Resource Planning

Scary Resource Planning Stories for Halloween

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This being Halloween time, it's quite appropriate to share some scary stories to tell in the dark. Of course I'm talking about scary resource planning stories!

Be aware, the names and companies have been changed to protect the innocent, but the horror is all too real.

Now sit back IF YOU DARE, and enjoy a spine tingling duo of short but horrific tales of resource planning terror!

Dead Projects Tell No Tales

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One dark afternoon, Kirk T. James, PMO Director of Acme Enterprises, tried to get his company to implement resource planning, but nobody would listen.

The silence was deafening.

That very day, they had a new major initiative, the Vorta project, that had to be undertaken in order to keep up with their competitors, the Romulan Corporation. The problem was that there weren't any project managers available, or even developers that knew the Vorta system.

And so, the worst possible thing happened.

The project had to be abandoned, left to die on the vine while their competitors raced ahead.

Had they only known there were two available business analysts elsewhere in the organization with stupendous project leadership capabilities, plus three that had a pretty darn good knowledge of Vorta. A good resource planning system would've told them that.

But alas, the graveyards are full of companies who didn't know what they had... and well-meaning projects that never happened.

Nightmare at 10,000 Feet

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Margie Tyrell was VP of R&D for Highgarden Manufacturing, and her organization had no resource planning software whatsoever. All she knew was that projects were running late, important market windows were being missed, and the pressure was increasing by the day. It was a frightening situation and she wasn’t sure she’d survive it.

On a chilly afternoon in March, she got the news. The company had purchased resource planning software at last. All the organization's projects and resources had already been entered into the system, along with a high level effort forecast for each project.

For the first time, she was able to see a bird's eye view—-a 10,000 foot view, if you will—-of who was scheduled to do what in her division. And what she saw made the hair on her arms stand up.

It was a mis-utilization nightmare.

  • Heavy resource investments were being made in low priority projects while the really important work was bone dry.

  • Crucial and much-needed skill sets were extremely overbooked, causing huge bottlenecks.

No wonder they were missing all their deadlines and people were stressed!

There would be much work needed to rectify all this, but at least she now had clear visibility of the true horrors that were all around her—-invisible terrors that many people don't even know are plaguing them, haunting their schedules day and night.

Do you know what’s lurking in the hidden corners of your process?

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tales of resource planning terror, and remember, come trick or treat time, you don't want any tricks. Just the treat of a good resource planning system!


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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.


PDWare is a pioneer in resource planning software, offering intuitive resource planning tools to drive your work portfolio based on your people's capacity. PDWare believes that good strategy execution, portfolio management, and project delivery begins with a solid foundation of resource planning. PDWare is a proud sponsor of the Resource Planning Summit, the premier resource planning conference.

Who Should Own the Resource Effort Forecast?

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There’s no doubt about it. Someone needs to have a general idea of who’s scheduled to do what in the organization, at least for the near term future. Otherwise, how can you know whether you have the capacity to take on new work? Or even whether already scheduled work will have all the people it needs to be completed on time?

A question I often get asked is: Who should be responsible for owning the resource effort forecast? The short answer is usually the respective resource managers (AKA the functional managers).

After all, the project managers are only concerned with their own project, not the other work the resource has scheduled. The resources themselves know what they're currently scheduled for, but perhaps not what's coming down the pike. Only the resource/functional managers have the full picture and responsibility (ideally with input from ther resourcea AND from the respective project managers) of what their staff will be allocated to.

This seems a simple answer on the surface, but as we dig deeper, there are variables to consider.

If you're looking at the effort forecast for a specific project, the project manager has the best picture of what's needed on the project, though the resource typically has the most accurate assessment of the effort that will be required. So this must be a collaboration between the project manager and the resource.

Then, with project manager and resource in alignment on what's needed for the project, the resource manager must then either approve the resource assignment request or at the least, review it to see if there are any discrepancies with what else may be coming up. Once again, a dialogue may be necessary between the project manager, the resource, and the resource manager. It truly does take a village to do resource planning properly. It is best not done in a vacuum.

People also often ask me what the best tool is for addressing these discrepancies. And my answer is always: the telephone. Or better yet, discussing face-to-face, though a good resource planning tool should help facilitate the effort with good visibility of the resource needs and the impact on other work .

I'll quote none other than Charles Dickens, who, way ahead of his time, said, "Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true."

Not that you need to be particularly brave to solve a resource staffing issue, but you get the idea.

Now, some of you who are Agile aficionados may have steam coming out of your ears with the idea of a functional manager setting schedules for the resources. And you would be correct. After all, a self-led team can create their own schedule based on what's in the backlog and what can be delivered within their team’s sprint/release schedule. And in a Scaled Agile Framework environment, Agile Release Trains have a repetitive schedule where continuous value is being delivered on an ongoing basis for a given functional area.

You’re starting to get the picture why I say the answer to who should own the resource forecast can be complex.

Even with all that in mind, in an environment with mixed Agile and traditional methods (or even a pure Agile environment), senior management generally still wants to know where their money and resource budget is going. If people are assigned to teams, and teams are assigned to projects, it still helps to use both of those factors to extrapolate an effort forecast across the project (or product) portfolio. Then it doesn't matter which projects are Agile and which are Waterfall. You have the big picture of your staffing needs (ideally by skill) in your organization, along with where you have shortages.

Even in a mostly Agile environment, if your people report to functional managers and are "lent" to Agile teams, then the answer still holds that the functional managers should be involved in the overall forecast, working in conjunction with the respective product or project managers. If the people are full time on Agile teams, the point is moot, and the resource/functional manager isn't applicable.

