Current Challenges in Resource Management by PMO Practitioners

Last week we were over at Project Challenge – right now in fact, Wednesday morning – probably meeting you if you came along to the first day. Loads of you did come over the two days – some of you reading this are probably brand spanking new to PMO Flashmob so hello!

As is the tradition with the PMO Flashmob stand, we always like to ask you a question or two as well.

This time we asked “What is the top current challenge you have in resource management right now?

Of course we were asking because of the new Report we’ve released – it’s here – and it’s about resource management.

So what was on the board?

First up, there was a lot of consistency – lots of people didn’t write on the board because their challenges were the same as the ones you’re seeing here.


Timesheets – called a “dirty word” in our Report – was something that was talked about ALOT. They seem to be the bane of the PMO’s life but still those timesheets keep raising their pesky heads and really irritating everyone involved.

PMO practitioners in some organisations seem to suffer from the administration aspects of timesheets. They stop the PMO from being able to provide other more worthwhile services because their time is taken up chasing the Project Managers and the teams to fill them out.

Solution? Why not scrap them? Take a look at the Inside PMO Report where we talk about timesheets quite a bit and PMO managers share with you why they don’t use them anymore.

Business as Usual Vs Projects

We’re seeing this more frequently – maybe it’s because lots more PMOs are being set up today in organisations where business-as-usual resources are frequently being pulled into the projects. In my day (too long to admit) resources for projects were just that – they didn’t have a day job as well – they were 100% dedicated to projects (but it was a professional services business so I guess that is still the case in that sector)

Again in our Inside PMO Report we had PMO Managers around the table from all kinds of businesses – and this problem of resource-nabbing – or resource blocking by line managers of the business-as-usual people is common.

So What Resource do you Really Want?

This is an interesting one too – something I haven’t really thought about in any great depth – it’s the problem of being able to be clear about what resources you actually need on the project. It’s not about asking for a job title but about asking for the skillset. In organisation’s where there is a lack of capability assessments, competency frameworks, individual assessments, links to human resource departments and understanding who is available and when – well this problem gets compounded.

In the Inside PMO Report we also talked about the capability side of resource management – and how some of the PMO Managers are tackling this.

Just for balance, we asked if anyone had any solutions…

Some Solutions Offered

Apart from the insights from the Inside PMO Report (I’ve mentioned it enough now I think, have you downloaded it yet!) here are some of the things people have been doing:

For some it’s about going all out and getting some good tools in there (but I’m guessing they were pretty clued up on the processes, culture and people before getting to that point). Other end of the scale, you can’t beat a spreadsheet – seriously, our PMO Managers recommended it, and it doesn’t have to be complicated (at least not in the early days of getting something up and running that works).

And of course there are processes, that might need some walkthroughs and hand holding, and if you’re lucky enough to be in an organisation where agile stuff like retrospectives could work, great!

It’s the one in the middle that sums it all up – about how to start overcoming the challenges of resource management – it’s about doing just enough.


But what is just enough?

Well, I have to mention the Report again, it’s about picking a starting place – the PMO being all pragmatic rather than thinking they need to do it all. You need to take a look at the Circle of Resource Management and take a few ideas away from those people who have been there before.

Remember ‘just enough’ – there’s just enough you could do in supply, demand and capability – and it’ll depend on your business context and culture.


The Circle of Resource Management


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About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay is the founder of PMO Flashmob and a Director at PMO Learning - the sister company to PMO Flashmob and the best training company for PMO people in the world! She's also the creator of London's first dedicated PMO Conference; Director of Arras People and PMO enthusiast. Loves dogs and gin.

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