Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Value of a Resource Loaded Schedule
Here is the next question in my continuing series of answering questions posed to me through the various webinars.
How do you get the senior members of the organization to realize the importance of a resource loaded schedule?
I think the only way to bring the visibility to the senior executives is to be consistent with all of the schedules and then roll them up to view a true view of capacity. For instance, say that you are running 4 projects right now. Make sure that all of your schedules are resource loaded and appropriate. If they are not setup appropriately, read some of my other blog posts or either of my books to learn how to setup the plans. Once the plans are setup, then you need to roll up an aggregate view of the demand for the resources. If you have Project Server, Clarity, or any of these types of Enterprise tools, then learn how to do it there. If you do not have any of those tools, then use the "Resource Usage" view of your project plan to look at a monthly view of the total demand hours in your plans and plot those in a spreadsheet. You will end up with a chart that will show how busy the resources really are. Now add their "Other Work" such as admin time and operational support time. This gives you the total view of the demand of the resources.
The DeliveryNow that you have all of the data, when an executive asks for a new project or to accelerate a different one, you present them with the options that they have in an assumptive manner. You could say, "We would be happy to take on this project, how would you like to handle it? Should we hire a consultant or are you alright with waiting until October?" Of course, the executives are going to want to know why they can't have it right now. This is where you present them the aggregated view of the resources. If your company is like most, then your resources are maxed out. When you show this data to the executives, they will try to pick it apart. This is when you show them the resource loaded schedule, essentially proving your data. During the entire encounter, you need to maintain a positive outlook that you are happy to do anything and are willing to, you just need a decision as to what direction to take. Force the tough decision back to the executive.
The AftermathIt takes a few times for this to work, but eventually the executives will begin to accept the data. It is up to you to keep the data updated and relevant. As a side note, if you use a resource loaded schedule to delay a project start date or extend a project end date, then you will have no problems ever getting estimates from those resources again! I have worked with many executives in this capacity. It most cases, he/she will start to see the data for themselves and will begin to make the decisions. Being on both sides of the issue, I have often seen project managers tell me that a date or objective is impossible. However, when I challenge them, there is no substance to back up the claim. Having resource loaded schedules and understanding their impact on resource capacity can help make incredible strides in organizations.
TipSeveral companies ask me regularly to help them balance capacity and demand. My greatest tip is to not try to do the whole company at once. Pick one division (maybe the PMO itself) and balance their capacity and demand as a pilot. This is a relatively low level of effort to begin to have some of the conversations. I have a blog post titled "What About My Capacity?" that gives you a quick formula to ascertain the capacity of a PMO. Once the data is collected and the value of the data is realized, then expand it to a larger group.
Hoping you are finding your life's passion,