Monday, March 14, 2011
The Resource WAR
Project managers are often faced with limited resources and tight time frames. They are also on the hook for the project success or failure. This often means the covertly degrading of quality to slam in the project just to satisfy the deadlines. However, it is difficult for most project managers to articulate their needs for resources. Therefore, I have come up with an anagram for you to remember how to phrase the discussion to your sponsors to give them options for project deadlines.
If you have ever heard me speak, I often state that the best mindset for a project manager is the one that never says no. I say, "I can absolutely do that, here is what I need." I also teach to ask either/or questions instead of yes/no. So this brings me to the resource WAR:
W - WAIT - We can wait for the resources to become available.
A - AUGMENT or ACQUIRE - We can go hire consultants, a vendor, or get some contractors to do the work
R - REDIRECT - We can redirect the resources from another project to this one.
For every project that is resource constrained, those are your options. The key is to get the data for each of the options so that you can present it to the sponsor appropriately. For example:
W - Find out when the resources will be available. For this example, we will assume October of this year.
A - Find out the cost of the consultant or contractor.
R - Find out which projects the resources are working on.
Once you have the data, it is time to present what you have learned to the sponsor:
PM: Mr. or Ms. Sponsor, in order to deliver the timeframe that you have requested, I will need three more resources or the date could slide to December of this year.
Sponsor: December? We need this to be done by July!
PM: The resources that we need are not available until October. I did find out that we could bring in a consultant for $XX.
Sponsor: We do not have additional budget.
PM: What about diverting the resources from project XX to this one?
Sponsor: We can't stop that project.
PM: It seems our options are to wait until December, hire the consultant, or redirect the resources. What would you like to do?
That may seem over-simplistic, but in reality, what are the other options? Get ready for the resource WAR. Get the data and present it to your sponsors. Good luck out there!