Optimise the use of people and resources

One of the benefits of portfolio and programme management is the ability to optimise the use of people and resources. What applies here can also apply to any organisation to some extent. Optimising the use of resources is always easier if a systems rather than a silo approach is taken to resource management.

Some tips on implementing and optimising people and resource management

1: Have a common standard across the organisation for workload forecasting.
2: Get a good understanding for the demand on individuals time.
3: Where it is financially viable buffer the resources and people
4: Understand the supply of resources, people and skills, and what the constraints are.

Schedule projects based on people constraints for optimal results

A common scenario I come across is that managers believe that if all their resources are fully occupied, then they must be on track to optimising the delivery of outputs. This is a valid approach if all the resources are delivering outputs that can be used without too much reworking later. The trick is to focus on the right areas. Focusing on keeping every one fully engaged is often the wrong area of focus. Focus on doing the work in the right sequence may not keep everyone fully engaged but it will result in improved delivery

From a business perspective you want to focus on keeping the constrained resources 100% productive.

Resource management needs planning from two perspectives capacity planning for the long term and resource planning for the immediate period of operations.

Capacity planning

The focus of capacity planning is to understand what capacity the organisation has to manage current work streams/projects and new work streams or projects, this exercise is done on a monthly basis. The capacity planning exercise can be used to identify constrained resources and manage the constraint. Resource constraints can be managed from several perspectives:
1. Increasing the constraint capacity
2. Scheduling projects and keeping the current constraint at 100% for a period of time
3. Reducing the inflow of new jobs reliant on the constraint

Resource planning

The focus of resource planning is to ensure resources are used to maximise the throughput of value for your organisation. This planning can be done on a weekly basis and fine-tuned on a daily basis
In its simplest form value can be defined as achieving the objectives of an individual project. From the company perspective value should be defined as achieving the objectives of the company. This means that some projects may be held back while others are given preference on constrained resources.