Run Basic Analytics and Account for Financials

Once you’ve entered your resources and roles in your PPM system and assigned work to them, it’s time to determine how that work is tracking towards your organization’s goals and needs. This is where the Savvy PMO starts to create dashboards and reports to ensure continuous alignment of resources to strategic projects.

Resource management also lets you track financials. You can “cost” both the planned and actual time of people based on the appropriate rates for that work, resource, or resource role. Next, you can capture whether or not tasks are capitalized, enabling you to categorize CAPEX vs. OPEX as these costs are treated differently for accounting and tax purposes. In addition, you can begin to compare past forecasts to actuals and adjust future work as necessary.

4. Analyze Capacity and Demand

To efficiently assign work or plan for future projects, use capacity and demand planning. This gives you real-time visibility into resource workload. You can determine which projects and tasks need staffing attention, accurately forecast true resource demand as well as future needs, facilitate headcount and hiring decisions, and gain insight into existing or future resource gaps.

Role-based planning enables you to understand what resources you need and when, even if you don’t know which specific resource will be assigned to the upcoming work. The Savvy PMO uses project portfolio management (PPM) tools that bring together capacity and demand in a single, flexible location to resolve both over- and under-utilized teams.

5. Rebalance, Predict, and Strategize for the Future

Savvy PMOs also employ a crystal ball of sorts to peer into the future: What-If scenario planning. This type of planning enables you to create multiple scenarios and compare them to make informed decisions and achieve the greatest value. For example, leverage What-If scenario planning to:

  • Capture the impact of unplanned work on the portfolio
  • Toggle resource and portfolio scenarios without impacting production data
  • Determine your optimal portfolio with the resources you have available
  • Generate scenarios based on variables that are critical to your organization
  • Re-plan your portfolio when resource needs or availability changes
  • Build the highest value project and product portfolio based on your resource and budget constraints

Depending upon the breadth of your PPM solution, you can instantly access the information for forward-looking resource scenario planning and resource optimization by portfolio, project, role, or individual.

What-If scenario planning also prevents time-consuming manual analysis. Adjust the scenario by shifting project dates and excluding projects and/or roles. By exploring this from several different angles – based on your goals and key restraints – you may find more capacity to take on that strategic project.

There you have it: The Savvy PMO’s five guidelines for resource planning success. Use them in good health, and watch the health and value of your portfolio grow:

  1. Focus on Your Key Resources First
  2. Assign and Allocate Resource Roles and Team Assignments
  3. Run Basic Analytics and Account for Financials
  4. Analyze Capacity and Demand
  5. Rebalance, Predict, and Strategize for the Future

For more details on all five steps and a helpful checklist, download the full eBook: “The Savvy PMO’s Guide to Resource Planning.”

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Written by Scott Townsend Sr. Product Manager

Scott Townsend has worked closely with customers at Planview for more than 14 years. After spending 6 years on the consulting side of Planview, he took this customer-driven focus to the Product Management group where he drives innovation to enhance the execution side of Planview Enterprise One. Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from The University of Virginia and an MBA from The University of Texas.