I'd love to hear from you. How does your organization address the ownership of resource effort forecast? What if you're an Agile shop? How is the staffing situation addressed?


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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.


PDWare is a pioneer in resource planning software, offering intuitive resource planning tools to drive your work portfolio based on your people's capacity. PDWare believes that good strategy execution, portfolio management, and project delivery begins with a solid foundation of resource planning. PDWare is a proud sponsor of the Resource Planning Summit, the premier resource planning conference.

How Resource Planning Tools Drive More Effective Agile Funding

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A recent CIO article from Hakan Altinepe, titled "Product Funding and the Burden of Agility" explores the differences between traditional project-based funding and Agile "product-based" funding, and illustrates why priority and resource capacity are central to the properly funding Agile projects.

As the article points out, traditional funding involves the annual planning cycle that explores opportunities backed by a business case and with fixed scope and an estimated schedule and budget. In Agile, product-based funding is distributed across ongoing and self-managed teams, often organized around product areas. Cost and schedule are fixed, and teams tackle the highest priority, most valuable work to continuously deliver value.

According to Altinepe, Agile operating environments offer three management levers to influence the outcome, scope, and schedule of agile initiatives:

  • Work priority

  • Team size

  • Portfolio workload

This is also consistent with what I’ve been saying and what PDWare has been saying., so it’s refreshing to see it acknowledged. The principle is that, with these levers set correctly and adjusted frequently, work can be accelerated or decelerated, and team resources can be reallocated accordingly. However, when these variables aren't maintained correctly, people start working on the wrong things and value is diminished.

As Altenepe states, "the burden of continuously maintaining these levers at an optimum is called the burden of agility, and the aggregate economic loss caused by the improper settings of these levers is called the cost of agility."

And here comes the punchline. The burden and cost of agility increases at scale.

Altinepe notes that this is where Agile-friendly resource planning tools can help, provided they have the requisite maturity with balancing supply, demand, and priority.

The article rightfully concludes that the three-lever product-funding method is necessary for all agile organizations with considerable scale, and cautions that this does not come without a cost. With that said, agile organizations can mitigate this cost with tools and methods that help balance the three levers of work priority, team size, and portfolio workload.

I highly recommend perusing the article.


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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.


PDWare is a pioneer in resource planning software, offering intuitive resource planning tools to drive your work portfolio based on your people's capacity. PDWare believes that good strategy execution, portfolio management, and project delivery begins with a solid foundation of resource planning. PDWare is a proud sponsor of the Resource Planning Summit, the premier resource planning conference.

Who Should Own the Resource Management Process?

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One question I get asked a lot is: Who should own the resource management process in an organization? There are a number of considerations, and perhaps the first question to ask is: What should the role consist of?

First, let me clarify that ownership of the resource management function (maintaining resource data and assignments) is a different animal than owning the resource management process, and the answer may not be the same for both. For instance, often I see the PMO or some other central group or person own the process, while the functional resource managers perform the resource management function for their respective areas.

As for what ownership of the process means, it would typically include:

  • Defining the process and maturity path (e.g., who should submit assignment requests and enter assignments, when, how, and at what level)

  • Facilitating data building (master data such as cost centers, rate, working hours, and other resource attributes)

  • Monitoring adoption (examining data diagnostics to ensure the players are participating)

  • Gaining management buy-in (ensuring the management team at all levels is in agreement on the benefits and outcomes of the process)

  • Reporting on capacity and demand (making leadership aware of key areas of upcoming shortfall and gaps in staffing vs. the upcoming pipeline)

  • Recommending sourcing strategies (evaluating and proposing staff augmentation models to accommodate peaks in demand)

A PMO or RMO (Resource Management Office) is in the best position to conduct these organization-wide activities. In fact, a benchmark study I was involved in with Appleseed Partners on resource management and capacity planning practices showed that nearly 70% of organizations with mature resource management practices have a specific role or function defined for capacity planning and resource management. Only 26% of less mature organizations employ such a role.

With ownership of the role defined, the central function could help answer key high level business questions, such as:

  • How much resource time is unproductive (i.e., spent on lower value activities)?

  • What is it costing us to keep the lights on versus strategic projects and other work?

  • How much are we spending in each division and does this balance match our strategic intent?

  • How many FTEs do we need to support our current demand pipeline?

  • What is the expected benefit of our current pipeline of strategic projects? What are we willing to spend in order to achieve it with adequate staff?

  • What areas are we spending too much on that can be sacrificed?

  • What products, services, or software applications should be retired? Are we wasting valuable resources supporting them?

  • What skills are needed to excel in our future workload? Are we staffed adequately in our critical skill areas?

  • Which initiatives have already been funded? Are we able to meet committed business milestones and cycle times?

I would also suggest that performing the actual resource assignment and management function is best done by the individual resource managers. After all, they know their staff best and have the big picture of not only their staff’s current workload, but their upcoming workload. Resource managers and project managers should be in constant contact and work together to ensure proper staffing of work, based on priorities.

In all, having a dedicated and committed owner of the resource management process is a good way to ensure that resource planning, the #1 key driver of successful strategy execution, is properly addressed. And having resource managers participate in the process operationalizes it.


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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.

The ROI of Resource Planning

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If you try searching Google for data on the ROI of resource planning or resource management, you won't find much, if anything. You'll find lots of articles on the ROI of Enterprise Resource Planning tools, such as SAP, etc., and some on the ROI of portfolio management in general, but resource planning in the context of project portfolio management is an underserved area, and especially so when it comes to the value of it.

