I recently rediscovered this insightful paper from noted consultant and trainer Kent Crawford on PMOs and Resource Management. Titled "Mastering Resource Management: The PMO's Role", the paper was originally presented at the PMI Global Congress in Orlando, Florida in 2009.
I found it remarkable how consistent the findings were with two benchmark studies I provided analysis on back in 2014 and 2016, both conducted by Appleseed Partners.
Three major findings fuel the paper:
- A strong correlation between resource management maturity and organizational performance
- A strong correlation between an effective PMO and resource management maturity
- A strong correlation between project portfolio management maturity and resource management maturity
None of this is surprising, but it's helpful to see it validated.
Despite, the encouraging news, according to a 2009 Center for Business Practices benchmark study on Resource Management Challenges, resource management maturity was deemed low in nearly three-quarters of organizations studied. Resource planning and estimating were particular challenges. Crawford also reported "a significant disconnect between decision makers" regarding whether there were enough resources for all projects. Usually, there weren't.
However, the paper also has good news. For the organizations who improved their resource management practices, overall organizational performance also improved. So there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
Regarding Project Portfolio Management (PPM), a key enabler, Crawford states, "When used effectively, PPM ensures that projects are aligned with corporate priorities and optimizes resource allocation." With that foundation, Crawford says, business assumptions about people, costs, and time can be validated, and cross-functional resource conflicts or synergies can be highlighted and addressed. And who better to drive all this than the PMO?
As for a strong PMO, Crawford highlights three particular PMO roles as being beneficial to resource management: that of a resource evaluator, a competency center, and a project management consulting center. Regarding the latter, Crawford states, "Establishing the PMO as an organizational home for project management expertise helps to surface existing skills in project management and related specialties that are presently diffused across the organization."
In its closing summary, the paper offers a set of resource management best practices, compiled by project management leaders from dozens of Fortune 1000 companies who gathered in 2009 to benchmark their resource management practices.
For anyone implementing resource management, the paper is definitely worth a read.
Jerry Manas is the bestselling author of The Resource Management and Capacity Planning Handbook, Napoleon on Project Management, and more. At PDWare, Jerry helps clients improve strategy execution through tools and processes that align people and work with organizational priorities. Connect with Jerry on Twitter and LinkedIn