I would imagine, as a customer always wanting the "best" resources, that internal (at the PSO) collisions for top talent are a frequent occurrence. How is that typically handled?
In a PMO
A Project Management Office (PMO) should be structured in such a way that the next available resources that have the necessary technical abilities will be chosen for the project. This does not mean that a project sponsor or end-user cannot request a specific project resource(s) for their project. This does happen, but depending on the strength of the management of the PMO, this request may be denied. As much as this is a compliment to the specific resource(s), it diminishes the charter of the PMO. It must be explained that the reason why a PMO is there in the first place is to staff the approved and funded projects for the organization with the available resources that have the technical ability necessary to complete the project.
In a PSO
So, as my colleague asked, how often does a request for a specific resource(s) happen and how is it handled? In a Professional Service Organization (PSO), the first thing we must admit is that this “problem” exists. First, a PSO has a good problem when the client employing their services requests a specific resource or resources, and this happens more often than we like to admit. This means not only that the resources are doing their job very well, but also that clients recognize this.
Now, after all the accolades, we must resolve this conflict. There are multiple ways to handle this; let’s go over a few:
· Can the PSO start a project if another project is on hold?
If the project that the requested resource is currently on is in holding pattern for whatever reason, that presents an opportunity for that resource to begin the project of the newly requesting client. Now, the project manager (PM) has a balancing act to perform. The PM must be able to convince the current client that nothing will slip if the resource goes off project and then comes back. The proof is the execution of that promise.
· Can the current project share resources with a new one starting up?
Depending on the type of project, sharing resources must be an option to be discussed. If the current project cannot support full-time resources, then it is obvious that the requested resource can, and most times will be used as a shared resource. This is what happens most times anyway and must be shared with the current client as soon as the project begins. In other words, the PM must be transparent about the project’s resources. If this is a surprise to the current client, then the PM must set their expectations straight.
· Can you switch resources on the current project?
This depends on the depth of the PSO’s bench. If the current project has just started or is about to close, then the requested resource can often be pulled from the current project and sent to the new or requesting client. Once again, the PM must be transparent and explain this switch with the management of the client that has the current project and with the project team. This is the least desirable choice because it may leave a bad taste in the mouth of the current project. However, this becomes a choice if there are no other options and the requesting client has an immediate need.
There is one other option that I haven’t mentioned and that is to say no to the requesting client. Now if the requesting client is insistent about the requested resource(s), then the start of their project may be delayed until the resource is available.I am open to discussion at any time on these blogs or anything else related to project management you would like to explore. If you would like to comment about this blog, please do so by posting on this blog or by responding in an email at Benny A. Recine.You may inspire a blog article. I look forward to your comments.