Resource Management Survey – Conclusions and Challenges Ahead

While the hard data results of Cognitive Technologies Resource Management 2010 Survey Results reported last week are interesting and useful, I find myself also drawn into what can be learned analyzing answers across questions and company demographics and from respondent’s comments. To reiterate a bit:

Who was surveyed? 250 professionals responded to the Resource Management Survey

















The survey asked 25 questions covering tools and processes used for resource management ( I did help craft some of the questions). The companies surveyed used Microsoft Excel, Project and Project Server most frequently. Almost 100 respondents also reported using in-house tools, with fewer than 75 reporting the use of sophisticated tools such as Primavera or Clarity. (We allowed respondents to select more than one tool from the list of options.)

Upon further analysis
Project managers have struggled significantly more in 2010 than in 2009 to staff new projects. In addition, executives in 2010 were less optimistic and more knowledgeable about current resource management challenges and practices than they were in 2009. Senior managers were less likely to report that their project resource management tools supply timely information or that their organizations use past project resource data for future planning.

There was a statistically significant – and I believe critically important — difference between project managers and senior managers in the perception of both project resource management successes and challenges — with executives being more optimistic in both cases.

Perhaps even more telling, senior managers believe that PMs had a meaningful voice in decisions to move resources from one project to another in greater numbers than project managers did. The data suggests that upper level management was less aware of the competition between project managers for resources or perhaps believes that competition among PMs provides good experience for developing future senior managers.

Upper level executives have a more positive view of project success than project managers have and are more likely to report a higher rate of successful projects. Executives were also more likely to view resource management-related challenges as less severe than project managers viewed them and did not perceive – as often as project managers did — the constant struggle to find resources.

Challenges — 80 participants chose to comment in the free-form section identifying significant challenges in:

  1. Dealing with resource management in light of requirements changes, especially on complex projects. Without real time resource utilization information – a byproduct of using less mature resource management tools — the replanning process can only be done with guesses and wishful thinking.
  2. The lack of standardized tools and processes or the failure to integrate data from disparate tools with appropriate implementation processes. An insightful PM comment was that “senior management should not expect a tool to fix a non-existent process.”
  3. Resource allocation is reactive rather than proactive.
  4. Too many projects, too few resources and over-allocation of key resources.
  5. Using estimates rather than data to predict resource needs for a new project.


Download the entire 2010 Resource Management Survey Report from Cognitive Technologies, Inc.

We invite and welcome comments on the 2010 Resource Management Survey or your experience and challenges in resource management.

One Response to “Resource Management Survey – Conclusions and Challenges Ahead”

  1. mike Kay Says:

    This is shocking. I cannot believe that in this day in age, PM’s are still using Excel. You need a more thorough tool than that. I switched over to Elementool a while back ( It has cloud-based project management tools like time tracking, issue tracking, help desk. My favorite feature is that all of the tools are integrated. PM’s do yourself a favor and check it out!

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