In our most recent ebook, The Definitive Guide to Resource Management, we have introduced a new, end-to-end framework for dealing with the complexities of resource management that are faced by services organizations today.
This framework is aptly titled The Resource Management Lifecycle and addresses tactics to optimize resource allocation throughout the entirety of the project’s lifespan. This blog will introduce the basics of the Resource Management Lifecycle and will discuss the reasons why a new, iterative, and agile method is a requirement, not an option, in our current Service Level Economy.
Why Do We Need the Resource Management Lifecycle?
Your bottom line relies on getting the available resources, with the right capabilities, on the right assignments, at the right margins. Unfortunately, current resource management practices only address a small portion of the project delivery lifecycle, and don’t consider the constant change experienced as your business grows. The Resource Management Lifecycle addresses resource complexities at every point of the project and provides ample time for change or optimization when necessary.
What Are the Phases of the Resource Management Lifecycle?
In the Resource Management Lifecycle there are five phases that mirror the project delivery lifecycle from inception to analysis: Estimate, Plan, Execute, Analyze and Optimize.
1. The Estimate Phase
The Resource Management Lifecycle begins with the Estimate Phase and is dedicated to setting your project up for success. Estimation occurs prior to the start of a project and is intended to ensure that the project is proposed to an organization or team. It is the time to figure out what resources will be necessary for the project to be successful and what the appropriate fees are to ensure profitability, as well as signoff by the client. Once the requirements for the project are communicated, you can begin to estimate the types and amount of roles required for a given project.
2. The Plan Phase
The Plan Phase is when you define how to fill your resource demand by booking your resources to high-level projects. At this time in the resource management process, a project is close to being won or for other reasons needs to be taken into account as part of the constraints on your resource pool. In this phase, the project is almost a “go,” but the phases, milestones, and resource demands are still in limbo.
3. The Execute Phase
The Execute Phase begins the moment that the project is won, the resources are scheduled, and a project plan is set into motion. 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.
4. The Analyze Phase
The Analyze Phase is the using insights, data, and understand the success, utilization rates, and profitability of a project or client. This phase has been historically ignored due to the lack of data surrounding project success. That is, projects would be completed, but managers would fail to recognize if they were actually profitable or if resources could have been allocated differently to improve project performance. In order to analyze the success of your resource plans and tactics, you must first recognize how to measure success.
5. The Optimize Phase
The Optimize Phase allows an organization to respond to changes in real-time, and streamline techniques in order to curb costs and satisfy clients. This moment of reflection allows managers to view performance, compare metrics, and make real-time decisions based upon data. For example, after reviewing the project data, you may decide to adjust the hiring process, bill rates, or resource allocations. Always take time post-project to reflect on any issues to prevent them in the future. Consider sending the client a post-project survey to see how they would rate your performance.
How is the Resource Management Lifecycle Unique?
1. The Ability to Optimize Resources
To start, the Lifecycle model begins before the project has even been won and continues infinitely after project closure. After each phase there is an evaluation step designed to inform both the previous and next phase in the process. Furthermore, the last phase of the process, Optimization, is a feedback loop that will help inform improvements to the first phase, Estimation. By treating resource management as an iterative cycle, you can prepare for conflicts and proactively make changes to your project, your team, and your plan to better execute and increase profitability.
2. Addressing The Service Level Economy
The purpose of this guide is to present what we believe is a new resource management model for many services companies, answering the growing concerns and complexities that surround the process today. We feel as if the current practices do not address the complexities of the Service Level Economy, and many firms will be left behind if they continue these retired business practices.
3. Creating Order Within Chaos
The most important quality of the Resource Management Lifecycle is that it helps to create order within the chaos. Stepping back there are a lot of moving parts, but each phase encapsulates only a few key items to consider. This makes the model simple to apply and adhere to.
4. Great Return on Investment
There is an additional component to Resource Management that helps to determine long term strategic needs; for example what types of resources will you need a year from now, how many resources will you need based on expected client demand, etc. Additionally, the Resource Management Lifecycle can provide immediate returns for an organization, while long-term strategic planning only offer future benefits. Both are critical, and you need to get the short-term resource planning under control so you can move towards long-term strategy.