Ineffective resource management is a serious threat to project success. Resource management in includes the “planning, allocation, and scheduling of manpower, machine, money, and materials” according to Wideman’s Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms. However, since many organization’s projects today focus on knowledge workers, the management of human resources is the key to successfully completing projects.
According to a 2008 Gartner report, 15% of all projects fail due to high cost variance, while another 18% are unsuccessful because they were substantially late. Since project resources are the biggest component of both project costs and schedule, we contend that ineffective resource management may be the source of these project failures (Project Time Management: The Foundation for Effective Resource Management McGraw, B. and Leonoudakis, R.).
In June 2009, I worked with an intern from The University of Texas in Austin to collect data about the resource management tools and processes of today’s organizations.
About the Survey
Our survey targeted C-level executives and senior project managers. We contacted project managers through Linked-In, Facebook, and the PMI portal as well as inviting our blog readers. We received completed responses from organizations across the spectrum of size and type—private, public, government and non-profit. The total number of surveys completed was 147.
We used an online survey that included 24 questions (12 Likert scale, 9 multiple choice, 2 “select all that apply” and 1 open text).
- Sample Question: Project managers struggle to find available resources for new tasks or projects
Characteristics of the Respondents
Of the 147 responding organizations, 87% were commercial (52% public, 35% private), 8% classified themselves as government, and the remaining 5% were non-profit. The respondents represented many industries categories but more than half came from Insurance, IT/Technology, Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals, Financial Services, Energy & Utilities and Consulting.
Respondents represented both upper and lower management within an organization with 47% of identifying themselves as upper-level executives, 44% as project/program managers, 9% as other.
The organizations varied in size also with 22% reporting annual revenues below $100 million, 23% between $100 million and $1 billion in revenue, and 48% greater than $1 billion. The remaining 7% of respondents declined to report their revenue.
Analyzing the results provides some interesting data and insight into what’s happening in resource management:
- Which types organizations use formal resource management tools
- What tools are used most often and which are most effective
- What are the differences in resource management processes across organization types
- What are the organizational implications of using different resource management tools and processes
Next week, I will talk about The State of the Union in Resource Management—including a summary of our findings.