The Downward Spiral of Bad Resource Management
You very well may find yourself in this “downward spiral” as the consequences of poor resource and capacity planning spiral upward. A chain reaction of negative effects can happen very quickly affecting the entire team or even the entire company.
Imagine how, at the beginning of the process, employees are assigned to a project, but not their true capacity isn’t really considered. Milestones are set based on pressure from customers, sales and the market, without anticipating potential decreases in capacity. This lack of resource management can quickly trigger delays in the project. The overly optimistic milestones cannot be achieved. The increased pressure on the employees results in reduce the quality of work. Processes are ignored or rushed, and work packages are started without the necessary deliverables or quality assurance. Keeping to the project schedule is already impossible.
For me, it was often the case at this point that I already knew that the project was about to derail. Yet, I always had the hope that everything will be okay. You know the thoughts: “if we can just get Nina to support the project team for the short term, or if we pull Bob off of that other project, then surely we can make it work.”
Capacity must be added to get the project back on track – both in terms of scheduling and quality. That means additional employees are called in to barrel through the most important work packages. This manpower will either come from other internal projects, or from an external source. There are problems with both. External resources are expensive, and they often take longer to organize and train, which can delay the already crippled project yet again. The biggest problem with reallocating internal resources is that they have to be taken off other projects, and that reduces the capacity for those projects. So, you may end up making many fires out of what was originally only one fire.