It's a shame, because resource planning is the single most important thing you can do to improve project throughput, boost productivity, and increase value delivery. If you balance capacity with prioritized demand, good things tend to happen. In fact, organizations that implement resource planning can gain on average approximately 30% of the value of their project portfolio. Do the math. It's usually a lot of money. And that doesn’t even touch on the exponential intangible benefits.

Where does such a lofty estimate come from? It just so happens that I did the research on this and wrote a white paper on the ROI of Resource Planning. And if anything, this estimate is on the low end. 

You can download The ROI of Resource Planning for free HERE. Happy reading!


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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.

A Systems Approach to Resource Management

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One often overlooked method for improving resource optimization is to employ systems thinking. Sure, resource optimization is mostly about prioritizing and filtering your incoming demand and lining it up with the available capacity. Seems easy enough.

But resource optimization is much more than balancing supply with demand. It’s also about getting the most out of your people, whose productivity can vary based on environmental factors and whether they’re having a good day or bad day, which itself can have many influencers.

The first step is to look at the causing and resulting variables of resource workload going up or down, as well as the causing variable of those factors.

An excellent tool for assessing the variables that impact resource optimization is the causal loop diagram, a common systems thinking tool for assessing cause and effect. Below is a sample causal loop diagram that illustrates the variables that can lead to resource overload. An “S” between variables indicates that one can influence the other in the same direction (up or down). An “O'“ indicates the first variable influences the second in the opposite direction.

Similar to a fishbone diagram, the idea is to take each variable and think about the possible factors that could impact it. Then it’s a matter of launching policies and initiatives to make improvements.

In the example below (looking at the top of the diagram), if the rigor of intake filters and prioritization goes up, resource workload will go down (opposite direction). If demand goes up, resource workload goes up (same direction).

Likewise, going around the circle, if resource frustration goes up, the errors will likely go up, raising the level of distraction, which in turn raises resource workload even further. It’s a viscious circle. You can also see the variables that impact those variables, and you could extrapolate it out even further to see what factors influence those.

All in all, it helps you to develop a holistic action plan that considers all the driving factors and takes appropriate action.

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So, next time you endeavor to improve resource optimization, don’t just look at supply vs. demand. Consider the whole system.


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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.

How Resource Planning Complements Agile

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Some people wonder if and how resource planning applies in an Agile world. There should be no question. The chassis may change from traditional to iterative, but the drivetrain always remains resource planning. In essence, the question is, regardless of delivery approach: How do we make sure we have the capacity to deliver on our strategies at the right time? 

In fact, resource planning not only applies to Agile; it turbo-charges it.

Aakash Gupta puts it succinctly in his article on Project-Management.com titled "Resource Capacity Planning for Agile Teams":

Given how agile is built as a meticulous process driven by a stringent workflow, planning capacity becomes integral to agile’s success... Agile projects make room for innovation, velocity and unparalleled levels of productivity. Tie it in with resource management and you will find yourself with a dream team!"

Indeed, Agile brings a lean, adaptive mindset and a continuous flow of value. Planning adds alignment with strategy, funding, and resources. These are not mutually exclusive concepts and, in fact, complement one another.

There's an old Arabian story about two men on a long trek across the dessert. They wake up one morning and one asks in a panic, "Where are the camels!?" The other man says, "You told me to trust in Allah so I didn't tie them up." The first man replies, "Let me correct my advice. Trust in Allah, but tether your camels!" There've been many variations of this advice since, but the same concept applies to Agile and planning. Allow the empowerment and freedom that Agile brings, but also plan in order to ensure alignment and feasibility.

Back to Gupta's article, which is well worth reading. In it, he introduces the concept of the "focus factor." In other words, when assigning people to teams, it's important to understand how much they are, in fact, available to focus on the actual Agile activity. It's rare when a person can focus 100% on any given activity. There are disruptions, administration, company meetings, emergencies, and so on, and that's not including planned downtime like vacations. The focus factor accounts for this by offsetting their allocation to the team by the desired FTE amount (e.g., Jim can focus 70 percent of his time to the team).

As an aside, PDWare addresses this in their software by allowing people to be allocated to teams by percentage, and then assigning teams to projects. Both numbers are considered in the individual's allocation forecast, along with any other work activities they're assigned to. This allows the automatic creation of a combined resource forecast across Agile and non-Agile work.

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), created by Dean Leffingwell, bridges planning and Agile on an enterprise scale, aligning portfolio, program, and team activities, and is rapidly gaining popularity. A quote cited on the Scaled Agile website puts it perfectly:

"The more alignment you have, the more autonomy you can grant. The one enables the other."

 —Stephen Bungay, Author and Strategy Consultant


Stay tuned for a future post where I'll talk more about resource planning as it relates to SAFe.

If you’re new to Agile, or even if you're experienced but are finding it difficult to make it work in your organization, I'll be presenting a free webinar Wednesday, March 27 at 11am EST titled "Agile 101 for Resource Managers." It'll offer a complete overview of the basics of Agile, as well as an explanation of how resource planning can boost Agile performance. Click here to register.


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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.

Takeaways from the Resource Planning Summit

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I had the good fortune to present with some excellent fellow speakers at this year’s Resource Planning Summit in Nashville, TN.

Speakers were on hand from leading organizations to talk about good practices in resource planning that have helped them succeed, as well as challenges to look out for.

