Temptation That Lead to Conflicts in Resource Management

Standish Group’s Chaos Report of 2009 states that 68% of all projects are not successful. Due to latest experiences and my research, one important factor to mitigate the risk of failure is having the right resources in place when needed.

This article shows how simple temptations in communication combined with missing transparency lead to a mismatch in resource allocations.

Let’s view an example where the project manager first meets the resource and next the resource manager. Then let’s drill into the resulting issues.

1. Project manager asks resource for capacity

Day-to-day Situations in Resource Management 1

The project manager asks for at least 2-3 months and the resource tempts to confirm this (there are many reasons for this). Let’s put this on a communication level: Adam receives the question with ‘2 months’ (sender-receiver-issue). And since this would work out, he simply confirms.

2. Project manager asks resource manager for approval

Day-to-day Situations in Resource Management 2

The project manager asks for approval. The Resource manager is little irritated that everything’s already clarified and approves by trusting given information. Confirmation is send via e-mail in separated systems.

3. Analysis

Let’s look at the resulting planning. June and July are fine. First issues will rise in August and September, when the resource is on vacation. We are facing an over-allocation of ~20%.

Day-to-day Situations in Resource Management Analysis 1

And now, a few weeks later, let’s view the same situation again. As time goes by I assume that efforts in ‘Project A’ rise by 25% and ‘Project B’ cannot be finished in time (should have been completed in July). Now we are looking at an over-allocation of ~50%.

Day-to-day Situations in Resource Management Analysis 2

Assuming we are not having this kind of transparency, the question is: Who will prioritize? Most properly it will be the resource doing the work that is liked best. And there is a high risk that this is not the work bringing the ideal overall benefit. I’ll phrase it in another way: Having No Transparency Will Burn Money.

This is only one example on situations with issues in communication and lacking transparency. I ran into settings like this not only once, and sometimes they have even been worse. Now that we have a common understanding we can start discussing on how to encounter these issues. My next article is on how to create transparency.

If this article caught your attention, stay tuned on this site or visiy my session at the upcoming Microsoft Project Conference (#mspc12) in Phoenix, AZ, March 20th to 22nd (abstract for session #pc309).

Ingo Meironke, PMP – Manager at Campana & Schott@meiroTweet

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