Putting the strategy in resource management - Part 3 of 3Digital Project Management
If you didn't catch part 1 of this post you can read it here.
If you didn't catch part 2 of this post you can read it here.
Detailed resource planning
Once projects have been approved and work is underway the need for strategic resource management becomes even more critical. Future resource needs have now moved beyond the theoretical and into the realms of reality – if required resources aren’t in place and able to perform when they are needed then the project and / or the deliverables of the project will suffer. That requires resource management to tightly integrate with project plans to ensure that actions are taken at the right time to meet evolving needs.
Resource changes take time, especially for specialist functions. It can easily take six months or longer to find the right person and have them join the organisation. There is then additional time needed to onboard them to the point where they are able to contribute in the role that is required. In order to ensure that individuals are ready to contribute in time for when they are needed resource management needs to align with the progress made in project execution so that they can trigger the recruitment process at the right time. This may mean they are aware of schedule changes and can adapt accordingly, they are able to contribute to discussions around changes to project approach by advising whether they can support changing resource needs and timelines, etc.
Resource management also has to happen at a macro level, not an individual role level. Recruitment can be much more efficient if it is handled as an enterprise wide initiative – recruiting multiple roles at the same time generates excitement among potential employees that the organisation is growing, and it also allows for more cost effective recruitment support through agency firms. Resource management needs to contribute to portfolio reforecasting – providing updates on expected costs for resource changes as additional information is gathered and as timelines between plan and execution shorten. This is an area that is rarely considered effectively, yet resource costs are one of the biggest influences on overall profitability.
For many organisations resource management is just about hiring and firing, and perhaps allocating people to certain tasks. It’s one of those business areas that is ignored until needed and then complained about when it can’t deliver ten new people in a week and a half. In very few cases is resource management a strategic function that provides a critical support role to annual planning, project selection and portfolio execution.
Yet that is exactly what it should be. Organisations must stop managing resources reactively and start proactively mapping out their resource management strategy just as we do with our financial investments. Organisations frequently say that resources are their most valuable asset – now it’s time to start managing them that way.