Our recent IT Resource Management study helped us discover that project resource planning for projects in American corporations is wrong up to 50% of the time. Resource Management is also the subject of great discussion within IT organizations and identified as a key goal for improvement.
Entry Software carried out an IT Resource Management study whereby 150 American IT Executives were surveyed on a variety of resource-related IT issues. We found that in 1/2 of the project scheduled the resource plans were inaccurate and resulted in overworked resources, cost overruns, and schedule slippage.
The majority of IT organizations lack the processes and practices to address the most common failure points!
—Robert A. Handler, Gartner Analyst, 2 Sept 2011
Project Management teams not utilizing the dedicated project team methodology are at a higher risk of skewed project and resource schedules. The primary reasons for increased risk when not using a dedicated project team are lack of information, recalcitrant team members, and unskilled Project Managers. Fortunately, each of these can be addressed to create a positive outcome for your projects.
Lack of Resource Information for Scheduling
When resources are requested by the project manager there are many factors they need to include in their availability investigation:
- In a matrix environment, they need to work with the direct report for the resource to negotiate the time required. They will also need to co-plan what will occur when the resource is required back on home turf; will they be pulled back, for how long, is there someone else that can cover them. If this isn’t thought through and agreed upon then there is a risk that you’ll lose your resource easily and often.
- What % of the resources time must be dedicated to IT support? In many cases, your specialized resource is critical to a number of key processes. Again, you’ll need to plan for the amount of time they’ll be required for the support of those processes and negotiate who can be trained to cover them while they are on your project.
- The resource’s personal schedule. Don’t forget to factor in what’s going on in the resource’s life. Vacations, time off, medical issues, etc… can easily be overlooked when creating a real schedule.
Uncooperative Project Team Members
It’s surprising how many organizations list resource management as a key goal yet do not capture employee’s work in a timesheet. How else are you supposed to manage resources if your primary information is not available to you?
This is a simple yet very challenging problem. IT workers are a highly intelligent, freedom-loving group, and the very idea of having to track time goes against their “Bohemian” ideals so implementing a “time-tracking” solution will often fail for cultural reasons. Therefore it’s important to deploy solutions where time-tracking is a benefit of a solution but not the primary goal. Using a tool that will help teams and team members schedule their work, improve customer service, and increase project schedule integrity will help. Time-tracking occurs as a result of the activities that resources work on and complete. It’s not a primary goal but a marvelous by-product.
Unskilled Project Managers
The greatest asset of project management technology is that it can be learned. The style and processes of project management are refined while working on projects but the core techniques can be taught. Enrolling in a PMI Project Leadership course can refresh your project management skills and concepts around organizational structures.
If better resource management is one of your goals then addressing these three success factors is critical. The can be rephrased as:
- Lack of information = lack of process and systems
- Recalcitrant team members = cultural resistance
- Unskilled project managers = skills development
Once these three factors are properly confronted and addressed then you’ll be on your way to having greatly improved resource management, better organization, and improved project schedules.
We highly recommend that you download our report, “Challenges Facing IT Leaders when Managing Planned and Unplanned work in Disparate Systems“.