Several common themes emerged across the diverse presenters:

  • Prioritization is essential to good resource planning

  • Engagement across business units is key to allocating resources properly across the enterprise portfolio

  • An ongoing cadence of portfolio reviews and resource allocation is necessary to keep things on track

  • Paying attention to demand distribution and how people and money should be aligned across demand types can help ensure optimal resource utilization

  • The human side of resource management cannot be underestimated. Resource optimization and productivity is as much a psychological issue as it is an alignment and capacity/demand issue.


The closing day keynote speaker was filmmaker/screenwriter David Hayter (X-Men, X-Men 2, Watchmen), whose behind-the-scenes filmmaking stories brought a wealth of advice in an entertaining and humorous fashion. Some key takeaways I noted, especially regarding the soft skills of leadership and resource productivity, but also in project and portfolio management, were:

  • All environments are chaotic to a degree. Some are exceedingly chaotic and downright negative. Sometimes this is because the leader WANTS chaos. They think that constantly changing directions will keep people sharp or give them an advantage (note: It may, but at what cost?). Then it becomes a matter of how to perform well in such environments. This is true in filmmaking and in business.

    • Being unpredictable is one of the power principles espoused in the book, 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene, a Machiavellian tome described by its own publisher as "amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive." Hayter added that this is by no means a recommended strategy, merely an expose into the mind of such leaders.

  • People set the culture of any organization. BUT… the leader's energy (positive or negative) often spreads to the whole team.

  • Regarding projects and programs: Don't be afraid to switch gears if it'll bring greater value, regardless of how much has already been spent. In the X-Men movie, a late decision was made to involve a lead character more because it was the right thing to do, even though it added cost. The value return was exponential.

    • In general, think more toward value than cost. Some of the best ideas weren't planned from the beginning. Sometimes you may need to make a case for taking corrective or new action.   

  • Ernest Hemingway said "Kill your darlings." This is applicable to project portfolios as well. Sometimes to bring greater value, there's more to be eliminated than there is to be added.

  • When given conflicting or contradicting direction by different stakeholders or leaders, have a dialogue to address the differences. Be a leader. 

  • Chaos happens, but a good, open culture can help expedite problem solving. You may reach the same finish line in both positive and negative environments, but the latter is unnecessarily stressful.

  • Since chaos and troubleshooting are the norm, the only thing you can control is yourself and your reaction to it. Some guidelines are:

    • Don't take on a fight you know you can't win

    • A combination of humility, listening, and adapting, plus knowing when to stand up and fight back is the ideal course to take.

    • Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse said, "Be nice... until it's time to not be nice." But keep in mind the above. There is a nobility in the Zen response.

  • Leverage opportunities when you get them, but be prepared to deal with a variety of situations. Remember, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity" - Roman philosopher Seneca.


In addition to the above takeaways from David Hayter, attendees were asked to contribute their favorite quotes from the event. Below is a short summary:

  • You can't change an event, but you can change the outcome.

  • Normal is the exception to the rule.

  • People are the fuel on which an organization runs.

  • Life is change.

  • Resource management is the cure for disengagement.

  • Life isn't always the party we hoped for, but while we're here we might as well dance.

  • If you want to create a movement, get people engaged.

  • The first casualty in any battle is the plan.

  • Employee entrepreneurial orientation delivers innovation.

  • General Custer could've used resource management.

  • Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

All in all, the event was a splendid time for all (to paraphrase the Beatles).


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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.

Top Considerations for Project Prioritization

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The Forbes Technology Council has a nice little article, Project Prioritization 101, that highlights ten key elements of any good prioritization model. Here are the first five (I've paraphrased):

  1. Align with business strategy - Be sure your projects align with business goals and strategies

  2. Rank projects based on impact and effort (aim to do the impactful ones, discard the rest)

  3. Anticipate setbacks and assess potential losses (it helps if you assess resource needs and have a contingency plan in advance)

  4. Attack time-sensitive and highest impact projects first

  5. Understand your team's bandwidth

On that last topic, which is near and dear to my heart, the article quotes Zohar Dayan, CEO of Wibbitz, who says:

"When it comes to prioritization, the biggest consideration is to measure the impact of a project versus the time and resources that need to be devoted to it. A firm understanding of the value each project brings back to your company coupled with a knowledge of your team’s bandwidth is crucial for prioritization."

I couldn't have said it better. To this , I’d add that Success = Prioritization + Resource Allocation + Execution.

Back to prioritization, I’ve also seen organizations adopt the Eisenhower Matrix (later popularized by Stephen Covey), where projects are categorized based on urgency and importance. Obviously, things that are urgent and important should get done first. Projects that are important, but not urgent, should be scheduled accordingly.

The tricky ones are those that are deemed urgent, but not important. This either means someone has exaggerated the urgency or was unable to articulate its importance. So it’s a matter of determining which it is. And of course, the last category are those that are non-urgent and unimportant, which should be quickly rejected.

Some industries have a rigorous project acceptance process whereby all approved projects are by default highly important and thus use a FIFO (First in, First Out) approach to ranking. Though, with increasingly common resource constraints, this is a weak method in and of itself., and would benefit from a relative impact/effort assessment.

Check out the Forbes article for additional prioritization info, and the remaining five tips.

Also, for information on lean prioritization methods, see this insightful article from All About Lean, titled, “How to Manage Your Lean Projects - Prioritize.”

Finally, to complete the trifecta of valuable prioritization articles, see this HBR article, “How to Prioritize Your Company’s Projects,” which talks about how having a “Hierarchy of Purpose” is critical to any prioritization model. This involves tying together the 5 Ps (Purpose, Priorities, Projects, People, and Performance).

