Which difficulties arise while determining unused capacities and the optimal assignment of qualified employees to projects? Qualified resources are required to turn a theoretical portfolio into an actual one, in order to successfully implement planned projects. The planning of primarily human resources in product development, as well as the planning of machines and check rooms, is, as such, closely related to portfolio planning. Professional resource management should take on this task. We were able to make a series of interesting observations during the course of the study. Practices employed by best performers are far ahead of the other participants also in this regard
– the difference between a sensibly managed pool of resources and the funnel principle is the difference between the top of the line and the average.
Resource bottlenecks, a problem? Yes, indeed!
The problems are varied and well- known. Every manager with experience in the project business knows the bottlenecks listed and identified below. The reactions are interesting – all aim for an increase in capacity. None of them take an optimization of the planning and management process into consideration. It is also interesting that specifically the companies that show weaknesses in planning processes and system support are also the ones prone to use expensive external resources.
• Budget shortage
• Lack of head count and key experts
• Bottlenecks due to rescheduling as a result of commencement of activities in following projects
• Project overlaps lead to multi-allotments
• Ad hoc, high priority sales inquiries
• Sudden re-prioritization by key account projects
• Planning and casting based on persons, instead of skill / competency
• Resource management supposedly not part of PPM, staffing takes place after project acceptance within the development division itself
• Resource pool management is too difficult, due to being complex and too global
• Unclear responsibilities (R&D versus customer projects)
• Holiday planning is not considered
• Bad planning due to optimistic, budget-friendly estimation of personnel requirements
• Externalizing tasks
• Assignment of increased workloads
• Acceptance of project delays, and subsequently non-adherence to delivery deadlines
• Delegation of non-critical tasks during peaks
• Extension of capacities by means of external advisers
A worthy field for optimization
The resource management sector has the poorest average maturity level of all maturity disciplines. The companies are obviously aware of the problems. However, many companies in this area are unaware of the fact that their IT-technologies are far behind the latest developments. The majority claims to conduct budget and resource planning, but at the same time states to have no handling processes and effective tools.
Area-wide, and in some cases company-wide planning, is often based on people, rather than skills in practice today. The main reason for bottlenecks is the solitary focus on single project allotment in a multi-project environment. The dominant reaction pattern is increased workload, resignation in terms of an accepted project delay and acquiescence towards extending capacities externally.
Person-based planning prevails
Resources are still for the most part planned based on people. The perceived notion is that people can only be evaluated personally, and to a lesser degree, that skill-based planning is too theoretical. Contrary to this are the practices employed by best performers – they plan based on skill and for the most part company-wide, with the help of integrated, IT-based resource management solutions.
Resource Management Software – rarely used
Most participants are effectively not using any software. 70 percent of those who claim use software are using Excel tools. The remaining participants are using existing tools for recording hours, which means to say evaluate subsequently and do not conduct proactive planning.
Our best performers also exhibited distinctly more professional solutions and thus less complications in the field of resource management. A global perspective on available resources and highly automated resource staffing are their reality, possibly due to the correct use of appropriate software. A competency-based selection of actually qualified and available employees, as well as the complete integration of resource management into the also very mature total process underscores the discerned quality in this discipline.