PMO Mini-Masterclass: Resource Management

The PMO Mini-Masterclass on Resource Management and the PMO was all about taking the time to start the conversations and learning specifically around the challenges PMO face in their role in resource management.

The full presentation

Presentation-ScreenshotThe presentation was carried out by Paul Major of Program Framework

The aim of the session was to start those discussions on what challenges does the PMO actually face in resource management; what are some of the aspirations for the PMO and its role in resource management and an overview of what those roles are.

The session also includes a quick demo of a new tool called Tempus Resource – it’s been getting rave reviews from others working in the PMO (if you want to see that take a look here)

>>Click to download the presentation

The video


There were other things covered in the session including the surveys and the flipcharts.

What are your biggest challenges you face with resource management?

Paul used a tool called which not only allowed us to share what our current challenges were but I think a lot of people liked the tool as well (another one for the PMO toolbox me thinks!)

There is a link directly to the survey results inside the presentation.

Here’s what it looks like:



The full list of challenges included:

  1. Knowing what resources are available, when and for what
  2. Don’t know what resources we have
  3. Right level of Management Information to give
  4. Staff shortages
  5. Time required for ‘day job’
  6. Clear priorities
  7. Modelling
  8. Utilization of resources
  9. Gaining buy-in (to do effective resource management?)
  10. Allocating resources to projects
  11. Deciding what role the PMO has in managing resources
  12. Getting the right resource at the right time
  13. Not enough resources
  14. Inaccurate time estimates
  15. Our processes need to be more efficient
  16. Delivery of projects doesn’t include tasks like tours
  17. Not dedicated (resources?)
  18. Capability
  19. Comparison of resources
  20. Contracts
  21. Getting a profile
  22. Just Do It projects conflicting with other planned project work
  23. Too busy
  24. Scope
  25. Skilled resources
  26. Erasing bad business culture
  27. Replacing resources that leave suddenly
  28. Split allocation
  29. Forecasts
  30. Business as usual
  31. Skills types
  32. Hiring
  33. Poor quality resources
  34. No information on skills
  35. Lack of bigger picture around in force projects
  36. Job roles that change
  37. Retention
  38. Capability gaps
  39. Offshore visibility
  40. Executive buy in
  41. Capacity management
  42. Understanding capacity for change
  43. Accurate reporting
  44. Time to do it
  45. No view on priority
  46. Planning resource profiles
  47. Collaboration
  48. Key man knowledge
  49. Planning
  50. Skills profiling
  51. Sponsorship
  52. Undefined requirements
  53. Common understanding of resource
  54. Skill crossover
  55. Sourcing partners
  56. Working on too many projects
  57. Task management
  58. Stealing resources
  59. Demand supply forecasts


There was no way in the world we were going to cover, in any meaningful detail, how to tackle some of these things. Rest assured we will be looking into future Mini-Masterclasses to see what we can cover that goes some way to getting a practical grip on some of these.

I think its safe to say that when we said the PMO has challenges when it comes to resource management, there are probably some highlighted here that you didn’t even know you had!

What Outcomes do you Expect from Resource Management?

In this part of the session, the whole group was divided up. We wanted to try to understand what PMO practitioners actually expect to gain from resource management. We decided to do it from three different points of view:




So with a dreamer, realist or a critic’s hat on, here’s what people came up with:

2015-11-26 20.31.50


Here’s what the realists came up with:

  • Skills shortages will still exist at any given time
  • PMO will remain to be seen as the ‘police’
  • More use of 3rd party resources
  • More self-organisation BUT this will not get rid of resource challenges
  • People will always be unrealistic about what they really want
  • As soon as you have an understanding of the resourcing position it will have changed
  • Continue to use spreadsheets
  • Use of resourcing tool is OK but still manual input
  • Never have enough resources or skills (availability and suitability)
  • Too much or too little demand
  • Understanding priorities
  • PMO not being listened to – asked to play a role however more co-ordination than real influencer
  • Best efforts resource profiling
  • Information lacking to do a realistic planning actuals versus best practice

The question here is, what does it take to turn these views around?

Here’s what the dreamers came up with?

  • Unlimited supply – fully skilled, perfect, keen
  • Resource deliver what was promised
  • Known project requirements in advance from skillset and alignment
  • Forecasting (accurate),
  • Accurate historical data
  • No deadlines
  • Stability in projects
  • Resource infrastructure – resource tool, portfolio and PPM
  • Standardisation – common processes
  • Governance – is it needed
  • Project FitBits (wear a watch, get told what task you’re suppose to be working on!)
  • Resources dedicated to one project
  • Project demand is accurate
  • We can find the skills we require when we need them
  • Executive buy in, no more JDI
  • Bigger resource pool
  • Same skills = same capability
  • People want to develop the skills we need
  • No corporate solutions we have to align to
  • Everyone knows what everyone is doing
  • Automatic resource levelling
  • Clear view of BAU and project capacity on top
  • Clear forecast
  • Looking for people works like “SkyScanner” (search for a flight)
  • Priorities are stable
  • Resource eBay
  • Easy data integrity
  • Project Managers do the simple stuff they’re supposed to.

Are some of these things as far-fetched, dreamy and unobtainable?

Finally the critics have their say:

  • Human error compromises data quality
  • No one tool can do everything
  • People are resistant to change
  • Politics (the culture) gets in the way
  • Executive buy in and user buy in, needs to be there
  • Resource management is flavour of the month
  • Cost and overhead is too high
  • Dealing with rubbish estimates
  • Can’t plan, how can we resource?
  • Expecting a tool to solve it all
  • We don’t think we’ll ever have enough resources and skillsets
  • We’ll never be able to match people – skills – requirements
  • We don’t have enough time
  • We’ll always be dependent on that one specialist
  • We doubt that process will ever trump culture
  • We doubt we will ever be willing to pay enough to get what we really need
  • Executives will never invest enough in the right SMEs, they’re happy with the way things are
  • Personal favours and politics will always overrule reason
  • The system will never show the full truth
  • We doubt that timesheets work anywhere

Do you see the areas that most reflect your organisation? Any ideas about which areas present the biggest challenge or what your organisation should tackle first?

We wanted to start the conversation about resource management and the PMO and from this session we have already uncovered a lot of challenges and pain points that we didn’t know about before.

The session covered where aspirationally we need to be in order to have a real opportunity to address these resource management concerns. We needed to know what the real life challenges actually are before we can hope to pick off the challenges and start to learn more about overcoming them.

We’ve started, we’re on the way!


2015-11-27 10.02.35