Happy reading!


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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.

Can You Really Deliver That Strategy? What You Need to Ask

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Strategy execution is more than just agreeing on your strategies and doing them. There are multiple facets that enable successful organizations to deliver on their strategy, not the least of which is resource planning.

A recent Brightline article, "Uncertainties and Risks of Strategy Implementation" by DTU (Technical University of Denmark), originally published at The London School of Economics and Political Science on October 11, 2018, proposes four aspects of successful strategy implementation that must be considered:

  • Technical Feasibility - Can it be done?

  • External Factors - How is the world affecting our strategy?

  • Execution - Can we do it?

  • Objectives/Market Needs - Do we have the right objectives?

This is an excellent model that puts all the right elements in perspective. Often forgotten under Execution (Can we do it?) is the act of resource planning. After all, if you don't align the right people with your priority initiatives, you're throwing marbles in your own path.

Meanwhile, on LinkedIN Pulse, Vishal Lall, Chief Strategy Officer for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, authored another insightful article titled "Three Reasons Your Strategies Don't Execute -- and How to Fix Them" that echoes this approach, specifically emphasizing the resource alignment issue. In particular, Lall proposes three key questions that organizations must ask:

  1. Was the strategy designed correctly?

  2. Were the teams aligned around the objectives?

  3. Were the right enablers in place?

Supporting this model, Lall cites six areas that can help improve the link between strategy to execution, again citing "Be brutal with resource allocation" as one of them.

I'm glad to see this finally being recognized as a key component of strategy execution. I highly recommend both articles (links above).

PS: Not long ago, I posted another article highlighting Brightline’s 10 guiding principles for strategy execution, where resource planning and prioritization were key elements. Check it out HERE.


Related to the topic of resource planning and strategy execution, PDWare was recently recognized in Gartner’s 2018 Market Guide for Strategy Execution Management Software. See the PRESS RELEASE for details on how an increased need for speed and agility is driving growing interest in strategy execution software.


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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.

Resource Planning Can Make You a Superhero: The Human Side of Resource Planning

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People often associate resource planning with cold numbers or hard skills, and speak in terms of "FTEs," "resources," and "head count." For a high performing, motivated team, it's crucial to remember that it's human beings we're dealing with. Unlike machine parts, human beings have good days and bad days and family issues and working styles, and all sorts of things that can impact their work, for better or worse. As one of the key founding fathers of Agile, Alistair Cockburn, once shared with me, "People are not suitcases, to be moved around at will." 

Indeed, optimizing resources means creating an environment where people can do their best work. A pioneer in the positive psychology movement, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, created the concept of Flow, where people are so immersed in what they're doing that time seems to stand still. To enable that optimal state, they must be doing work that both has an appropriate level of challenge and is an appropriate match for their skills/strengths. Too little challenge creates apathy. A skills mismatch creates frustration. Either will reduce interest and productivity.

Of course, for Flow to happen in the first place, the environment must be suitable for it. 

A big part of enabling people to do their best means not overloading them with multitasking or forcing them to work out of their comfort zones. This is best addressed through resource planning (for lack of a more suitable term), which involves ensuring that incoming pipeline projects are prioritized and the availability of people with suitable skills is assessed. There are multiple approaches for addressing any shortfall, including delaying or altering the incoming work, securing outside or additional resources, or shifting priorities.

Management guru Ken Blanchard said, "Profit is the applause you get for creating a motivating environment for your people and taking care of your customers." With this in mind, you can become an absolute superhero to your organization, and the people in it, by introducing and/or improving a resource planning process that will enable optimal performance.

Speaking of superheroes, I was especially saddened to hear of the recent passing of Marvel legend Stan Lee. I grew up reading his stories and had the good fortune to meet him at a comic con a few years back, where I happened to be speaking on the art of storytelling (side note: I write sci-fi in my other life). He was a gracious man with a knack for telling captivating tales. A consistent theme he'd always preached through his characters was that doing the right thing was heroic, and that superheroes can come in all shapes and sizes.  

It does not seem a stretch to extrapolate from that a valuable lesson that introducing resource planning is simply the right thing to do. It's right for the people, right for creating value, and right for the top and bottom line. The other choice is to continue business as usual, burning people out while projects get delayed, errors increase, and customers get irate. The question then, is: Can you afford NOT to do resource planning? 

I know which option Stan Lee and Ken Blanchard would choose.


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PS: Related to the topic of superheroes and resource planning, noted screenwriter and filmmaker David Hayter (X-Men, Watchmen, and more) will be delivering a keynote at the 2019 Resource Planning Summit in Nashville, TN (Feb 10-13). He'll be sharing team-building and resource planning lessons from the fictional world of superheroes as well as real-life superheroes, the teams that make the films, amid high complexity, constant change, and tight deadlines. To learn more, visit www.ResourcePlanningSummit.com


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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.

When It Comes to Resource Planning, Timing is Everything

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Brightline (a PMI-led coalition of leading global organizations dedicated to helping executives bridge the gaps between strategy and execution) released an excellent infographic, developed by the Technical Institute of Denmark, called "Timing is Money." 

The infographic looks at four dilemmas that represent the four dynamic tensions that relate to timing when implementing strategy, particularly:

  • The Horizon Dilemma (near horizon vs. distant future)

  • The Urgency Dilemma (implementing quickly vs. moving too fast for your organization)

  • The Process Dilemma (tightly defined strategy vs. business agility)

  • The Rhythm Dilemma (natural work rhythms vs. getting everyone in sync when needed) 

Having written a book on common leadership dilemmas (Managing the Gray Areas), this approach is near and dear to my heart. Not surprisingly, for each dilemma, the infographic offers practical solutions that balance both sides of the equation.

