Resources are an IT leaders’ biggest asset and it is undeniably the most challenging part of management. With such a large investment in people – training, evaluating, motivating, and managing – it is in every organization’s best interest to have a resource management plan that keeps resources working on the right projects at the right time to deliver the highest value from the projects deemed worthy.
Resource management is the key to delivering a higher output from your investments. Not convinced? over 60% of organizations said they do not have enough resources to manage project demand and resourcing was found to be the #1 challenge for most organizations. Why? Because people are your largest lever for making forward progress – making them the most important part of your organization. Your systems, products, and intellectual property may be your biggest competitive advantage, but your people are the lifeline to your success.
For years, IT leaders have been talking about business alignment. And we should continue to do so because IT exists to support the business. So it’s important that IT investments and efforts align closely with the key objectives of the business and it starts with effective allocation of current available resources to actually complete the work that has been prioritized.
IT needs to continue to strive for improved alignment with the business as they endeavor to better understand the businesses they support. The tracking and management of resource allocation relative to business priorities is non-negotiable and it helps business leaders better understand what it is IT can accomplish and there is much room for improvement.
However, it requires active participation from both sides. Planning and prioritizing projects only goes as far as your resource pool will allow, otherwise the projects will be at a standstill. The most important thing you can do as an IT leader is keep your resources actively engaged and working on the right projects that add to business value. Once you have selected the right projects and the resources that are expected to deliver those projects, it is critical to keep them motivated and excited.
Innotas recommends these items for effective resource management:
- Better define business goals and priorities. It’s difficult to hit an invisible target. So if the business can’t articulate a vision beyond “sell more and spend less,” IT isn’t going to have much to align with. You want to make sure the resources you have are working toward a common goal and they are supportive of that goal. Transparency is key here, and the more you can share with the team and gain support of the people working toward that goal, the better chance you will have of achieving that goal. Motivating resources starts with keeping them in the loop as to what they are working toward and giving them say of what that goal should be. Involving key individuals in the planning process gets them on board to achieve what you plan. Be wary though, it is a fine line and you do not want too many cooks in the kitchen, but early support can make a big difference to long term satisfaction, and ultimately, success.
- Get smarter about what IT can actually accomplish. Demand and capacity is an age old battle as stakeholders outside of the organization seem to think the capacity is larger than those inside the organization. By clearly defining what resources can actually accomplish, and delivering on that promise, helps to set the stage for continued support and acknowledgement so you can justify your budget. It is also important to keep the flow of communication open both to stakeholders and the resources deploying the projects so everyone is on the same page about expectations. This creates a culture of trust and enables you to address problems as they arise and avoid unnecessary escalation. It is important for people to care about the projects they are working on and only by communicating can you understand what they care about and what you can do about it.
- Invest. Invest in your resources. Understand they are your lifeline and embrace their efforts. Resources will always be your number one asset and the only way to leverage that is to empower them, communicate their importance, and appreciate their efforts. Projects do not get completed on their own and it is important to recognize the effort that went into them. IT leaders of today are expected to drive more value with less and the competition to innovate is only increasing. By investing in resources and empowering them, you will achieve better results and make a higher impact on the organization.
Innotas doesn’t subscribe to the notion that IT take all blame when it comes to inadequate alignment. We believe IT isn’t simply a function that supports the business because increasingly, it is the business. That’s why resources are increasingly important not just to projects, but to the business and those resources will define the success of the organization. This is something business leaders need to digest and acknowledge if they wish to increase productivity, accountability and ultimately, success.