How much of a role does your Project Management Office play with resource management? Here are 5 ways that your PMO can help streamline resource management across the portfolio.
The first step to smooth resource management is finding the right staff for your projects and programs in the first place.
Recruiting is a time-consuming job and often line managers from other functions aren’t 100% sure what skills they need to deliver their projects. This is where the PMO can step in. As a team that fully understands the project, program and portfolio management skills required to implement change, they are perfectly placed to support (or lead) recruitment.
This can take a difficult job away from a pressurized line manager and give the company a better chance of getting someone who is a good fit for the role. Work with HR and the line manager to specify the job requirements and then the PMO can take over the bulk of the interview process.
Having said that, it is always good for a candidate to meet his or her line manager as part of the recruitment process!
Forecasting Supply and Demand
As the guardian of the project pipeline, the PMO will be able to forecasts resource requirements based on the upcoming project work and newly-approved projects.
This can be a huge help to project managers who are often so involved in the detail of a project that they find it hard to see the bigger picture for resources six months out. However, it can take six months to bring a new team member on in a way that means they are productive when you need them to be, so the PMO can support project teams with their resource forecasting.
Overall, this should stop projects from stalling because of lack of resource and help streamline the flow of work for everyone.
Resources need somewhere to work. As part of the forecasting effort you will be able to see when there are peaks and troughs in resource requirements. This will help inform what workplace logistics are required.
For example, if you are ramping up to deliver a big project and bringing a new team onboard, you might have to source temporary offices. This is something the PMO can lead on.
Onboarding and Off-boarding Staff
With so much going on for project managers it can be hard to give staff the induction experience they need to be their most successful. Research reported by the Society for Human Resource Management says that the average company loses 1 in 6 new hires each month for the first three months of their time at your business. That’s a lot of money and effort spent in recruiting project resources who choose not to stick around.
A good onboarding experience can make the difference and encourage your new recruits to stay. The PMO is perfectly placed to do this for new project managers, PMO staffers and project team resources.
Working with HR you can identify the new starters before they arrive for their first day, and make sure that their transition to your company is a smooth one. While HR may be responsible for ensuring they have got the information they need on the pension scheme and that kind of thing, the “work” part of onboarding can rest squarely with the PMO.
It’s not rocket science to give a new hire a good first impression:
- Make sure that their desk and work area are set up before they arrive.
- Allocate someone to welcome them on arrival and introduce them to the people in the same team/office.
- Clarify roles and responsibilities.
- Find ways to share information about the company culture and set expectations of what behaviors are appropriate.
- Share their objectives with them.
- Put check in time in their calendar for next month, three months and onward, so their manager has the opportunity to meet with them and find out how it is going. This can also give a new hire confidence that they already have a support process in place.
- Allocate them a mentor, or, if a formal mentoring scheme doesn’t exist, a “buddy” whom they can turn to with day-to-day questions.
- Schedule on-the-job and formal training as required. If overnight stays or travel is necessary, work with your new starter to find suitable dates.
Ideally, your PMO will build an onboarding program for new recruits and run this every time someone joins the team. Once you’ve got it documented and in place, working through it for each new starter becomes easier. Also, you can tweak your processes and onboarding checklists as you get feedback from your new team members. PMO managers are allays on the lookout for ways to streamline and improve the process!
Regardless of how long your team members have been in post, the PMO can take an active role in skills management. This will help you match upcoming demand for skills with the skills of the people in the team today. If you notice a gap – a future project needs three developers with Java and you’ve only got two, for example – you can work to upskill the necessary resources to meet the demand.
As well as that, the PMO can focus on building skills across all areas of the project environment, from sponsor training to technical training on project management tools like Primavera, or soft skills.
What the PMO Won’t Do
The PMO is a valuable source of expertise for managing resources but there are some functions that it won’t carry out when it comes to resource management.
Your PMO won’t:
- Directly manage all the resources
- Manage suppliers
- Own risks or issues relating to resources
- Maintain a ‘bench’ of unused resource; people just sitting around waiting to be called on to a project.
The PMO has a large part to play in making sure that projects and programs are staffed with suitably qualified people at the right times. If that can be done, the organization will benefit from fewer gaps in the resource pipeline, better skilled team members available when required and a more streamlined allocation process that fits resources to projects effectively.