I was particularly pleased that, for the Rhythm Dilemma, the recommended solution was to "dedicate and mobilize the right resources" and embrace new leadership rhythms that allow for syncing the disparate rhythms across the organization. 

This, of course, requires effective resource planning, which itself ties back to the other three dilemmas. For instance, the Horizon Dilemma applies, because you need to strike a balance between short term named resource planning and longer term skills planning. 

Regarding the Urgency Dilemma, having a clear picture of demand vs. capacity will let you know if you're taxing the organization beyond its ability to immediately take on something new. It also gives you the data to make informed tradeoff decisions.

Lastly, the Process Dilemma, which aims to balance strategy and agility, requires that resource forecasts show all types of work (Agile and otherwise) and depict how effort is being consumed across the overall prioritized backlog of the organization. This, in effect, helps tie effort utilization back to strategy, while also allowing for the change that business agility necessitates. 

Check out the infographic. Not only does it serve as a compass for bridging strategy and execution, it also serves as an excellent foundation for resource planning.


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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.

The One Thing You Need to Do To Resolve Project Overload

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Too many projects and not enough people. It’s a battle cry heard in organizations everywhere. A new article published in HBR (Harvard Business Review) titled “Too Many Projects: Why Companies Won’t Let Bad Projects Die” tackles the issue head on. Authors Rose Hollister and Michael D. Watkins offer key insights into the root of the problem, along with some practical, spot-on solutions.

The gist of the solution can be summed up in two words: Resource Management,

This includes:

  • the demand/capacity visibility and transparency that prioritization and resource planning brings

  • continuously considering the triple constraint of demand, supply, and priority with every new project request, ongoing resource assignment, and project execution checkpoint. 

Hollister and Watkins offer a few cautions as well.

They warn against prioritizing by function or department alone, lest silo thinking will sabotage enterprise prioritization efforts.

Likewise, they advise against simply instituting an overall prioritization process without deciding what to cut (i.e., planning without execution). 

They also suggest avoiding uniform percentage cuts for each department because then organizational priorities aren't considered.

The authors include four areas to assess before each new initiative is undertaken, all of which relate directly to resource management (which I propose includes balancing demand with capacity).

The four areas are (the parts in parenthesis are my added description):

  • Analyzing the project (for goals and expected benefits)

  • Assessing the resources (and the resource and cost impact on the organization vs. other work)

  • Sizing up stakeholder support (for commitment and to validate priorities)

  • Setting limits (and identifying tradeoffs needed in order to fit the work in)

For more on the causes and cures for project overload, I highly suggest reading their article.


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Note: Whether you’re new to resource planning concepts or an experienced veteran, you may find value in the 8th Annual Resource Planning Summit, February 10-13, 2019 in Nashville, TN. Registration is now open. I’ll be speaking at the event, along with PMI Fellow Frank Saladis and a number of other leaders in the field. The full speaker lineup will be announced shortly. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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.

Strategic Planning in an Agile World

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I've often written about the importance of continuous planning at multiple levels, while also emphasizing the urgency of fostering business agility to meet dynamically changing needs.

I came across an HBR article by Alessandro Di Fiore, founder and CEO of the European Centre for Strategic Innovation (ECSI), titled "Planning Doesn't Have to Be the Enemy of Agile" that, to me, captures the essence of the tension between strategic planning and team-based agility. More importantly, it offers examples of how to make the two seemingly opposite concepts work well together.

As Di Fiore says, "The logic of centralized long-term strategic planning (done once a year at a fixed time) is the antithesis of an organization redesigned around teams who define their own priorities and resources allocation on a weekly basis."

To resolve this tension, he proposes that a new form of "Agile Planning" is needed that aligns top down strategic planning, bottom-up team-based decision-making, prioritization, and execution, and a mid-level process that helps bridge the two.

In effect, this blends the best of both worlds -- where agile teams leverage qualitative data and judgement to aid in prioritization and resource allocation, while big data continues to flow in through the strategic planning process and Information Technology. The sweet spot is the right combination of human judgement and hard data.

Put another way, I think it's safe to say that team judgment without data is blind, and relying on data alone is deaf. The corporate graveyards are full of companies that have done either or both.

When Corporate Strategy Meets Team Execution

The idea of blending top-down and bottom-up planning is consistent with other successful examples I've seen. The great author and cultural expert, Fons Trompenaars (Did the Pedestrian Die, 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, and others), once shared how Heineken learned this lesson the hard way.

As Trompenaars explains, Heineken released a TV ad where a woman was frantically rooting through her closet trying to find something to wear for a date. Then the doorbell rings. It's her date, who throws her a leather jacket. The next scene shows them in a bar drinking Heineken with the slogan: "Beer as beer is meant to be."

Well, in some countries, sales went down, not up. Upon research, Heineken learned why. Apparently, in those particular cultures, the message received was: "Only slobs drink Heineken."

Oops!

After than, Heineken changed their approach. The provided a top-down theme and general priorities (e.g., In the European region, portray Heineken as a casual, relaxing beer) and left it up to the local advertising departments within that region to come up with an ad that would work in their country. It worked like a charm.

They chose another theme for the Caribbean region (Portray Heineken as a metropolitan beer), with each island creating their own ads. Again, it work so well, that Heineken began winning all sorts of advertising awards. To this day, they continue to win advertising awards, with what I might call a hub-and-spoke planning model. 

