A major element of any project management office (PMO) is managing resources. These resources come in many forms, with the most costly and unpredictable being your human resources, or workers.

It’s a constant challenge for a PMO to be on top of its resources at hand, so we’re going to explore the main principles of resource capacity management in a PMO. We’ll look at:

  • What resource capacity management should look like
  • How to effectively manage your resource capacity
  • Tools that can help increase your effectiveness

What should resource capacity management be delivering?

In a PMO you’ll have a certain amount of resources to allocate to the projects in your remit. The office will be in charge of business elements such as:

  • People
  • Hardware and software
  • Equipment
  • Sites and locations
  • Skills

With the people and, the work they complete, presenting the biggest planning challenge.

It is usually up to your project managers to request the resources they need to get their project delivered. There should always be sufficient resources, mainly people, to keep the project going at the right pace.

Getting it right should see a project delivered on time and on budget. Every resource at your disposal should be maximised for productivity and provide a solid return on investment – this is another good measure of accurate resource capacity management.

What are the principles of resource capacity management?

Your PMO is there to design processes and offer support to your project managers. Guiding them on how to allocate resources is key. The resource manager in your PMO should be in charge of making sure each project can accurately predict its resource requirement.

In you PMO you should understand these key points:

Where are your resources?

Having a headcount of the people working on projects, along with everything else that may be needed is important. Know where your people and skills are so that they can be monitored and redeployed if needed.

Are the right resources available?

Having the right people is as important as having enough of them. Be sure you know what skills you’ll need in the future and be ready for change.

Start training up software developers on new languages ahead of time.

Purchasing the right machinery or hardware before it’s needed will also help.

Is there spare capacity in your resources?

Working at 100 percent capacity can be a dangerous tactic, although profitable in the short run. Having extra working hours to deploy when a project falls behind, or the option to hire out extra delivery vehicles on the contract, should be built into your business continuity plan.

What resources controls do you have in place?

In terms of people, this could mean having effective HR policies regarding absences and also offering rewards and recognition to productive staff. Other controls on resources might be a robust purchasing system and bulk buying contracts.

What are the monthly cost differentials?

To begin to understand over-spend on people or other resources, you need to first identify what is an average monthly cost to run the projects in your office. As well as spotting discrepancies, this will give you a prediction of the overall resources needed.

How do I implement these principles in my PMO?

You may already have some of these principles laid down in your operating model. Do your due diligence and ensure that you’ve got all of these points addressed. You’ll be able to better plan your resource capacity when you know the details of what you have and where it’s up to.

Implementation will come down to:

  • Having an effective Resource Manager – this can be a challenging role at PMO level, with lots of variables to work with
  • Use the right tools – there are frameworks and software that are designed to help, don’t rely on legacy systems
  • Train your project managers – predicting the resources needed for a project is a skill that can be trained and it will be a worthwhile investment.

The take home

The principles of resource capacity management are important to instil into you PMO and across your projects. It will ensure a project is delivered on schedule and within its budget.

By paying mind these five principles, you should be able to get a handle on your resource planning and pass that knowledge down to your project managers.

Useful Resources

There are a number of tools and frameworks available within the PM Majik Members Area that can assist with designing and implementing a capacity planning and management process.

The PMO Template Framework includes a resource capacity and tracking module. The PMO Recruitment Framework provides the tools to plan, track and recruit the required resources for your project and change activity.

All resources are backed by a 30 day, 100% money back guarantee so you can try risk free.