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A Solution to the Resource Management Problem

IStock_000012107875_web Resource management is often characterized as the number one problem facing project-centric organizations (see here for an example).  There are so many "sub-problems" associated with the term "resource management", but I am primarily talking about the issue of resources not being allocated efficiently.  For example, they are not available because they have been over allocated, resulting in the delay of key projects.

There are also many good suggestions and ideas to deal with this problem such as:

  • Using central resource pools
  • Develop a good process of making resource assignment decisions
  • Setting project priorities
  • Using a tool to help see resource utilization issues

However, here is a tool that can help resolve many situations and does not require a huge organizational strategy, top management buy-in, or rigid procedures.

What is this tool?...simply for project managers to talk with each other.  When we are reasonable with each other and communicate well, projects managers can take a big step towards solving this problem.  After all, isn't that why we are there?  What do I mean?  If you have a group of project managers running different projects, it makes no sense to pilfer each others resources haphazardly.  It may benefit you immediately, but it will cause you much more harm and pain long-term.  No one wants that.  By the way, by "project managers", I mean anyone who has the responsibility of managing a project.  You don't have to have the title or a fancy certification to do this.

So take the initiative, sit down with other PMs, and talk about it.  Meet together and review each others resource needs.  Where are the resource bottlenecks?  Find a way to solve them.  If there are unresolvable conflicts because of competing high priority projects (make sure this is really true - everyone's project is "high priority"), then you can escalate and communicate to more senior management for a decision.  But I think that many conflicts could be resolved by simply having a reasonable attitude, and working together.

I recognize that there may very well be more complexities than this.  You may need to go to a functional manager to request a resource, for example.  But least you can do it in a coordinated way, instead of 3 project managers going to the same functional manager for the same resources.

Of course, that means that everyone needs to be willing to work together.  I understand that is not always the case.   But in many experiences, I have found that if you treat people well, they are more than willing to work together.  It is certainly worth a try.



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Best Regards,

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