5 Impacts the PM Evolution has on Resource Management

Rachel Hentges

Expert uncovers shocking truths about Resource Management in high-performing companies

Project management guru Andy Jordan recently shared some of his insights about why portfolio and project managers must change with the times, focusing especially on the most impactful resource management skills in hyper-competitive, highly-adaptive environments.

Jordan describes a sea change from the “triple constraint” mindset of delivering on time, on scope, and on budget to delivering against business benefits. Project outcomes are now based on very different expectations. When project teams deliver a product or a service; an efficiency or a system, they are also expected to improve business effectiveness as a whole through these deliverables. Thrilling customers, beating competitors – what those will look like in each industry change quickly, as Jordan asserts. This why adjusting and evolving for customers and for the markets means resource planning demands more flexibly throughout the project lifecycle.

What does that mean for resource management professionals right now? Here are five areas where your resource management practices must evolve to meet the challenges your enterprise is facing:

  1. More autonomous decision-making: Project managers now have the ability to authorize and approve portfolio changes themselves and become change drivers. This impacts resource capacity planning by requiring a whole new set of skills and accountabilities for resource pools.
  2. Increased business focus: Once the benefit-driven PMO team gains resource management transparency, they will be able to allocate resources to only the most strategic efforts. They must create resource capacity plans that are inherently more valuable to the business, not just to the “triple constraints” mentioned above.  Templated project intake and intelligent, built-in governance practices help. In addition, stage-gate decisions for resource management must have easily assigned go/no-go value to work in the more adaptive environments that most readily support strategic, business change.
  3. Less RM team stability: People within project teams will become even more specialized and their deployment will be more targeted. RM leaders will not assign these resources to a project for the entire duration of that project, but only for the period of time that that specific skill is needed. What’s more, a software engineer or business analyst slot might not be fulfilled by the same person during the same project so resource use becomes more adaptive and less rigid.
  4. Rising numbers of smaller projects: Resource managers will have to become adaptive planning experts based on the proliferation of smaller, agile projects. They will not plan a year's worth of projects and then forget about them. Resource management for smaller time horizons is very different than a command-control approach with set-in-stone timeframes so RM teams need to adjust accordingly.
  5. Project communications from project teams: There has already been a shift from a directive to a collaborative communications approach. As we’ve seen, this requires resource management professionals to continue to evolve as adaptive and evolutionary planners. They work well in times of fluctuating demand and manage their resources (or hire those who can) to communicate well, and accurately, in real-time, from the front lines.

A few weeks ago, Jordan reported within an ad hoc survey that changes in resource management have been keenly felt in our industries, among project and resource management colleagues worldwide. In fact, almost 25% of these hardworking people reported that resource management problems are “keeping them up at night” with almost 75% reporting “it’s okay but we have too many projects or resources” or “we need help.”  

If this sounds like you, learn more from Jordan about what you can do to help your organization change resource management practices. Join your colleagues by viewing the KeyedIn Projects on-demand webinar: It’s Resource Management But Not As We Know It.

About Andy Jordan: Andy Jordan, PMP is the founder and president of Roffensian Consulting. Andy is a seasoned business professional with experience in many industries on two continents. After a career managing high profile, business-critical projects for many organizations, Andy moved into leadership of project management offices and built a reputation for building, rescuing and improving this key function. His approach of tailoring processes to the style and ability of the organization and focusing on the development of project staff, rather than the shortsighted approach of meeting project deliverables at all costs, has repeatedly shown dramatic results.