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Taming Chaotic Project Management - Establish a Resource Management Process

Posted Dec 07 2009 9:48am
In Chaotic Environments it is clear to see that the talented committed resources are overwhelmed. Resources are just pulled to work on the priority of the hour, never mind the day. Projects are completed by individuals placing in beyond the 55 hour work week.

Once you decide to tame the chaotic project management dragon, you will quickly realize the need for three key management activities.

  1. A way to provision resources

  2. A management process for choosing, adding, and removing resource from projects

  3. A report which forecasts future resource requirements

Let's review a little bit more on a process for choosing, adding, and removing resources from projects. This process is commonly referred to as a Resource Management Process, and if you are in the business of taming chaotic project management environments, this is a good tool. However, be cautious in your deployment of this process technique, as those in control of the resources will display more than a bit of passive aggressive resistance.

The 4 key components of a resource management process is as follows:

  • Selection - Selecting and acquiring the right individual with the right skills and right temperament is getting right seat, on the right bus, at exactly the right time. This nirvana while a great goal, isn't always achieved. Haloing can be referred to as the perfect situation, and life doesn't often follow perfection. For some projects an individuals acceptance of risk and change, learning new things, while maintaining a positive attitude is key. For others an expertise in skil lset is needed letting the softer skills be lacking. Have a management process for selection that is based upon availability, hard and soft skills when selecting and acquiring resources, with definite transparent commitment from the pm and manager of the resource for utilization. For Project Managers new to the field, a checklist of questions can help determine which resources are needed from which teams.

  • On boarding - Bringing resource on board takes a bit of time, so having a good on boarding process is key. After all, there aren't that many Healthcare IT project managers in the world now-a-days, but there are a lot of individuals who understand the project management art just not how to walk a physician, nurse, and pharmacist through a work planning session. A couple of techniques I've used to give the resource the history of the project to date, ask for suggestions or agreement with the tactics taken. Set clear expectations in the role, if there is to be travel, state it upfront. Additionally clarify any team behaviors or protocols to be followed. Having a rules of engagement maybe useful for larger projects.

  • Performance Management - Growing individuals is one of the project managers best roles, position the project to grow the individual. Provide training where necessary, have a direct tie-in to the individual's overall performance review, and have a subject matter expert the individual can ask if problems occur. It is good to have an established process to grow you staff's expertise.

  • Transition/Release - Finally it is good to clarify upfront, how to transition and release resource from all projects. There will need to be a knowledge transfer from the exiting project resource to the newly on-boarded one. Documentation should be reviewed, along with the incremental lessons learned as the project is going through execution.
  • The Takeaway Point

    Establishing a resource management process streamlines and clarifies how to select new resource, leap frog the up to speed curve with on boarding, establish a way to grow, manage and reward performance, and finally transition colleagues from the project.

    Further Readings on Taming Chaotic Project Management:

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