We’ve all heard this proverb and applied it to various contexts, but have you considered how it might relate to project management?
Irrespective of the size and complexity of the project, most managers would agree that the most critical limitation, the weakest link in a project, is the resource constraint.
These include skill gaps, resource shortages, unavailability of niche-skilled resources, unplanned absence or attrition, burnout, and more. If not managed well, this will negatively impact the project resulting in delays or failure.
Therefore, it is critical to identify and address these resource constraints strategically and create a plan for mitigation and control. Furthermore, it will ensure successful project completion and delivery.
This blog discusses various strategies to avoid resource constraints in project management and how Saviom’s advanced resource management software can help.
But first, let’s begin with the basics
Resource constraints and what causes them?
Resource constraints are limitations or risks associated with resources that negatively impact projects and the organization. Identifying them is an essential aspect of resource planning activity to avoid project derailment and ensure timely execution.
Poor project resource planning, lack of timely forecasting, and capacity planning can all lead to resource constraints. As a result, managers cannot predict future project requirements and are unprepared to bridge the capacity gap. This could lead to economic uncertainty, increased overhead costs, and a general decline in project value.
Now that we’ve established that, let’s look at how organizations can avoid project resource constraints.
Strategies to combat resource constraints in projects
Resource constraints can negatively impact the project’s progress and profitability. Therefore, it is necessary to implement specific strategies to offset the challenges of resource constraints.
Maintain a balanced resource mix
In the absence of resource forecasting, resource managers resort to last-minute hiring, thereby unnecessarily escalating overhead costs. To avoid this, managers can forecast the resource requirements for pipeline projects and hire and maintain a balanced mix of contingent and permanent staff depending on the project demand.
If the resource requirement is short-term, they can recruit a contingent or temporary workforce to meet the demands. However, if the vacant position is critical in the long run, they can acquire a permanent resource instead. They can also engage a cost-effective global resource from a low-cost location to keep resourcing costs under control.
Implement out-rotation and backfill strategies
The unavailability of niche skilled critical resources can affect project quality. Furthermore, resources being booked beyond their capacity can lead to overutilization, staff burnout, and disengagement. To prevent this constraint, managers must implement an out-rotation and backfill strategy.
They can look into the ongoing projects where the critical resource is being utilized and check if the project is in a position to move forward without the critical resource. In this case, the relevant critical resource can be out-rotated from the existing project and reallocated to a new one. Simultaneously, as a part of the backfill strategy, an appropriate resource is assigned to the existing project so that the project’s progress doesn’t suffer.
Apply resource optimization techniques
Organizations can leverage resource optimization techniques to align project implementation and completion dates with resource utilization and availability. It can be accomplished by using resource leveling or smoothing to optimize resource schedules, counter burnout issues and overcome imbalances in resource allocation.
For instance, managers can implement resource leveling to adjust the start and end dates of flexible projects and balance the workload of resources. In the case of projects with fixed timelines, managers can redistribute the workload or add additional resources. This will assist organizations in completing high-priority projects first, preventing resource overutilization and increasing productivity.
Facilitate upskilling programs and shadowing opportunities
The growing skill gap is a critical resource constraint in an organization that drastically affects project management. While hiring skilled resources can be an option, a lack of proper planning can result in the last-minute hiring of a high-cost resource, causing project delays and budget overruns.
As a result, managers must examine the resource pool to determine whether the available resources possess the appropriate skill set. They can initiate upskilling programs in advance if there is a skill mismatch or partial alignment. They can also provide on-the-job training or shadowing opportunities to help their staff broaden their skill sets.
Ensure effective bench management
When major tasks or projects are completed, numerous resources are released from projects leading to increased bench size. In this case, the organization cannot capitalize on the talent of its resources, resulting in a financial loss. Therefore, effective bench management is crucial for employee engagement and preventing the loss of talent and project financials.
Managers can use forecasting techniques to predict when a resource will hit the bench and allocate these resources to upcoming projects well in advance. They can also provide training and upskilling opportunities for these resources to maximize their utilization and improve billability.
Create succession planning for critical resources
When a critical resource leaves an organization, the organization experiences a significant setback regarding skills and expertise. This can pause critical projects, adversely affecting the company’s profitability. Therefore, an organization must be prepared at all times, and to do so, a suitable backup plan must be in place.
Managers can begin succession planning by identifying and preparing people from within the workforce to perform critical functions. They can also implement necessary training and upskilling programs. This helps cultivate a new generation of leaders and ensures that critical resources’ abrupt sudden absence or resignation does not negatively impact projects.
Now let’s see how modern resource management software helps you overcome these constraints.
How can futuristic resource management tool help?
Saviom’s resource management software offers 360-degree visibility of all resources within the enterprise. This enables managers to examine resource profiles and their critical attributes such as competencies, skills, cost rate, etc.
The tool’s resource forecasting feature helps identify shortages ahead of time and enables managers to take appropriate measures and bridge the demand vs. capacity gap. In addition, it helps them eliminate future resource constraints and streamline resource allocation.
Using utilization reports, managers can identify any over or under-utilization of critical resources and optimize the workload. The bench reports also help predict when a resource will hit the bench. Accordingly, managers can schedule them for future projects and reduce the bench time of resources between projects.
Additionally, the tool also allows resources to apply for leave in advance, enabling managers to formulate a backup plan and find a substitute for the employees on leave.
Resource managers can also perform scenario-based modeling and simulation techniques (what-if analysis) to identify the best possible outcome within the given resource constraints. Accordingly, the resource manager can form the right resource mixes before applying them to the actual resource plan.
All these features of the resource management tool facilitate efficient management of resource constraints.
Resource limitations or constraints are detrimental to projects, causing them to stall or fail. Therefore, it is essential to recognize and mitigate these constraints ahead of time. When coupled with advanced resource management software, the abovementioned techniques can help managers eradicate these resource constraints before they impede project progress and yield better project outcomes.,
So, what strategies do you implement to combat resource constraints?