Using scenarios to manage the impact of change on your resource plans

In volatile multi-project environments, the change in resource demand can be constant. New projects arrive, the scope of a project changes, the client delays the start of the next phase; the causes of change are many and varied.

Where the organization is aiming for high levels of resource utilization, there will be little spare resource, so, unless there is budget for contractors, careful re-balancing of the workload according to project priority will be required.

When the new work has low priority it can be positioned around the dates where spare skills capacity exists, using an interactive drag & drop view, where the table beneath highlights periods of overload.

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But if the new work has high priority, lower priority assignments may need to be delayed to free up the required skills. This is when scenarios come into their own. Scenarios are copies of the live database produced for ‘What If… evaluation of alternative options. They enable you to move existing projects in time to find the best fit for accommodating the new high priority work, whilst minimizing the disruption to existing commitments on other projects. Once the best scenario is agreed, the live data can be updated and each project manager given a report that shows the task date changes that they will need to work with.

It is slightly different for those bidding for new projects, such as EPC contractors, where the scenario needs to model the likelihood of different project awards. The view shown below shows what skills bottlenecks will appear if different combinations of proposals are successful. Simply select the potential project resource plans into different scenarios by checking the box and the likely resource bottlenecks overall and by skills, team, or region, etc. will be shown.

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Barry Muir is a Director of Innate Management Systems Ltd. We have been implementing resource management software in a wide variety of professional services organizations for more than 20 years.
Posted in multi project environments, Project Management