Updated: Sep 5
One thing that every project manager and PMO will deal with at some point in time will be managing a project where your resources are not dedicated solely to your project but to a number of projects in your organization. This can present numerous challenges to you as a project manager when it comes to scheduling tasks, making commitments and overall workload management. Here are some tips on making your project portfolio easier to manage when it comes to shared resources.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
The need to communicate cannot be overstated especially when it comes to resource management. Discussions regularly with team members, other project managers and functional managers (depending on the hierarchy of the organization) are critical to making decisions around resourcing so that the minimal impact is felt. Intangible metrics such as potential burnout, stress levels and other factors that are difficult to measure need to be discussed as well to ensure that organizationally, you are not creating more problems than you are trying to solve.
Having a centralized hub of information for which discussions can be had and decisions made is also vital to an effective resource management solution. Having disparate pieces of information that are crucial to identifying all the resourcing needs and shared concerns is important so that everyone who is a stakeholder in this process can access and understand the information so that proper decisions can be made. Ideally this information is fed directly from the project schedules that your project managers maintain and that the resourcing needs can be easily identified, and potential collisions discussed with decisions made to help alleviate pressure while moving projects forward.
Human Decisions, System Data
While it’s tempting for us techies to let the “system” make the decisions for us it’s important to recognize that you are managing people and that non-technical components need to also feed into your decision. For instance, if your resourcing tool says that one person is going to be free when your new project starts up, it may be tempting to just automatically assign that person to your project. But what if that person is not going to be a good fit for your customer? Or what if there is a personnel conflict between team members. Your technical solutions will not have that intuitiveness to be able to make those non-quantifiable decisions which is why we need to use the systems to provide the data that allow the humans to make decisions that impact other humans.