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Project Team Management
Resource Plan

Accountable for project team management for an information management project and want some practical time and cost saving suggestions?
   
A resource plan is part of a project implementation plan and should listProject Team Management all project roles and responsibilities, level of effort, and other project team resource requirements.

Sounds easy!

Information management projects have a small number of roles and responsibilities –Lets put everyone in a room for three months and hope for the best.

This approach has merit if the team is a self-contained unit responsible for producing project deliverables and turning them over to production with no support from other IT resources.

Unfortunately, we need to take off the “rose colored glasses” and look at reality.

Project team management reality check!

Many IT departments are very large, sometimes with two or three thousand employee’s/contractors and consulting staff.

These resources are frequently geographically dispersed in different cities and/or in different countries.

IT staff may be assigned to resource managers, who have responsibility for assigning them to projects. Others may be part of an IT resource pool and are assigned on a first come basis by a central resource planning system. In other words, if you want a data modeler for two weeks in September, you submit your request and you get the first person available.

To ensure complete resource planning...

Consider all of the “extra” resources that will be required to make a project successful. The following provides a sample of resources that may be considered for project team management:
  • Center of excellence staff may be required to participate in project deliverable reviews. These reviews may not require too much time but project delays will occur if they are a critical part of deliverable acceptance and no one is available or assigned;
  • Legacy source system production support staff may be required to produce “new interfaces” and “push" data for your solution—Failure to consider them early will cause delays while your team waits;
  • Vendor supplied support staff may be required to help extract data from CRM and ERP applications. Obtaining this support may involve creating statements of work and getting financial and technical approval—All if this takes time and must be considered in the resource plan;
  • An independent QA team may be required and the plan should include provision for QA management time and “ramp-up” learning;
  • Production support staff may be required to help execute tests during QA testing—It is important that this time be included in the plan; and
  • There are numerous other resources that may be required to ensure project success--They all must be included in the resource plan.
To provide resource flexibility, consider...

Other resource options, if permitted, such as:
  • Individual contract employee support--Is it practical to engage them for short time periods?
  • Consulting firm "time and material" contracts;
  • Consulting firm "fixed price" contracts;
  • Off-shore development;
  • Part-time contractor support--Do you really need someone full-time or can some work be handled by 10-200 hours per week on a contract basis?
How are project team management resource plans created?

This depends upon the organization and the project planning tools.

In some places, it is mandatory that the project plan be included in a central time reporting system. Resources are allocated based on your projections and their availability. Time cannot be reported to a project unless a task has been assigned to a resource.

This approach has merit but must be carefully managed to ensure that staff allocations are not too restrictive. In other words, don’t plan a lot of very short (e.g. 5 hour tasks)...but don’t plan any three-month tasks either.

What are other critical resources?

Plan early to obtain other needed resources such as:
  • Team rooms with white-boards (and markers);
  • Overhead projectors;
  • Software test tools;
  • Specialized development software and licenses and/or access for all team members. Failure to do this early may case delays as the team waits to gain access to critical tools.
To minimize project expense, consider…
  • Do you need all team members at every weekly status meeting or will status reports suffice for the peripheral resources (I have seen many projects with 30-40 team members faithfully attending meetings and reporting time when their actual contribution may not be required for three to four months downstream); and
  • Make everyone aware of the resource estimates and expectations. Review, and secure approval for all estimates, with individual resource managers. Try to avoid the lone contractor who, in good faith, spends three weeks developing a solution that was only expected to take three days.
Summary...

Project team management is a critical part of a successful information management project and a good resource plan should list all project roles and responsibilities, level of effort, and other project team resource requirements.

This planning must be completed early in the project and communicated clearly to all project team members to set expectations.


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