How to Deal With Pre-assigned Project Resources

    2=Planning, Leadership, Productivity

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Looking for ways to improve your project success? People matter more than technology and processes. However, project managers rarely choose their teams. Let's talk about how to deal with pre-assigned project resources. 

project team members

Are you working in an organization where your project resources are preassigned? Do you feel like you get the left-over resources most of the time? Are you frustrated by the demands to deliver with inadequate resources? Here are some strategies to help you obtain the resources you need.

  1. Negotiate. First, determine who assigns the resources? Is it a functional manager? Does your organization have a resource manager? Will a vendor or supplier provide resources? Second, meet to discuss the goals of your project and the knowledge and skills that will be required for success. Third, recommend resources for the team.
  2. Influence. What do we do if we work for a large organization where we do not have access to the individuals making the assignments? Someone has access to these people. Does your sponsor have access? Does your manager have the right connections. If so, influence the people you know and make your case. Ask your connections to influence the decision makers.
  3. Acquire outside resources. When your organization lacks staff to complete the required project activities, see if you can acquire outside resources. Here is one reason that project managers need to be involved in projects early. You can make your case and build the resource cost in your budget.
  4. Develop your teams. At the end of the day, you will be assigned teams. Guess what? The teams will not be perfect. What skills and competencies are lacking? Are the team members motivated? What do you need to do to improve overall project performance? Look for ways to improve the knowledge and skills, create team building opportunities, build trust, and encourage collaboration.

Doing the Same Things, Expecting Different Results

Many organizations have under-performing projects. Why? Organizations do a poor job of defining their projects and understanding the resource requirements.

Additionally, organizations overcommit – they commit to more projects than they should. Team members are stressed and organizations experience a lot of employee turnover. Furthermore, organizations fail to identify and acquire and develop skills and knowledge for these resource bottlenecks.

I am sometimes asked to take a look at organization’s resource problems and help them find solutions. My response? Do fewer projects better. Unfortunately, most organizations fail to curb their appetites and continue doing the same things and expect different results!

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