Contrasts in Strategic Resource Management

Waste Not – Want Not

The executives of Thomas Enterprise knew they weren’t quite as successful as they’d like to be. There were a few issues with personnel, past projects, and resource management, so they hired a consulting firm to analyze their everyday operations and offer suggestions for improving their company.

But surely it couldn’t be as disastrous as the consultant suggested. “Run the business into the ground?” They still had jobs. Their company often had more work than they could handle.

“Your business is hemorrhaging.”

“Hemorrhaging?”

“Your business will be dead if drastic changes aren’t made soon.”

Thomas Enterprise had hundreds of employees and always had several projects going on. They were well-liked. Everything should have been running smoothly. So why wasn’t it?

An Organization’s Toolbox

Every business should have tools and resources to manage every aspect of its business, which can be leveraged to facilitate growth. Strategic resource management can be one tool in that toolbox. If a company isn’t using its tools correctly, it can damage the company or prevent it from growing. This is what was happening to Thomas Enterprise.

Thomas Enterprise was plagued with imprecise records, competing projects, and overzealous project timelines. The executives at Thomas Enterprise didn’t anticipate risk and didn’t have sufficient plans to deal with problems as they came up, so they were often reacting instead of being proactive. Their expertise and quality products kept them afloat, but the lack of resource management strategy would be their undoing.

Using an up-to-date cloud-based resource and project management software, the resource manager can create a pathway between the project and the decision-making process. Project Management tools like Clarizen, which specializes in managing resources strategically, are as much an art as a science. The more skilled and trained the artist (Project Resource Management team), the better quality of the painting.

Strategic resource management ensures resource planning in project management and creates a holistic approach that protects against risks that often come up when executing projects. Too often, a company’s objectives are often sabotaged because of a lack of preparation when the right tool and know-how could have prevented its demise.

Being a strategic partner in human resources must be a team effort between HR Department, Department Managers, and Project Managers to gain the benefits of Strategic Human Resource Management. Human resource management systems and other tools can help understand current capabilities versus future needs and determine the best way to bridge those gaps.

What We Don’t Know CAN Hurt Us!

Because work was coming in quickly and Thomas Enterprise didn’t have a good way to track the progress of projects, there were a lot of mistakes in their record-keeping. This cost them time and money to fix. Often the slipups were not caught until after a problem arose. That time could have been spent growing the business and generating more income.

People make mistakes. It happens. Even when planning for every possible risk, something gets missed, recorded wrong, or misestimated. Planning the resources for multiple projects, estimating each project’s needs, and scheduling these resources are all potential areas where communication can go awry, and a simple error can snowball.

Clarizen is designed to enhance communication and the strategic performance of the organization. Clarizen offers planning in project management with a single place to holistically manage all the company’s projects. It assists in defining and implementing the company’s overall goals while optimizing the company’s workflow and takes care of all of the “little things” that sometimes get lost.

The Schedule Paradox: More Work Doesn’t Always Equal More Success

Common scheduling mistakes hinder business growth. Whether dedicating too many resources or not enough, not having a clear understanding of the current project or future ones can have disastrous results. Poor estimation upsets all aspects of a poorly planned project.

An enterprise’s resource management system should drive project planning, including estimating and scheduling activities. From under/overestimating the project schedule, the final costs, and the resources needed, the more inaccurate the initial estimates are, the more difficult completing tasks becomes. If we don’t understand the resources it takes to execute a project and have a capable tool, we can’t accurately plan for the next one down the line.

Clarizen is easy to navigate because it integrates and organizes each project’s information and contextualizes it. The platform’s intuitive approach allows its users to share resources easily and strengthen communication. Clarizen‘s workflow management tools offer automated, repeatable processes, which alleviate administrative responsibilities.

In a desire to grow the business, the executives at Thomas enterprise often took on too many projects and stretched themselves too thin. Then problems with supply or resources would pop up, and the jobs would occasionally take significantly longer or require more resources than initially planned. Each bump in the road would cause a snowball of delays and the use of additional resources.

Experienced teams and organizations can often come up with a good guess at what each project will need by reviewing the extensive notes and past experiences from other earlier organizations. But is a guess good enough?

Clarizen provides actionable insight about an organization’s resources, projects, and teams in a single place in real-time. Clarizen‘s precise information offers insight into portfolio health and trends. PMOs can trust their information to be up-to-date and accurate, allowing them to make proactive decisions.

To Know Your Resources or Not to Know Your Resources

It is not enough to have resources or just a project human resource management team. Companies–bosses–need to know their employees’ areas of expertise and personality strengths…and what to do with this important information.

