The Execute Phase of The Resource Management Lifecycle begins the moment that the project is won, the resources are scheduled, and a project plan is set into motion.
What is the Execute Phase?
The details of the project are now being perfected by the project manager—the work breakdown structure, subtasks, and task timelines. Resources are assigned at the activity level and the resource manager is now dedicated to keeping a close eye on performance and timelines.
During the Execute Phase, the project manager and resource manager must communicate in order to understand if the resource hours allocated are actually being used. If too many, or too few hours are allocated to a project, resources are not being used optimally. You can keep an eye on how actuals are tracking against the hard allocations and determine if changes are necessary to get the project back on track.
Additionally, having resources estimated and planned prior to the Execution Phase makes it possible for organizations to properly track time and manage weekly or daily schedules after kickoff. Instead of last minute assignments, get ahead of the game so you can manage your resources against your well-thought-out plan once the project takes off. Tracking time and keeping weekly schedules allows resource managers to take a closer look at performance and utilization metrics while the project is still in progress.
Information Required in the Execute Phase:
1. Keep note of all resources hard allocated to the project.
Have contact information readily available throughout the entire project lifecycle.
2. All project details must be shared by the project manager.
Scope, issues, complexities or potential roadblocks should be anticipated.
3. Have a skills list or library accessible.
Note the skill levels of your resources and determine the optimal way to arrange your people across the project.
4. Label your most important KPIs and track throughout project.
Step-by-Step Guide to the Execute Phase
1. Launch the project and begin your work.
All scheduled resources start their assignments.
2. Track resource performance as the project gets underway.
Move around misallocated resources to enhance utilization or chance of project success.
3. Have each resource track his or her time spent working on the project.
This way, you can have a greater understanding of the actual hours required to complete a project. This is key to understanding utilization rates and seeing how the actual work compares to the client agreement.
4. Keep weekly schedules for each resource.
This is to ensure the most up-to-date project demands are in sync with resource supply. Check in weekly to ensure performance levels are high and resources have the tools they need to get the job done.
5. Establish a list of resource backups.
Just in case of conflicts along the project lifecycle.
Potential Roadblocks & Challenges
1. Last minute changes in project scope.
Timelines, expectations, or resource demand will occur and inevitably disrupt the project momentum.
2. Resources on multiple projects.
Conflicts may occur when you are working with multiple resources on different parts of a project. Many times a stall from one project bleeds over to affect a number of others.
3. Complications with time tracking.
Time tracking time may seem like a minor matter but it is the only true way to understand the utilization of your resources. In order to track utilization, you must track the actual hours worked on a project based on data and not assumptions.
4. Lack of visibility into resources.
After you plan a resource, you may have little visibility into how that resource is working out relative to the plan (i.e. someone could be done working and ready to move onto the next job).
Tips for the Execute Phase
1. Hold weekly resource check-ins with the project team.
In order to keep up with the performance of your resources, maintain a weekly meeting or stand-up to check in on timelines, statuses, and pending conflicts.
2. Dedicated RM & PM sync.
Project and resource managers need to be in constant communication. Generally, project managers are sharing what is “on the ground” and resource managers are sharing what is “on the horizon.”
3. Keep track of utilization rates.
Take note of what resources are being under or over utilized. Move people around if necessary.
4. Create a time tracking process.
Create a procedure for time tracking, time submission, and time approvals.
5. One communication channel.
Agree on one channel of communication so that project or resource changes don’t get lost in email.