Never mind using this word ICU in the title of this article but I think human resources are the ones which need handle with care. Out of all types of resources in a projects human resources are the one which need attention, require affiliation, power, appraisal, these can make project manager feel like heaven and vice versa.
In my exposure to managing resources in projects, I feel that managing resources is an art and that comes from experience. Like managing a Project schedule needs knowledge about project milestones and deadlines; likewise resource management needs skills like people management and team management.
You can be good in creating human resource plan, staffing management plan, RACI matrix, Resource leveling but if you are not good at doing team motivation, team building skills and knowledge transfer within the team, then you are giving more heat to a dormant volcano.
While working with shared resources and distributed teams, the problem of resource shortage is common. The reasons for this shortage could be many, few of them are:
1) Teams are reporting to multiple people and tasks assigned to them by different people.
2) Teams working in different time zones
3) Uneven resource management
4) Ground rules for Teams are not defined
5) Resource calendars are not updated
Possible Solutions could be:
a) Create a single resource plan: A single resource plan for the available resources will make things more clear across all projects.
b) Manage Key resources: The key resources should be used for critical and major tasks only. These resources should guide the other resources and train the junior resources at regular intervals. Key resources should be aware of the risks associated with the project and should try to resolve the hurdles in the project progress.
c) Resource levelling: Project manager should make sure that work load is distributed among all the resources. If some of the resources are overloaded then he should make sure, that other resources can take the ownership to work on the available and in progress tasks. He should try to make his team cross functional.
d) Review Team performance: Generally teams performance is reviewed at the time of appraisal or at time of phase completion. I think that reviewing performance is an ongoing process and that should be done at regular intervals. Performance review of resources gives feedback on the skills on which resources are currently working. By performance review we can rate the skills of the resources and can use them accordingly on the projects.
e) Plan for the worst: While doing planning for a week, I plan some of the hours as risk management. So if some uncertain risks and known risks occur then we can finish the task accordingly. e.g. for a 8 hour planning for a day, plan 7 hours for project work and 1 hour for risk associated. Always plan your resources for the worst. You never know somebody will fell ill or server could crash etc.
f) Team building exercises: This is utmost important to raise the moral of your team. You can take more work from a machine but humans need some motivation, appraisal, power and affiliation to do the same.
g) Keep your people happy: know your team members and their needs. Remember that it is the team who will complete the project work.
Project Manager can drive the project but project team provides the energy which will propel the engine.
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Author: Manoj Sharma (All Rights Reserved by the author).
Source: Original text (based upon first hand knowledge).
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