It's a similar concept to Agile Planning: Remain agile in terms of priorities, methods, and execution while providing corporate themes and strategies from the top. What Di Fiore details is the bridge between corporate planning and individual teams. I highly recommend reading his article.

Bottom line: When it comes to strategy execution, resource planning, and business agility, you CAN have your cake and eat it too.


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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.

7 Practices of Resource-Savvy Organizations

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Maximizing your organization's human capacity to get things done doesn't have to be complicated. It fact, it's pretty much common sense.

Note that I'm NOT talking about increasing capacity. That's easy. Just hire more people or pay for contractors. I'm talking about maximizing the resources you already have.

To start, there are two fundamental principles at play for maximizing your resources:

  1. Increase value focus

  2. Increase performance

In other words, if your resources are working on the right stuff at peak performance, you're operating at optimal capacity. It's as simple as that.

Now the trick is how to achieve that.

For guidance, it pays to look at high-performing, resource-savvy organizations. From studies I've been involved with, I've found that such organizations tend to observe seven distinct practices that increase both value-focus and performance. 

Specifically, they:

  1. Prioritize all work - All work should be categorized and prioritized in the context of overall value to the organization. Otherwise, precious time could be spent on lower value activities. Also note that priority is methodology agnostic. 

  2. Eliminate waste -This includes excess approvals when checklists would suffice; redundant process steps; extraneous data on forms; excessive documentation that nobody will read; capturing data that nobody is using; and more.

  3. Clarify goals - If people aren't clear on the organization's goals and priorities, then their interests may not be aligned with value. Always reinforce goals as opposed to "tasks." Better yet, engage them in strategizing on how to achieve the goals.

  4. Align people with their strengths - People perform best when they're able to leverage their primary strengths toward an interesting challenge. A strength mismatch will create frustration, while a lack of challenge will create apathy. This is the concept behind the Flow principle.

  5. Reduce multitasking - It's been proven that multitasking decreases productivity. Encourage people to schedule "downtime" to focus, and avoid diluting productivity with multiple concurrent initiatives.

  6. Enable with tools and training - Even the most talented, motivated people will struggle without the proper tools and training to do their job effectively. Skimping here is like burdening your people with a heavy backpack and expecting them to run at peak performance. 

  7. Institute continuous resource planning - Resource planning looks at work in the context of three variables: supply, demand, and priority. The goal is to meet demand with supply in priority order, so that if any work gets bumped, it'll be the lower priority activities. Regular, ongoing resource planning ensures that people are always aligned with value, and that they aren't overloaded beyond their capacity. 

Collectively, these practices can drive value-focused performance, while also fostering a positive, inspiring culture. Resource-savvy organizations that have adopted them have seen a boost in productivity, employee retention, and customer satisfaction. Best of all, they've gone from reactive to proactive.

I’d venture to say they've also taken to heart the wise words of Albert Einstein:

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.


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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.

Is Your Organization Value-Focused?

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Professor and author Morten Hansen wrote an excellent article on the American Management Association Playbook site titled "One Big Mistake Managers Must Avoid (It's About Your Time)". 

In the article, he shares a key finding from his study of more than 5,000 managers and employees: namely that they tend to focus more on internal goals and metrics than on the value being delivered.

To remedy this, he suggests first identifying what's valuable, then assessing your calendar and reducing non-value items, and finally, reallocating your time, shifting from goals to value activities.

While the article is directed at helping managers and their employees shift to higher value activities, I'd add that the same principles should be applied at a macro level organizationally. 

To start with, it's important to define a strategic hierarchy of organizational missions, objectives, strategies, and programs/projects that support those strategies. This can help ensure that program and project work is tied to value from the beginning. 

What about non-project activities? Some organizations consider all work to be "project" work. After all, even operational and sustaining work can be tied to an annual or quarterly bucket project, which itself is tied to the objective of "keeping the lights on". Percentage-based or effort-based resource allocations can be applied to that work.

In essence, the goal is to see the big picture of demand for people's time for the entire spectrum of activities. From there you can get a better sense about whether you're distributing that time wisely at an organizational level.

This is where resource planning and continuous reallocation based on priorities come in, always striving for greatest value (which we know can change over time). The result is greater business agility, less waste, and happier customers.

So, at a macro level, the same three principles outlined in the article apply:

  • Identify what's valuable (by setting a strategic hierarchy and tying programs and projects to it)
  • Aim to reduce non-value work (by assessing your funding and resource allocations by strategy)
  • Shift to high value work -- (by continuously reallocating based on priorities and value)

If this is combined with Hansen's article's recommendations for managers and employees to focus on value, then you can truly say you have a value-focused organization from the top-down and bottom-up.


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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.

Resource Planning Recognized Among Key Strategy Execution Principles

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Brightline has published an excellent set of 10 guiding principles to bridge the ubiquitous gap between strategy design and delivery, and I think it should be required reading for all leaders. 

The Brightline Initiative™ is a coalition of leading global organizations assembled by the Project Management Institute (PMI), dedicated to, in their words, "helping executives bridge the expensive and unproductive gap between strategy design and delivery." 

I'm particularly pleased that that they recognized the importance of resource planning in their list of 10 key guiding principles, particularly on points 3 and 8.

In point 3 (Dedicate and mobilize the right resources), they say:

Actively balance “running the business” and “changing the business” by selecting and securing the right resources for each — they often have different needs. Recognize that team leadership skills are at a premium, and assign the best leaders with sufficient capacity to tackle head-on the most challenging programs and those essential for successful strategy implementation.

