PROJECT MANAGEMENT TIPS: What are the Common Mistakes of Project Resource Management?
The first step in an effort to do real resource management is to ask the hard question “What problem are we trying to solve with resource management”? However, the first problem lies in the fact that they haven’t done any real planning work upfront; such as the work breakdown structure (WBS), before identifying the resources.
Define the WBS => Identify Required Resources => Construct a Project Schedule
Following are our observations of the top 5 mistakes:
Mistake 1: Not understanding how to assign resources correctly. This is a very, very broad definition of the problem, but we have seen people assigned to projects simply because (a) they have excess capacity; note, this is not a skill set! (b) they always wanted to work on this type of project. Without a clear understanding of the project tasks and the skills that are required to complete them how can you properly assign a resource?
Mistake 2: Planning for 100% capacity. Really? We view an aggressive percentage of a resource’s allocation to any project to be 70%, at best.
Mistake 3: The wrong people are making resource allocation projections. We have seen projects, with no project plan developed, requesting resources for 6 months starting on specific dates!
Mistake 4: The “resource” is not even consulted or aware that they are on the assignment.
Mistake 5: There really is no inventory of skills; we just have a list of employees and contractors that we have to show are busy doing something.
To address those common mistakes, you can try out the following solutions.
Solution 1: Understand and define the problem clearly. In many projects you’re not dependent on all the resources, but there may be a few key ones that you need commitment from. Obtain commitment from the key resources and their managers and make sure everyone knows what is realistically being requested. That is, “what do you need and when do you need it”.
Solution 2: Projects should move forward primarily based on their value, not just which resources are available. Many resources are interchangeable. If your project is going to produce three times revenue you can justify going to the market to bring in outside help (acquisition).
Solution 3: Make sure resource availability is realistic. it should exclude time allocated for operational duties, time off, etc.
Solution 4: Build out a high-level WBS and engage potential resources to help with it. Many times we see a deliverable flagged as requiring specific resources for long periods of time only to find out that the actual subject matter expert believe the deliverable to a simple bit of work requiring only a few days.
Solution 5: Gain a realistic baseline of data in your organization that describes what the current resources are assigned to. If it is not realistic to obtain that information you shouldn’t have a high degree of confidence in future estimates.
In short, project planning will identify the resources required to achieve the full scope of the project. Attempts to build a resource management plan that informs the organization of how many projects they can achieve is a fool errand. Plan the project and work the plan!
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