The Employee—A Collection of Unique Qualifications and Characteristics
In the world of PPM, the term resource is often used for employees. So, when we talk about resource planning or resource management in the context of project portfolio management, we are talking about the processes an organization uses to effectively assign the appropriate employees (including the right number of employees with the right skills, who are available) to successfully execute the projects in the portfolio. Many people, myself included, believe that employees are a company’s greatest resource.
Why are employees such a great resource for a company? Because each employee has unique characteristics (i.e., experience, specialized knowledge, intellect, diligence, etc.), and these characteristics can be thought of as individual assets for the company. The unique combination of these assets produces highly individualized employees, each of whom affects and impacts projects in different ways.
At Meisterplan, we believe it is not only important that you find available people to execute your projects, but it is even more important that you find available people with the right skills. Some of the features within the application that support this concept are:
- Role-based capacity planning—assign the required roles to future projects during long-term planning
- Skills management—add specific skills, knowledge and characteristics of employees in your resource pool.
- Resource-based capacity planning—assign well-qualified employees to projects according to capacity to avoid bottlenecks and overloading employees
While we are proud of our tool, and we truly think it can help you find the right people to successfully execute your project portfolio, we do realize there are limitations. Not all characteristics, knowledge and skills, nor the extent of those abilities can easily be added into the skills management function of resource management software. And this is where you come into play.
Even if they have the same academic education and professional experience, employees have different ability levels, different levels of motivation and varying degrees of speed. Therefore, it makes sense for you to plan your roles objectively, but don’t assign employees on a purely mathematical level. When you assign an employee to a role, you must take into consideration the individuality of that employee.
- Which qualified employees are available for the project
- Which strengths (and weaknesses) the employees bring
- What special knowledge and skills they have
- In which area the employees are most valuable
Ideally, well-qualified resources with the most extensive and appropriate qualifications will be assigned the most difficult tasks. This, in turn, means that you should be able to predict which projects may be problematic, risky or complex. If you feel that none of the team members are up to such a task, you have the opportunity to search internally for a more suitable employee or hire an external specialist.
Now the question is: how do you find out what value each employee brings to a particular project?
Of course, this is easiest if you have already worked with the team and can easily assess the strengths and weaknesses of the employees. You could also make an effort to get to know them better before the project starts. Another option is to analyze past projects and their teams to identify specific patterns. Or you can get the opinion of other project managers and resource managers, who already know the employees.