You'll run out of quality resources before you run out of investment funds. The Project Portfolio Management office must manage resources to maximise success

Threat # 2 - When the Project Portfolio Resource Management Process Is Disconnected From Project Portfolio Development & Management Processes 

In any organization of any size, there seem to be about 20 people that everyone wants on their project. These are usually the same people who are also deemed critical by operational management for their involvement in business as usual (BAU) operations.

Therefore, when developing your project portfolio, you’ll most likely run out of good resources before you run out of funds or projects to spend them on.

Why the portfolio resource management process is critical to the PPMO.

Many years ago, when we used to lecture senior executives on project success in a business school, we would give them an exercise that illustrated an important learning lesson:

The choice of resources for the project team was crucial to determining the result. If you put the ‘B’ or ‘C’ teams on a project - you’re likely to receive a ‘B’ or ‘C’ level result.

As your projects determine and deliver your organization’s future, you simply cannot afford ‘B’ or ‘C’ quality results.

The availability - or not - of key resources can be a major reason why a project is delayed, goes over time or fails.

Therefore planning the availability and allocation of key scarce resources needs to be a core part of the project portfolio development process. If there are not enough good resources to go around, then the portfolio must be constrained to the availability of quality resources presently available - in the organization or accessible externally. 

What the Project Portfolio Management Office needs to know
  • Who are the scarce or key resources
  • What is their criticality to BAU operational needs (i.e. just how time will they have available for projects)
  • What is their current or forecast workload and therefore their potential availability
  • What is the timing, duration and degree of their existing commitments to specific projects and programs
  • What is their utilization on their projects — are they being well utilized or can they be reallocated?

When you run out of good people to allocate to projects, you need to STOP and take stock of your options. Fewer projects? Access external resources? Back to the drawing board on the portfolio?

In Conclusion

There is no point allocating poor or poorly skilled people to projects and then expecting good results.

Resource planning, management and resource utilization measurement are critical processes for the success of the Project Portfolio Management Office.

It really is that simple.

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Topics: Strategic Project Portfolio Management


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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Jul 2015) as "Potential Threats To Project Portfolio Management Offices (2)"

Updated: Chapman, A. (March 2020), Revisions and Corrections