Sunday, September 20, 2015

How does a PM get resources for the project?

I know a certain Project Manager (PM) who we’ll refer to as “Bob.”

Bob meets with his manager and is told that he has a big new project that has to be staffed. When it comes to staffing a project, there may be three scenarios: 
1.) resources are given
2.) resources have to be requested
3.) resources that will fit into his project team
In each scenario, Bob has to review the project and find the right fit for the positions on the project. And, let’s not forget the “fit” on the project. Is the resource the right fit for this project, or in other words, will the resource work with the other resources?
Let’s take a look at how each scenario plays out.

The resources are given to Bob

Bob is given two resources for this project: a business analyst (BA) and a software engineer (SE). Bob suggests that he needs time to review the statement of work (SOW) for analysis. Bob’s manager gives him an hour because an introductory call with the client project sponsor along with the client user will take place in about 90 minutes. 
Immediately, Bob clears his calendar for the next 60 minutes. He studies the SOW closely and the specific tasks for this project. Bob has worked with the two resources before and Bob likes the choices. But Bob also sees a need for developer for a specific delivery, and neither has the skills for this specific delivery. So Bob’s first task before the call is to request another resource from his manager, stating the facts supporting the need for this resource. Seeing that need, the manager agrees, but states that this resource is not needed right away and can be assigned in a couple of weeks. Bob agrees and states that he will follow up with the manager in two weeks, because he has a specific resource in mind for this task.
The introductory call goes well and the project kickoff is set.

Bob has to request resources

Bob is told by his manager that he is responsible for reviewing the SOW and requesting the specific resources he wants on his project team. In addition, a client introductory call will be conducted tomorrow and all, if not most, of the resource requests must be made by then.
Bob cancels meetings that are not critical and begins studying the SOW. He knows he needs a BA and a SE, but he also sees a need for the delivery of a specific task in the middle of the project. Bob meets with the BA and SE team leads and requests specific resources for the BA and SE roles. Along with the SE role, Bob requests a specific developer that reports directly to the SE for the specific task scheduled for mid-project delivery. This is tricky because the SE lead has a need for that same resource during that timeframe for another project that has already started. Bob now has to negotiate with the other PM to see if the task that developer is needed on for the other project is a critical path item. Bob finds that it is not a critical path delivery and can be delayed for 3 weeks. Bob needs this developer for only 2 weeks and they strike a deal. Bob and the other PM must keep each other informed about the progress of the project and Bob must make this a risk on the risk and issue list.
Bob speaks to his manager before the introductory client call and shares his progress. They have the call and Bob mentions that there should be a kickoff scheduled as well as an identified risk before the project begins. Bob will take all steps to mitigate this risk and the introductory call goes well.

Resources that will fit into his project team

Bob is given three resources for the project and must have a team meeting immediately as an introductory call is scheduled for tomorrow. Bob reviews the SOW and the resources for the project (a BA, an SE, and a developer) and sees that all the resources have the necessary abilities to complete their tasks. Bob also notes that two of the resources don’t get along very well. Before he schedules a team meeting, Bob schedules time to meet individually with the resources that have an issue with each other. He states the same thing to both of them: he understands that they had issues in the past, but they are professionals and they have to put those issues aside for this project. Bob also mentions that he will have individual meetings with each of the three resources along with the project team meeting prior to the client status meetings. Bob knows that this is additional time and must make an adjustment to the time allotted to the project for this. Bob mentions this to his manager, who does not take this very well. Bob explains that this is necessary to avoid trouble on this project. Bob agrees to update the manager on the status of the project, as well as the status of the resources.


So as you can see, each situation has a specific need that Bob must address. PMs must be able to address each scenario for their sanity and ensure that these risks are documented and addressed.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Ideal treatment of each case. All too often, however, one does not have the ability to "clear the calendar" or put aside everything else to respond wisely and appropriately to difficult situations. Time and alternative staff are limited and we wind up referring back to some of your other advice for remedial action once the brown stuff hits the cooling device.