Project Management Resource Survey 2009–Challenges

This is the third post in a series on the Resource Management Survey that was conducted.
In my experience, having and consistently using, the most appropriate resource management tools is essential to effective project management. In the past couple weeks I talked about our survey on the state of resource management across the PM community. As I mentioned last week, our three key findings were:

  • The tools used in most organizations today are not the most mature or capable resource management tools available and in most organizations they did not provide the level of detail needed to make resource allocation decisions, especially for complex or multiple projects that share resources.
  • Resource management tools were not used consistently across organizations.
  • Resource management tools in the majority of the reporting organizations did not provide the information needed to make decisions.

The last section of our survey dealt with manager’s perception of the resource allocation process, the utility of the resource management tools used in their organizations and an open question on challenges and observations of these professionals.

We found across the board a perception that key project resources are consistently over allocated. I am sure that comes as no surprise to any project manager. It was also the case that PMs see significant internal competition between project managers for essential project resources.

On the question of whether PMs have control over their project resources when another project or manager needs them for a higher priority project, the answers were divided. Although the average response was to agree that the PM has little say in this matter, the modal (most frequent) response disagreed with this statement. I think it is important to note that sixty five percent of the responding organizations agreed that PMs routinely struggle to find resources for new tasks or projects.

A key data point when it comes to the challenge of resource management was in response to the question of whether senior management perceives that there is resource management problem. The average response indicated that PMs believe that senior management does not recognize that their organization has a resource problem. Although the most frequent response to this question did not concur, there is definitely strong evidence that many PMs are facing resource management problems that are not recognized—and therefore not dealt with—by senior managers.

A more detailed look at the responses found that nearly half of the organizations that did not utilize any resource management tools agreed that their senior management did not recognize that their organization has resource management problems. Hmmm – see a pattern?

Finally we provided our respondents a free-form opportunity to comment on challenges in resource management. Here are the four highest ranking challenges:

  • Over-allocation of key resources and under-utilization of others
  • Poor communication and cooperation between divisions
  • Poor planning and control including unrealistic deadlines, poorly define priorities, changing timelines, and poor forecasting
  • Resource management tools were often perceived as cumbersome, ineffective, and were not integrated across the spectrum of project management tools

I believe our survey identifies important issues in resource management and points the way to some solutions. You are invited to download the complete project report from the Cognitive Technologies’ website. We welcome your comments, concurrence, or different observations. Please share via comments with the PM community.

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