If resources–including people–are earmarked for a specific project but not used efficiently or at all, then even if the project is successful, the company’s growth will slow. Understanding each employee’s role within the company and how they fit within each project they are attached to will prevent wasted hours and frustrating and unnecessary meetings.

On the other hand, commandeering resources for an unnecessary extended amount of time ties up other projects’ resources. As much as we wish they were, resources are not unlimited. Being able to assign available resources accurately encourages company growth.

Figuring out how to reorganize available resources can be a nightmare. Delegating a holistic view of available resources and company desires can prevent many problems. The right PPM tool can stop scheduling the wrong projects at the wrong time by assessing the needs of each project within the parameters of the company’s needs.

Projects, and any human endeavor, often go askew because of well-meaning but still inaccurate time estimation. The phenomenon is commonly referred to as “optimism bias.” The belief that things will work out for me better than others leads people to overestimate what they can produce and how quickly they can do it. This overestimation leads to costly delays, frustrated sponsors, and unhappy employees, as it did for Mr. Thomas.

Risk assessment is critical but must not be overestimated because resources will be left dangling and not used efficiently. Employees sitting on the sideline waiting for an assignment “just in case” something pops up could be valuable assets moving another project forward. On the other hand, if an organization is too cautious with its resources, that company doesn’t have the opportunity to grow.

Tracking each project, its requirements, and the available resources requires comprehensive documentation. Finding a project & portfolio management software can unpack projects into their essential deliverables and highlight the actual size of the work involved. The more complex a project is, the more likely it is that things will go wrong, even with the best planning. Having the right tools gives you an advantage over others who may not be as prepared.

Thomas Enterprise swung back and forth between overestimating what its employees could handle and not securing the correct projects to fill the occasional downtimes. The slightly inaccurate and separate records also meant that gaining a holistic understanding of the needs of each project was time-consuming, costing even more money.

The bottom line, the right tool can forecast the resources needed for upcoming projects. Thomas Enterprise would not have had to scramble to hire additional workers or delay projects with these tools.

Clarizen was designed with efficiency, clarity, and collaboration in mind. This intuitive interface offers a single, organized place where all employees can work. Clarizen provides visibility into which resources are allocated to which projects, increases communication between team members, and provides a central location to plan and coordinate each project.

Understanding Resources – Hey, There’s a Tool for That!

Accurate documentation is a critical component of a well-followed plan. If multiple projects are going on simultaneously, if different departments are working on the same project, or if a project has had many different sponsors, it can be easy for people and resources to get lost. Keeping individual records with lengthy spreadsheets is unmanageable and invites human errors, as the executives with Thomas Enterprise discovered. Walking through the paperwork requires regular quality checks–wasting time and money.

Thomas Enterprise kept comprehensive but separate files. Projects were not evaluated by priority or resources across the organization. A SaaS PPM software that can process all the data from each job, check for missing information, and create a centralized place for communication would help prevent errors and save time and money.

With a dedicated tool, mistakes are less likely to spread and cause problems down the line. Project management software can help coordinate communication between different projects and departments, which can help to reduce wasted time and resources.

The Trifecta of a Thriving Company

Picking the right PPM tool for a company’s portfolio of projects is the beginning, not the end, of finding a solution.

Without appropriate training and knowledge, sponsors and PPO teams are often left with more questions than answers.

Clarizen has a lot to offer, and with our guidance, an organization can learn to use all the features thoroughly and effectively. Our training and implementation techniques are molded to each company’s individual needs. The organization will have an accurate, real-time, transparent picture of its projects and resources, from delivery to forecasting projects and even managing resources.

Unfortunately, the executives at Thomas Enterprise did not follow the recommendations in time. They felt they had “more time” to decide how best to implement the advice. A few months after they met with the consultants and before they made any significant changes, the company was hit with a series of destructive projects and bad luck. The company became too overextended to recover.

CEOs and senior managers make complicated decisions that include a wide array of varying factors that will determine the viability of their companies. Clarizen can make those choices more manageable and more accurate. Schedule a free consultation to discuss utilizing resources more efficiently for your corporate growth.

At Kolme Group we care and want to help you get the best out of your PPM Tool. Join Kim Essendrup for a Free, 15-minute consult to discuss your
PPM Tool needs and best steps forward

Kim Essendrup AdministratorKeymaster
Partner

I help our customers because I’ve “been in their shoes,” and can share pragmatic advice about what works and what doesn’t in the world of Project & Portfolio management. I have 20+ years managing teams, projects, programs and PMO’s. I’m a certified PMP and PMI Registered Education Provider, and love to nerd out over PPM with my colleagues and clients.

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