Resources are an organization’s most valuable asset, but I would bet that your approach to resource management is broken. When thinking about your resources or people, can you confidently and accurately answer these questions?:
- I know what they are working on
- They are working on the right things, at the right time
- Their utilization is optimized and they are executing at highest efficiency
- I have enough capacity and the right mix of skillsets to execute work being requested
- I can forecast my resource needs and gaps 12 months out
My guess is that you probably can’t answer all of these questions. In this blog series, we will cover why your approach to managing resources is broken and how to ensure they don’t fall through the cracks. True resource management is about managing your people through the entire lifecycle of work – from idea inception and prioritization through execution and measuring ROI. You must deploy tools to support each of these stages. Most organizations do well with some of the stages, but not all of them. It all begins with resource planning.
The primary goal of resource planning is prioritizing and scheduling people to ensure they are working on the right projects at the right time. Without the proper solution or process, organizations are influenced by politics, opinions, and the “loudest voice in the room” rather than making data-driven decisions. Taking a data-driven approach requires going through manual calculations backed up by spreadsheets, numerous meetings, and tedious analysis, which is inefficient. Because this manual effort is challenging, most organizations fail at doing resource planning it effectively.
Another goal of resource planning should be to identify and forecast resource gaps for achieving business goals. If done right, you should be able to proactively communicate budget and hiring needs that would ensure successful delivery of approved or upcoming projects. This requires accurate and real-time data of your incoming work demand and future resource capacity. These dynamic elements change constantly and most organizations struggle with access to accurate data. The result is that forecasts are less predictable and based more on “gut-feel” than actionable information.
So what’s the solution?
Effective resource planning needs to have real-time access to data and the optimal solution should automate some of the process. Organizations looking to implement a solution should look at project portfolio management (PPM) software with the following capabilities:
- Predictive analytics for optimization
- Dashboards for resource capacity and demand
- Visibility of resources across entire portfolio
These three main capabilities will help you ensure an efficient planning process with high levels of accuracy, enable proper communication to all levels in the organizations (from the executive management down to the PMO and individual team members), and lastly provide an enterprise-wide view, so no resources are left out of the equation.
With a proper resource planning process and solution, organizations should strive for the following desired outcomes:
- Establish a project portfolio roadmap aligned to corporate goals
- Maximize resources based on capacity constraints
- Improve business stakeholder relationships and credibility
- Increase business agility and ability to deliver
Once your organization achieves the outcomes above, you can be confident that you are directing resources down the correct path so they stayed aligned with the business goals before they start execution.
To learn more about enterprise resource management, down the whitepaper Your Resources Are Falling Through The Cracks: A smarter approach to resource forecasting, management, and accountability
In the next part of this blog series, we will cover resource execution and adaption to change.