When I meet with executives, top concerns invariably turn to resources – namely – the lack thereof, contention amongst team members, improper utilization and whether or not capacity meets demand. Leaders want to gain a better understanding of practical ways to maximize resources, minimize lost productivity and realize the benefits and results they seek.
In a previous blog, I suggested that one way to survive in a no-to-low growth economy is to manage resources more efficiently, meaning: manage the demand for resources, and ensure your resources have the right capacity and capability for strategy execution.
Resource management visibility: The key to high value return on investment
Commissioned by Planview and conducted by Appleseed Partners and OpenSky Research, a recent ground breaking study, 2013 Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study, considered the state of resource management and capacity planning. It surveyed more than 600 global executives and managers responsible for human resources planning and resource utilization. While the study examined results and factors against the maturity of organizations, it identified key issues to address regardless of maturity. Increasing maturity in an organization’s effective application in project and program management has been proven to make a long and lasting impact and should definitely not be ignored.
Common pain points, causes and business risks arose out of the data. Personally working with a few clients recently, these completely resonated:
Human resources demand and capacity pain points
Chart toppers, as follows:
- Constant change in availability and assignment
- Ineffective demand prioritization and governance process
- Not enough visibility into demand
Causes of human resources pain points
While causes varied, three in particular highlighted the need for practices and standards in human resources management, especially at the project level:
- Lack of process maturity – ill-defined, ill-used
- Challenges estimating in projects
- Incorrect granularity of information on resources
Most leaders can clearly cite the dangerous effects of ineffective resource management, and the study concurred:
- Lost productivity
- Wasting high value resources on low value projects
- Delayed time to market
The first reaction to these powerful insights may well be to immediately acquire portfolio management software. Designed to improve resource demand and delivery capacity, the benefits of this technology include:
- Better prioritization discipline
- Ability to ensure the right amount of granularity in reporting on resource information
- Power to play out what-if scenarios
From our perspective, we always encourage organizations to get the people and process parts of the equation well-established – prior to introducing technology. Deliberately – people, process and technology, in that order. The Planview report supports this approach. In fact, some of the benefits we often attribute to software can be achieved even before its installation.
Global resource management: Succeed in a challenging market
When resource management becomes visible and actively managed, leaders can use the information to make smart portfolio decisions, which in turn increase the capabilities available to navigate choices required in a global and challenging market.
The first step: Keep it simple and develop right fit practices and processes. Wading into the swamp means doing it in small, manageable steps – ankles first, then waist deep and finally swimming with the alligators.
About the Author
Catherine Daw, MBA, PMP, CMC
Catherine is Senior Vice President, Management Consulting at Diabsolut Inc. As President and co-founder of SPM Group Ltd., Catherine guided the development and success of the business for 21 years prior to being acquired by Diabsolut in 2014.
She provides the vision and leadership needed to grow the management consulting practice including the current corporate direction of enabling effective enterprises through strategy execution. Her focus is what matters most to clients – solutions that exceed expectations, save time and money, transfer knowledge and help achieve superior business benefits.
Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science from Queen’s University and a Masters of Business Administration from York University. She is an active member of the Project Management Institute, Association of Change Management Professionals, Canadian Association of Management Consultants and the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.
As a renowned expert, Catherine is frequently asked to share her insights and experiences. She writes regularly on the challenges of turning strategy into action. Catherine is a contributing author to “Project Management for Business Professionals: A Comprehensive Guide” ©2001 and “The Keys to Our Success: Lessons Learned from 25 of Our Best Project Managers” ©2013.