Resource Planning is Key in a Project Management Setting
There is an abundance of advice online when it comes to project management. But the underlying key to it all is managing resources effectively.
Across almost every industry you can think of, an increasing amount of day-to-day activity is project-based. As a result, it seems that almost all of us need to be project managers to a greater or lesser extent. When projects are being undertaken in diverse or complex environments, the challenges can become even greater.
Yet regardless of the project, the industry or the environment, there is one factor that underpins project management success across the board. Having the right resources in the right place at the right time is absolutely core and is something that simply cannot be left to chance.
Selecting and implementing the right resource management software and then, ensuring all stakeholders know how to make the right use of it gives every project a flying start and the best chances of being completed on time and on budget. Having said that, the type of project and the environment in which you are operating in, will have a direct bearing on the overall resource management process. Let’s take a look at three basic project environments and their specific resource management needs.
If you are managing one or more development projects, you are in a relatively strong position. Here, you are effectively creating your own resource peaks at the project planning stage. It is simply a case of setting your priorities and ensuring your resource needs are clearly communicated and understood by the other stakeholders. Clarity and transparency are the watchwords from a resource management and planning perspective.
Contract-based projects are another matter entirely. Here, the rules are typically being dictated by your client, meaning that requests, amendments, cancellations and confirmations can come flying in at any time.Unless your resource management system is robust, you might not even know about it.
If you are dealing with multiple clients, none of them will sympathise if you suddenly face a bottleneck or a shortage of a particular resource. For this type of project work, you need a resource management system that encompasses “what if” style scenario analysis and planning. The system needs to be agile and flexible, as you can expect demands to change on a daily basis.
Internal corporate projects
Internal projects can sometimes fall between these two extremes. In an ideal world, you will treat an internal client in exactly the same way as an external one, so the resource planning process should be much the same as with contract work. In fact, it really ought to be easier, as there will generally be fewer moving parts and the clients will be a little more understanding when there are constraints.
So much for the theory. The trouble with internal projects is that they are invariably the first things to be postponed, modified or cancelled altogether if there are conflicts, resource issues or even if the company has a worse-than-average month. Again, a flexible resource management capability is vital here to handle the inherent uncertainties of internal projects.