Feeling underwater lately? Depending on where you are in your project management lifecycle, you may have, or may be coming up to the situation when you won’t have the necessary resources to complete your project. All project managers will experience the curse of limited resources at some point in their career. The question: How to deal with this issue when it occurs?
There are plenty of good advices on the net to help prospective project managers cope with this scenario, however the seasoned professionals know that some of these advices are nothing but ‘feel good’ assurances that don’t help much at the time of need.
True, as Project Managers you should have a plan on the types of skilled resources necessary to accomplish the planned work. True, you should clearly submit resource requests well ahead and weekly updated management and the sponsor about the upcoming risks associated with the resource scarcity.
But let’s face it, it may be weeks before the requests are fulfilled, or before management recognizes the true impact on the project. By then it would be too late.
So what’s the best course of action? Glad you ask. Here are the top 5 recommendations on how to deal with lack of resources on your project:
- Do nothing – Yes, do nothing, but only if the lack of resources are impacting tasks not on your critical path. This strategy may seem controversial, but the reality is that non-critical path tasks will not impact your overall schedule (in most cases), so even if they lack resources, you will still complete your project on time and within budget.
- Sift available resources from less critical tasks to near critical tasks that lack resources, but only if each of these tasks is not on your critical path. This strategy pays off in the long run when near-critical tasks become critical path tasks.
- Shift all available resources from non-critical path tasks to tasks on your critical path (this is self explanatory)
- Start a PR campaign in front of your Sponsor’s office and do not leave until you have your resources, only if the impacted tasks are on your critical path. This strategy pays off when your sponsor is in town (if he/she is on vacation, or out of town, you have to get more creative). The goal here is to amplify awareness of the impact on your project. To accomplish this you need to show up every hour at the sponsor’s office with the same message. This will lift eyebrows and spike attention levels and sometimes that’s all it takes to get the ball rolling.
- Plan for this scenario to occur before your project starts – Allocate sufficient contingency plan to cover the possibility of lack of resources. In doing so, you won’t have to execute any of the strategies mentioned above.
Can you recommend other successful strategies?