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IT Resource Management Best Practices: Page 2

Posted November 28, 2007
By

Rob Lee


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3. Aggregate all IT demand – not just project work. Many times organizations focus on tracking the demand for IT projects but do not integrate the work that these same resources will do for non-project operational work. As a result, resources can be overbooked and projects begin to slip. Without including operational work into the overall resource planning process, it is impossible to accurately forecast a project cost and delivery date. Taking a lifecycle view of the project process is essential. This includes initial proposal acceptance, project execution, and then asset maintenance. At each of these project stages resources will need to be planned and accounted for.

By aggregating all your IT demand, you will gain the visibility to see what is really being asked of IT – and then you can start to assess how you will meet it. You can also better prioritize your projects so that they really do align with business goals.

4. Don’t over-engineer early efforts. A high degree of project maturity is not required to get an enterprise resource initiative started and for IT to quickly realize value. Start with a resource management model that reflects your organization’s maturity level both at the executive and end-user levels. This is critical to ensure that initial foundational processes are adopted. If it is too complex, people will abandon.

Once you have a process that works, you then can evolve the maturity as your organization matures. For example, start your top-down approach by using staffing profiles that allow you to forecast how you will meet demand. At the end-user level, roll out tools that end users can easily use for time tracking, with the best being those that offer automation and enforcement. This ensures the data you get back can be relied upon to make important decisions across your entire IT portfolio.

5. Automate the request for resources. Automating the resource request process will greatly streamline resource requests, approvals and assignments. You can include outsourcers and multi-sourcers by making them just another group within the workflow. Start by automating simple processes. Then, as you gain transparency into all the work that resources are doing (project and non-project) you will be able to expedite decision making and better utilization of your people.

Centralizing resource requests by establishing resource pool managers is one approach I’ve seen work very well, particularly in large organizations. However, I’ve also witnessed many organizations gain tremendous benefit simply by establishing consistent resource request processes that are enforced by automated workflows. With either approach, you will quickly curtail ad-hoc or side-door work requests that derail valuable resources and are one of the biggest contributors to project delays and budget overruns.

6. Measure and communicate – early and often. I can’t say enough about how important it is to communicate to your stakeholders. The customers with the most successful project outcomes know how to measure and communicate throughout the company.

Start by focusing on achieving incremental value and communicating achievement of critical milestones to all stakeholders. This will provide you with momentum needed to sustain your implementation as it evolves within your organization. Do take advantage of real-time dashboards to easily show statistics – such as how your IT organization is improving its on-time delivery dates, reigning in costs, and increasing satisfaction with your business constituents.

In Summary

Remember, implementing a resource management solution does not need to be overly complex. However, it is critical that your approach be embraced and sustained at both the executive and end-user levels – both are critical to your success. Applying technologies that give you a complete picture of all the demand placed on your organization as well as your capacity to meet this demand is equally essential.

Gaining such real-time insight will give you the flexibility to offer your business customers informed choices as you respond to the unplanned changes that are increasingly the norm and not the exception. Such agility will transform the way you interact with your business customers and help you create the right conditions to significantly improve your project outcomes.

Robert Lee is the Global Practice Director for Project & Portfolio Management & Lifecycle Solutions within HP Software Professional Services. He has held a number of senior positions over the past 12 years within product management and services all focused on ensuring that IT management software applications result in tangible customer value. Lee started his career working for Oracle Corporation as an application developer.


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