How accurate are your resource management reports? Is the underlying data sufficiently consistent, current and complete to be credible?
Management relies heavily on the reports produced by resource management software. Committing to key project dates is based on the predicted availability of the required skills, and hiring and retraining programs are driven by the skills mix being forecast. Is such reliance justified? How credible is the underlying data that you rely on and what should be in place to achieve the required levels?
We think there are three criteria that need to be satisfied.
First, the project, resource and assignment data must be Consistent across all project and assignment schedules. Project managers must comply with agreed estimating metrics and task timescales; if two projects have differing plans for similar pieces of work, combining them will not produce a credible picture!
A good way of ensuring such consistency is to provide project plan templates for the range of projects encountered. A simple example of which is shown below:
Templates should list the tasks and skills likely to be required for each type of project and can include typical work patterns. These form logical starting points when planning new projects and will help you to achieve the desired standards of consistency.
The second requirement is for the data to be Complete. The complete picture of demand must captured for comparison with your skills capacity to be accurate. This means that resource estimates of BAU and departmental tasks must be added to the known demand planned in the more formal projects.
Finally, the data must be Current. The project management process must be sufficiently mature to ensure that timesheet data is processed regularly, project plans progressed by agreed dates and that changes in scope trigger timely re-estimates of the affected projects.
If any of these aspects is not in place, then the reports really are built as a house of cards.