Do you know where your organization falls in terms of resource management maturity? Or what needs to happen in order to take full advantage of Workfront’s resource management tools?
To wrap up the resource management blog series, this week will focus on understanding where your team is today and will provide a list of best next actions to move towards resource management optimization.
4 STAGES OF RESOURCE MANAGEMENT MATURITY
Being great at resource management does not happen overnight. In addition to learning the tools, effective resource management also requires changes to team work processes, people’s behavior, and even organizational culture. In order to take the suggested crawl, walk, run approach, it is useful to understand the various stages that can be associated with Resource Management Maturity:
Ad Hoc (Accidental) - Work managers have very little information around the existing workload of their resources. Assignments are made based on ‘gut feel’ often resulting in over-worked team members and missed deadlines.
Managed (Reactive) - Work managers have some data about short term existing workloads, but must often scramble to shift resources due to changing priorities and new requests. When high-priority work is initiated, work managers compete with one another to ensure that one initiative is completed on time, typically at the detriment of another
Integrated (Proactive) - All work is documented in a centralized operational system of record. Medium to long-term workloads of teams are reviewed before approving new initiatives. Work managers monitor short term changes to priorities and reassign resources to ensure higher priority work does not miss deadlines.
Optimized (Strategic) - New work initiatives are aligned with business goals and prioritized (often in an annual or quarterly planning cycle). Multiple execution and resource scenarios may be considered. Work managers retrospectively measure actual performance against their original plans to identify opportunities to improve future estimation and performance.
Growing from one stage of maturity to the next will take most teams several weeks or even a few months. Each step will require greater levels of discipline around how work initiatives are planned, executed, and monitored. This must include processes around how work is approved, how work is estimated and planned, how the completion of work is documented and communicated, and how work managers will share the authority and responsibility of re-prioritizing work and their related resource assignments.
PRO TIP: Start with a carefully thought-out change management plan to help identify desired changes in behavior. Then, socialize the reasons for change and begin training users, making incremental improvements.
ASSESSING YOUR “AS IS” RESOURCE MANAGEMENT MATURITY
There are many factors that can influence your organization’s or team’s resource management maturity — organizational structure, types of work managers (and the authority levels between them), the predictability of future work, and the culture around estimation and documenting planned effort.
Because of these variances, assessing an organization’s resource management maturity is far from an exact science, but the following questions can be used to consider where you are today.
Answer each question by jotting down your score and adding it up!
NEXT STEPS IN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT MATURITY
Improving resource management is not a race. It should be done one step at a time, with patience, and careful attention to the change management aspects related to the affected people, processes, and technology. Below are the strategies and recommended steps to move from one stage of maturity to the next:
Moving from Ad Hoc to Managed - Many well performing teams find themselves at this level of maturity. In fact, this may be why you chose to adopt Workfront in the first place. The good news is that you are not alone - and with a few changes, you can increase your ability to effectively plan your work and assign and manage resources in Workfront. To get started, follow these steps:
Review Part 1 and Part 2 of this series to brush up on some best practices.
Leverage project templates to ensure that all work has accurate, planned dates, assignments with job roles, and estimated planned hours for each task.
Assess if there is any work that will affect people's workload that is not currently accounted for in Workfront.
Ensure that all "Known Project Work", "Unknown Project Work", and "Non-Project Work" is documented in Workfront. Review additional information about those here.
Watch our training videos and practice using the Project Resource Scheduler and Team Working On Scheduler.
Moving from Managed to Integrated - At this stage of maturity, you are likely able to see that resources are over-allocated. Frequent last minute resource changes are needed to allow important initiatives to finish on time, which cause unexpected delays to other projects. Below are recommended next steps to achieve more proactive resource management:
Review Part 2 and Part 3 of this series to brush up on some best practices.
Ensure that all project and operational work, holidays, and PTO are documented in Workfront for your resources.
Review and document the processes around how work is requested, approved and prioritized.
Review and document the processes around how work is planned / estimated, how resources are assigned, and how various work managers collaborate when priorities shift.
Moving from Integrated to Optimized - At this stage of maturity, you are likely able to balance resource allocation in the short to medium term, but may find it challenging to know what your capacity is to take on additional initiatives in the long term. Below are recommended next steps to achieve more strategic resource management:
Review Part 2 and Part 3 of this series to brush up on some best practices
Ensure that all in-flight work is well documented in Workfront to include resource pools and align budgeted hours with planned hours (to represent existing demand).
Work with leadership to determine and document planning cycles to review and prioritize larger work initiatives. As proposed initiatives are created, add resource pools and budgeted hours (to represent future demand).
Ensure that all users (resources) are documented in Workfront with accurate schedules, FTE values, PTO calendars and appropriate resource pools (to represent future capacity).
Attend training and practice using the Resource Planner (View by Project / Role) and Workfront Scenario Planner.
Maintaining Optimized Maturity - Congratulations, you are aligning new work initiatives with business goals and prioritizing them to ensure proper capacity before approving them. Few organizations reach this stage of Resource Management maturity, however, don't get too comfortable. As your organization changes, it is possible for your Resource Management maturity to regress. To stay optimized, institute continuous improvement principles to help ensure work and resource management processes evolve with your organization. Further, share best practices and lessons learned with other groups within your company and other users in the Workfront Community.
The complexity of various organizational structures, uncertainty in future work, and difficulty of documenting detailed plans and estimations all contribute to the challenges of managing resources in an efficient and effective way. By understanding where you are today and taking action on the recommended actions above, your team can get better at managing resources, and avoid burnout and missed deadlines.