by Robert Buttrick
The University of Southern California analysed 165 teams in a number of successful organisations to assess the effectiveness of team-work. Two reasons for teams failing to deliver were found:
- Project objectives were unclear.
- The right people were not working on the project at the right time.
In looking for solutions to these two issues, they found that using a ‘projects approach’ gave significant benefits in clarifying objectives. On the question of resources, they found that having visibility of available resources and obtaining commitment for the required resources was key. In other words, if you haven’t got the right people at the right time (numbers and skills) you can’t expect to complete your project. It’s all rather obvious, isn’t it?
As I suspect many of you know, obtaining resources and holding on to them can be very problematic, especially in functionally oriented organisations, where the balance of power is firmly held by line management. In these circumstances, resources are often committed to projects on the basis of good intention, rather than on good information. Consequently, they can be withdrawn by the owning department, at whim, if it believes that its own need is greater than that of the project. The result is that resource and skill shortages do not become apparent until they are a problem.
An effective method of resource allocation and commitment is needed, therefore, which meets three conditions:
- Condition 1 – you have a clear view of how resources are being consumed on a project by project basis.
- Condition 2 – you have visibility of the resources available, or soon to be available, within the forecasting horizon of your organisation.
- Condition 3 – commitment of resources should be based on clear information and forms the basis of an ‘agreement’ between the departments providing the resources and the projects consuming the resource.
Meeting these conditions will enable you to anticipate potential resource conflicts before they become a problem. How do you do that? Well, it all relies on how the governance for your organsation is designed, the project manager cannot normally solve this one
© Robert Buttrick