To build on this, part of resource planning is determining and prioritizing the various aspects of the business and aligning the right resources accordingly. A general rule of thumb is to give "running the business" the minimum effective amount of resources it needs (not shortchanging it, however, lest it become a critical issue) and giving the "change the business" initiatives the maximum effective resources, even applying a concentration of force where appropriate to strategic programs (to use an age-old military principle). Again, these are general guidelines, not unilateral rules. 

In point 8 (Check ongoing initiatives before committing to new ones), they state:

Add new initiatives in response to new opportunities, but first be sure you understand both the existing portfolio and your organization’s capacity to deliver change. Actively address any issues you discover.

This gets to the heart of resource planning: assessing capacity and keeping the existing portfolio in mind whenever considering new initiatives. It's possible that shifting resources, shifting projects, or seeking alternate sourcing may be required. In any case, potential capacity issues shouldn't be ignored, as many companies are prone to do.

It's great to see these oft-forgotten principles recognized as key elements of the strategy execution process. They also promote other principles I've always touted, including simplicity, engagement, and cross-business cooperation, I highly encourage reading the full list and sharing it with others in your organization.


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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

Resource Management Success Factors: Benchmarks Are Consistent

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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.


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

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 

3 Drivers of Successful Strategy Execution

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In this informative 7-minute video from Harvard Business Review titled "Why Strategy Execution Unravels--And What To Do About It," three cornerstones of successful execution are discussed, as well as five common myths. 

Specifically, the cornerstones are:

1) Coordination - Coordinating across business units, keeping key information clear and simple (and make sure your systems support cross-business unit management as well). The video offers a smart reminder that execution should not be top down, but should be driven from middle managers closest to the action, with general guidance from the top. This is where the crisp, simple messaging is vital.

2) Agility - Rapidly adapting to change in line with strategy, even if it means shifting people across business units (but beware of chasing every opportunity; strategic focus is key)

3) Reallocation - Constantly reallocating resources and funds based on current strategy and priorities (allocation isn't a one-time decision)

I couldn't agree more regarding all of this. Having a clearly communicated set of strategies and business priorities that are coordinated across the business; being adaptive to change through regular portfolio reviews and adaptive delivery methods; and regularly reallocating resources and funds based on priorities are all crucial to successful strategy execution.

These principles are what we've been preaching at PDWare for some time now and what I've been writing about for ages, so it's great to see it so well articulated in this insightful video. As HBR reports, 75% of organizations struggle to implement strategy. I'd venture to say it's because they're not paying attention to cross-business coordination, execution agility, and regular reallocation. 

One telling statistic highlighted is that only 16% of team leaders and frontline supervisors feel they have a good grasp of how priorities fit together. This is because communication is often focused on quantity over quality and dilutes the message with too many elements.

An example in the video depicted a company trying to communicate a message with dozens of objectives, values, priorities, competencies, and new terms. Who's going to remember all that let alone care about it? Another mistake is an over-focus on hitting the numbers vs. compelling messages and rewards that actually drive behavior.  Sadly, I've seen all of this in far too many organizations.

For those seeking to better execute on strategy, viewing the video will be 7 minutes well spent.


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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 

Are You Leveraging Your Team's Strengths?

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Robert Heinlein said, "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

It's wise advise. So why do so many organizations keep trying to do this to their teams? 

How many of you have seen this: Accidental project managers who are great subject matter experts, but don't know a thing about influencing people or bringing a project home; Excellent technicians who can't relate to human beings but yet are thrown in customer relationship-heavy positions; Leaders who don't in any way, shape, or form belong leading people, but who were put there because they were good "doers" (aka the Peter Principle).

How much time is wasted coaching and training in attempts to fix people's weaknesses instead of amplifying their strengths? I was once asked by a client to help their best technical person, a real workhorse, become more customer-friendly. It was apparently causing him and the team frustration when customers complained. I said, "Why on earth would you want to do that? He is who he is, which happens to be a superstar technician. Better to pair him with someone who IS customer-friendly." Fortunately, they had someone in mind (once they freed her up from some activities that weren't in her area of expertise) and it worked wonders.

Having team members work against their strengths creates what I'd call "negative flow," counteracting any resource productivity improvements.  If Flow (as its conceptual creator Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines it) is about finding the optimal balance of applied skill and challenge, having people work against their strengths (negative flow) creates friction and resistance, slowing team progress along the way. This is very much a resource planning and productivity issue, yet is often overlooked as such. 

One colleague in the positive psychology movement compared it to bringing in a pitching coach to strengthen the left arm of a right-handed baseball pitcher. It's fruitless. Likewise, Tom Peters once lamented that you don't take a first violinist in an orchestra and automatically say, "He's so good, let's make him conductor!" yet companies do the equivalent all the time.

You can learn "stuff." Attitude and natural strengths, not so much. Fortunately, there are tools for assessing your natural strengths. Perhaps the best known is the CliftonStrengths Assessment (formerly called Strengthsfinder) from Gallup, made popular in Marcus Buckingham's books, which I highly recommend.

Perhaps Peter Drucker said it best when he said, "The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths in ways that make weaknesses irrelevant."

Knowing this, think about your teams. What are some ways you can pair or augment strengths that can make their weaknesses irrelevant? It can be a tricky puzzle, but it beats the alternative.


WEBINAR ANNOUNCEMENT: Join me and PDWare CTO Paul Samarel this Thursday, June 28 at 11am EST for a one hour FREE Webinar on Strategy Execution. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.


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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