One of the leading causes of project failures is poor resource management, which usually boils down to poor project prioritization, when organizations have difficulty tracking project costs against value, and the alignment of the initiative with company goals and objectives. In these cases, low priority projects can pull needed resources away from higher priority, business-critical work. Another typical issue organizations experience is difficulty in simply tracking resources, including their skillsets and current workloads.
Our TrackerSuite.Net product offers several tools which address these issues, including dashboards that show project priority and warnings, earned value reports, as well as resource grids that can be filtered by department, manager, project status and skill sets, making it easy to find qualified resources and their current assignments.
But tools only go so far. Here are four tips for managing your resources effectively.
- Communication is key. This goes beyond making sure everyone gets CC’d on emails and gets copies of meeting minutes. Be pro-active in engaging your team, particularly on an individual basis. Make sure everyone doesn’t just understand what they’re responsible for, but also why they’re doing it, and why it’s important.
- Nip conflicts in the bud before they cause team members to lose focus, and potentially derail the project.
- Fix problems, don’t assign blame. Mistakes happen in all projects, but team members face a strong temptation to delay reporting problems, if they think they’re going to be berated. When a problem arises, focus on it, not the employees involved. A three-step approach like the following can help:
- What is the problem? How will it affect the project?
- How will it be addressed?
- What will be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
- Taking a clinical approach to problem solving can foster openness and personal responsibility within projects. However, there will always be a need to monitor team discipline. Unacceptable behaviors or actions (repeated deliveries of late or low quality work, dishonesty) by team members should be addressed promptly and decisively before these actions affect the enthusiasm and investment of the productive team members.