What does resource planning really mean?
Senior executives and PMO Managers will be very familiar with the traditional view of delivery resource planning, consisting of the following activities:
- Planning the activities required for successful completion of a project
- Identifying the capabilities and capacity required for successful completion of a project
- Allocating resources (and sourcing new resources) for successful completion of a project
- Adjusting resource capacity as required through delivery, safeguarding project success
In relatively small or self-contained projects this approach to resource management is usually sufficient. However in large projects and programmes, often with a multi-year duration, PM-Partners’ experience is that other activities are essential. This experience is supported by evidence from Health Checks and Post Implementation Reviews undertaken by us across a range of industries.
Change is a constant within projects and programmes. However this change is not always acknowledged or managed up front. People are promoted, key roles (e.g. Sponsors, Business Owners and Programme Managers) are replaced or modified, and people take extended leave or resign. Some of these changes can introduce a high level or delivery risk, and may compromise achievability of business benefits.
What can be done to manage this?
Including resource planning as part of risk identification and mitigation is the first step. This will ensure key resources are identified, and appropriate measures taken to retain those resources (or, where this is not possible, to adjust and manage through).
A key tool in risk mitigation is a resource succession plan. Thinking about succession plans for key roles prior to any unforseen changes can ensure that resourcing is considered holistically and that impact on overall delivery is minimised.
Some key questions to consider:
- Who are your key resources?
- What are your risks around key resources, and more generally, resource capacity and capability?
- What can be proactively done to manage these risks?
- What transition and succession plans have been documented, in order to manage resource change?
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