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Balance Supply and Demand with Realistic Resource Management Practices

Create capacity forecasts that you can stand behind.

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Contributors

  • Trevor Bramwell, ICT Project Manager, Viridor Waste Management
  • John Hansknecht, Director of Technology, University of Detroit Jesuit High School & Academy
  • Brian Lasby, Project Manager, Toronto Catholic District School Board
  • Jean Charles Parise, CIO & DSO, Office of the Auditor General of Canada
  • Darren Schell, Associate Executive Director of IT Services, University of Lethbridge

Your Challenge

  • As CIO, you oversee a department that lacks the resource capacity to adequately meet organizational demand for new projects and services.
  • More projects are approved by the steering committee (or equivalent) than your department realistically has the capacity for, and you and your staff have little recourse to push back. If you have a PMO – and that PMO is one of the few that provides usable resource capacity projections – that information is rarely used to make strategic approval and prioritization decisions.
  • As a result, project quality and timelines suffer, and service delivery lags. Your staff are overallocated, but you lack statistical evidence because of incomplete estimates, allocations, and very little accurate data.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • IT’s capacity for new project work is largely overestimated. Much of IT’s time is lost to tasks that go unregulated and untracked (e.g. operations and support work, break-fixes and other reactive work) before project work is ever approved. When projects are approved, it is done so with little insight or concern for IT’s capacity to realistically complete that work.
  • The shift to matrix work structures has strained traditional methods of time tracking. Day-to-day demand is chaotic, and staff are pulled in multiple directions by numerous people. As fast-paced, rapidly changing, interruption-driven environments become the new normal, distractions and inefficiencies interfere with productive project work and usable capacity data.
  • The executive team approves too many projects, but it is not held to account for this malinvestment of time. Instead, it’s up to individual workers to sink or swim, as they attempt to reconcile, day after day, seemingly infinite organizational demand for new services and projects with their finite supply of working hours.

Impact and Result

  • Instill a culture of capacity awareness. For years, the project portfolio management (PPM) industry has helped IT departments report on demand and usage, but has largely failed to make capacity part of the conversation. This research helps inject capacity awareness into project and service portfolio planning, enabling IT to get proactive about constraints before overallocation spirals, and project and service delivery suffers.
  • Build a sustainable process. Efforts to improve resource management often falter when you try to get too granular too quickly. Info-Tech’s approach starts at a high level, ensuring that capacity data is accurate and usable, and that IT’s process discipline is mature enough to maintain the data, before drilling down into greater levels of precision.
  • Establish a capacity book of record. You will ultimately need a tool to help provide ongoing resource visibility. Follow the advice in this blueprint to help with your tool selection, and ensure you meet the reporting needs of both your team and executives.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should develop a resource management strategy, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Take stock of organizational supply and demand

Set the right resource management approach for your team and create a realistic estimate of your resource supply and organizational demand.

2. Design a realistic resource management process

Build a resource management process to ensure data accuracy and sustainability, and make the best tool selection to support your processes.

3. Implement sustainable resource management practices

Develop a plan to pilot your resource management processes to achieve maximum adoption, and anticipate challenges that could inhibit you from keeping supply and demand continually balanced.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a nine call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Take stock of organizational supply and demand

Call #1 - Assess how accountability for resource management is currently distributed.
Call #2 - Create a realistic estimate of project capacity.
Call #3 - Map all sources of demand on resources at a high level.

Guided Implementation #2 - Design a realistic resource management process

Call #1 - Set your seven dimensions of resource management.
Call #2 - Jump-start spreadsheet-based resource management with Portfolio Manager Lite.
Call #3 - Build on the workflow to determine how data will be collected and who will support the process.

Guided Implementation #3 - Implement sustainable resource management practices

Call #1 - Define the scope of a pilot and determine logistics.
Call #2 - Finalize resource management roles and responsibilities.
Call #3 - Brainstorm and plan for potential resistance to change, objections, and fatigue from stakeholders.

Onsite Workshop

Discuss This Workshop

Book Your Workshop

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Take Stock of Organizational Supply and Demand

The Purpose

  • Obtain a high-level view of current resource management practices.
  • Identify current and target states of resource management maturity.
  • Perform an in-depth time-tracking audit and gain insight into how time is spent on project versus non-project work to calculate realized capacity.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Assess current distribution of accountabilities in resource management.
  • Delve into your current problems to uncover root causes.
  • Validate capacity and demand estimations with a time-tracking survey.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Perform a root-cause analysis of resourcing challenges facing the organization.

  • Root-cause analysis
1.2

Create a realistic estimate of project capacity.

  • Tab 2 of the Resource Management Supply-Demand Calculator, the Time Audit Workbook, and survey templates
1.3

Map all sources of demand on resources at a high level.

  • Tabs 3 and 4 of the Resource Management Supply-Demand Calculator
1.4

Validate your supply and demand assumptions by directly surveying your resources.

  • Complete the Time Audit Workbook

Module 2: Design a Realistic Resource Management Process

The Purpose

  • Construct a resource management strategy that aligns with your team’s process maturity levels.
  • Determine the resource management tool that will best support your processes.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Identify the ideal dimensions to move forward with for the resource management project.
  • A tool selection that is appropriate for your processes and that your team will be able to support.
  • Determine a realistic amount of time and effort to dedicate toward maintaining the strategy.
  • Activities

    Outputs

    2.1

    Action the decision points in Info-Tech’s seven dimensions of resource management.

    • A wireframe for a right-sized resource management strategy
    2.2

    Review resource management tool options, and depending on your selection, prepare a vendor demo script or review and set up Info-Tech’s Portfolio Manager Lite.

    • A vendor demo script or Info-Tech’s Portfolio Manager Lite.
    2.3

    Customize a workflow and process steps within the bounds of your seven dimensions and informed by your tool selection.

    • A customized resource management process and Resource Management Playbook.

    Module 3: Implement Sustainable Resource Management Practices

    The Purpose

    • Develop a plan to pilot your new processes to test whether you have chosen the right dimensions for maintaining resource data.
    • Develop a communication plan to guide you through the implementation of the strategy and manage any resistance you may encounter.

    Key Benefits Achieved

    • Identify and address improvements before officially instituting the new resource management strategy.
    • Identify the other factors that affect resource productivity.
    • Implement a completed resource management solution.

    Activities

    Outputs

    3.1

    Develop a pilot plan.

    • Process Pilot Plan Template
    3.2

    Perform a resource management start/stop/continue exercise.

    • A refined resource management process informed by feedback and lessons learned
    3.3

    Develop plans to mitigate executive stakeholder, team, and structural factors that could inhibit your implementation.

    • Stakeholder management plan
    3.4

    Finalize the playbook and customize a presentation to help explain your new processes to the organization.

    • Resource Management Communications Template