Project resourcing, like project benefit management, is probably one of the most important aspects in order to make a project successful.
If you stop to think, the key component to making a project happen is the people. In fact, it is usual for most of the project costs to relate to resource costs. I have seen a number of projects deliver late, or even fail, because the resources have not been added quickly enough.
So given the importance, how can a PMO help in respect of resourcing?
Project Resource Planning
The PMO should give clear guidance about what level of planning is expected as a minimum in respect of resources. As part of the business case process, a project manager will usually develop a project plan. In order to work out costs, a project manager needs to think about what type of resources are required and, when they will be needed, so as to deliver the items listed on the project plan.
The PMO should provide a simple template that allows the project manager to capture details of the project resources required on a month by month basis. The resources can be captured under generic terms such as project manager, business analyst, tester, developer, etc. This will then provide a view of what resources are required each month.
The PMO should also provide resource resource rates as part of the planning and financial guidance. This will allow for the project manager to build up cost plans and ensure standardisation across all projects.
The PMO should review the resource plan and make sure that it makes sense in respect of the proposed project plan and cost plan. Look out for projects that have constructed a project plan based on adding a large amount of resources straight after the approval of the business case. In the vast majority of cases, this is unachievable and means the plan is not credible.
On a monthly basis (ideally more frequently during mobilisation), the PMO should ask the project to provide a progress update against resource plan i.e. resources hired, pending and vacant. This will then allow the PMO to track how well the project is doing against their hiring plan.
If a project is running under their resource plan, further questions can be asked on what is being impacted (if a project said it needed 10 resources by Feb but only has 5 then the project status should show slippage against schedule). If there is no slippage then it could be that the resource estimates were incorrect.
Having a good view on the progress of hiring against resource plan will allow the PMO to provide support. A good PMO will have built links with Human Resources (ideally in the form of a dedicated contact point) who can then work with each project to try to achieve the required resource plan.
It will also allow for an organisation to plan best use of cash by using the resource plans as inputs to cash flow forecasts.
Follow these simple concepts and it will improve the probability of adding the required resources so to enable successful delivery. It will also highlight your PMO as being very organised – very good for the career.