The Most Effective Resource Management Strategies For Agile Teams
Learn how to make the most out of your organization's resources. Here are 3 tips to boost resource efficacy and help manage more effectively with agility.
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Resources come in every size and shape, from meeting rooms to developers, transit vehicles, and cranes. And, the importance of properly managing resources can be seen across every industry and profession. But, it’s not enough these days to simply meet capacity for projects because a good manager knows that it is instead vital to find the right combination of matching your resources' skills with the right tasks, resource availability, and proper utilization.
Not convinced? Well, according to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession, 21% of failed projects from the last 12 months were due to limited or taxed resources, while 26% of projects failed due to resource dependency. This means resources were not properly managed during the planning process.
Why Projects Fail
Credit: PMI's Pulse of the Profession 2018
So, while it’s obvious that resource management is crucial, it doesn’t always mean that all organizations place enough emphasis on the process. But, you really should!
Read on to find out how to create and implement a better management strategy for all your resources and some ways in which it can help your team be more agile in the process.
3 Strategies to (Better) Manage Your Resources
1. Get an Overview and See What You’re Working With
One simple strategy for more improving your resource management is to get an overview of the resources you have to work with. Just as captains plot their journey by studying maps and selecting the best routes, seeing everything you have to work with will get you where you want to go.
As a PM you need to be able to lay everything out on the figurative table because, when you look at the big picture, you not only see your available resources, but you can select the best available resources.
Tailor projects by matching the right skill sets to the right tasks. Or, if you are a bigger organization strewn across continents, building teams from resources in similar time zones or any other criteria that are important for you.
An overview will also give you a better understanding of upcoming commitments and potential bottlenecks. Looking ahead can help you spot other projects that might conflict with your current ones. Or, even see other happenings, such as planned company events or public holidays.
Once you can see everything that you have to work with and are able to plan around immovable commitments, then you can start forecasting more reliably, as well as make more accurate long-term plans, which your team will be better able to deliver on.
Agility does not equal a lack of planning. And, this can actually be countered even more with proper resource planning tools, which can provide an overview in a more dedicated context while also creating a space to see how changes play out.
2. Create a Stronger Team by Defining and Sharing Company Goals
Projects are objectives for your organization to accomplish and a way to structure how your resources will work. But, embarking on a new project without clear goals is like starting a joke without having the punchline ready. Neither are funny, and both are pretty pointless.
However, sitting down and building a strategy to define these goals, is not always enough. Your company can benefit from also articulating these objectives with the entire team. Not only does this help create an environment of trust, but it can foster more open communication and allow for more honest feedback about the achievability of the aims.
For example, plans to expand your markets in Singapore might not be of the utmost importance to your IT department in Dallas, Texas. But, keeping them in mind and communicating overall objectives can motivate them. Because, instead of only working on their specific tasks, they can see how their work complements and boosts everyone around them.
Being able to see how all the plans fit together can make your team feel less like incidental cogs and more like a factor in the success of your organization. This is proven by science.
Keeping everyone in the loop requires organization-wide transparency. Regularly recurring meetings where the higher-ups can outline their plans is one option. Or, schedule projects and their resources in a way that allows the whole team to see the bigger picture. For this, Gantt charts and Kanban boards can be a great illustrator of a company’s goals.
3. Optimize Resource Allocation
No office is complete without the ubiquitous motivational poster. From the classic kitten in the tree telling you to “hang in there” to the various iterations of “keep calm and carry on.” Motivational posters are like the original office memes, which simultaneously help liven up drab walls.
But, maybe their advice is actually more sinister...
Take, for example, the one that tells you to “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” While that certainly cheers up a bad situation, that’s not how it works in the project management world where not planning project capacity properly can result in everyone around you upset, stressed, and scrambling to fill in the gaps.
So, to mitigate those kinds of situations, make sure that you are monitoring your resources and learn to better optimize your resource allocation.
Engage in some resource management best practices, such as resource leveling or smoothing. And, reallocate resources from less busy teams to projects that have a closer deadline or teams with fewer helping hands. Also, be sure to keep an eye on resource utilization, and watch that no one is being over or underworked.
If you plan your capacity better from the get-go, it’ll be easier to smooth out problems that occur in the middle of the project. So, while it’s good to dream big, it’s even better to dream smart and to be prepared.
Strategy Is Nothing Without Results...
But, you also might not get the results you want without a strategy. These are just some of the basics that can be implemented now. With these little tweaks, you can help your agile team run more smoothly and ensure your projects don't become another statistic.
Published at DZone with permission of Amanda Haynes. See the original article here.
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