Secure Resources for Your Team
Once your project gets the green light, you are off! And often the first step is to find the right people with the skills to do the work. Getting the team together is the role of the project manager or sponsor, or a combination of the two.
But where are you going to find the right resources? And how you do get them to commit to your project? Here are five ways to secure people for your project team so you can deliver the work without any delay.
1. Talk to the PMO
Your Project Management Office may be the function that carries out resource allocation. If you have a PMO, they should be your first point of call. Another advantage of tapping into the knowledge of this central group is that they might have information that you don’t yet have, such as upcoming long periods of absence for particular resources or the history of what someone has worked on in the past.
For example, they might know that a particular department likes working with one marketing expert, or that the legal team has someone who is a specialist in a field that would be perfect for your project.
The PMO will also have visibility of upcoming projects so they can help you secure resources that also dovetail into the needs of other projects. The resource juggle is real, especially if you have a limited number of specialists in-house, so keeping the PMO informed can be a huge help as the project moves forward.
2. Talk to resource managers
A resource management team might be based in the PMO or might exist as a separate function that manages demand and capacity. If you are in a company with a large pool of resources and a large program of work using methods like earned value, then you may have dedicated resource managers.
These individuals can work with you to understand the resourcing needs of your project and to find people from within the existing pool of people who can deliver the work. The benefit of using a resource manager (if you have someone in that role) is that they have visibility across the entire workforce. If one subject matter expert isn’t available within the timescale you require, they can probably find another one who is.
They also maintain a skills database so you can be confident that assigned resources are an adequate fit for the tasks they will be asked to do.
3. Talk to line managers
If you work in an environment that does not have a PMO for resource management, or a resource management function, then you will have to make efforts to find the people yourself. There should be a list of roles, or perhaps even named individuals, in the business case or project proposal. That’s where you should start. Get in touch with those people, or their line managers, and check their availability to work on your project.
Just be aware that sometimes people underestimate their workload. While they might say yes to supporting your project, in reality they might not have the time. Try to help them be realistic about what the job involves so you can be confident that they will be available when they are needed.
If the subject matter expert that you wanted to work with is not available, it might be possible to fund some training to bring another colleague up to speed so they could support the project instead. That might be a better option than delaying the work until your preferred resource can take it on.
Remember that line managers often have responsibility for both staffing projects and making sure the day job gets done – and often the day job takes priority. If you secure resources that are not going to be assigned to your project on a full-time basis, then they will need to manage their commitment to business as usual work as well as completing project tasks.
4. Hire contract staff
Another option is to hire contract staff. This can be a relief for some projects – especially if your in-house team is at full capacity. However, it might seem obvious but it’s worth saying: contractors cost money. Hopefully that budget was allocated to the project with the express purpose of being spent on resources. However, if you have not requested funding for resources as part of the business case for the project, you may find that this option is not available to you.
Alternatively, you could outsource pieces of the project to third parties and manage the work via the subcontractor. That might be a better fit if you don’t have the skills in house and don’t need any particular knowledge handed over at the end of the project, for example an electrical fit out. Another easy thing to outsource is project scheduling. If you don’t have the internal resources, it can be cost-effective to hire someone to support your project scheduling activities in a way that makes sure you meet any contract requirements.
If you think you might need additional resources and will be unable to get them from the in-house team, make sure you budget for temporary contractors explicitly and have approval to spend the money.
5. Hire full-time employees
The final option we are talking about today is to put some more permanent people on the payroll. If your project is a multi-year initiative where it does not make sense to fund contract resources, it might be a better choice to simply hire some additional salaried staff.
With today’s hybrid and remote work options, you don’t have to limit yourself to employees who live locally to the office. It might be appropriate to hire someone from further away. The wider the pool of candidates, the more likely it is that you will find someone suitable.
Check with your HR team about both this and the option to hire contractors, as local laws can vary. Financially, there might not be a lot of difference between the two options, so check with the finance team too in case there is a preference in accounting terms.
Those five options to secure resources for your project team should give you a broad range of methods from which to find exactly the right people for the work. Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to just the one method: you can pick and choose your resourcing strategy to make sure you find people with the perfect skills.