Planview launches 2014 State of Resource Management and Capacity Planning Report

Global leader in portfolio & resource management and project collaboration, Planview, has just announced the results of its 2014 benchmark survey into resource management and capacity planning. The company’s Solutions Marketing Manager, Steve Beaumont, will be giving a full presentation on the findings and their implications at Project Challenge, on Tuesday 14th October at 11.15 am in the Masterclass Zone. Prior to that, he treats us to a sneak preview of what we can learn from the data and how best to apply the learning.

Register free to see the presentation

Visit the dedicated website to explore the survey results

The 2014 survey: Key findings

planviewOne of the striking themes that runs through this year’s survey is the difference in performance between higher and lower maturity organisations when it comes to resource management and capacity planning. That divergence has a potential impact on how companies operate in these areas, but the good news is that the findings also highlight opportunities for those who are less mature to try and address the challenges and improve the way in which they approach these areas.

Resource management and capacity planning: Interconnected but not interchangeable

In our experiencPain_pointse at Planview it’s important to understand that resource management and capacity planning are separate but related disciplines. People often perceive them as the same thing, but they’re not. Each requires attention and improvement if you’re going to improve how you utilise resources, achieve higher value and drive organisational efficiency.

It’s therefore important to take a holistic view across the whole organisation in terms of both current projects and the project pipeline. Managing your resources effectively means not just staying on top of what’s currently happening, but also ensuring visibility across the work that’s pending. You need to focus on people, processes, and underlying technologies to crack this challenge.

The business case for controlling capacity and resources

During the survey we talked to different types of organisations, demonstrating that this is a truly cross-sector issue. IT projects, product launches, service delivery…all of these areas face different challenges, but they all share the need to plan in order to be proactive rather than reactive.

A key focus of the results highlights the business impact of not addressing these areas properly. The top risk identified by respondents was the inability to deliver projects on time. Another was missed business opportunities (38% identified this area). If you haven’t got control of these areas – and you’re not focusing on the right projects in the right way – then you risk missing out. That applies both to monetising projects and to improving your market profile by delivering projects successfully and meeting increasingly stringent client expectations. Another significant risk is the escalation of project costs. If you’re not deploying the right resources at the right level then projects will inevitably overrun, driving the overall costs up.

Capacity planning: The importance of organisational integrationMaturity_level

Capacity planning in particular must be approached in a holistic and integrated way, because it is so closely linked to resource demand. If we look at a project from an IT perspective, for example, the capacity planning process has to include all the stakeholders, IT cannot make crucial capacity decisions in isolation. In order to plan and allocate capacity correctly, we must first fully understand the objectives and trade-offs within the business. One of the most common project pain points is that of unrealistic commitments that cannot then be fulfilled. That stems from a lack of understanding of the demands and how they all fit together. So you need to have that discussion with stakeholders, marry and balance the demands and align that back to the business objectives and value as a whole to ensure you’re getting the best return out of those projects.

The maturity bubble: Does it really matter?

To improve project performance, organisations at all levels need to get a handle on these areas. Even high maturity organisations are striving to get better – and for lower maturity organisations it’s crucial to bring resource management and capacity planning into the mix. Part of the survey’s analysis looks at potential steps that can buisness _risksbe adopted at different maturity levels. But one of the obvious trends that emerges is that the initial focus tends to be more around resource management than capacity planning – even amongst the more mature organisations. It seems logical that, for SMEs working with limited resources, improving the management of those resources is a sensible place to start. Once a strong process is established, you can then build on that baseline from a capacity planning point of view.

One area where higher maturity organisations perhaps have the edge is the ‘softer’ skills sets. Resource management is not just about understanding and allocating technical skills. People management and leadership are also vital. At the end of the day, your people will undoubtedly be the most significant factor in the success of a project, so you need to have the right mind-set and approach these challenges in the right way.

The role of technology in responsive project management

We work in a volatile climate these days, so flexibility in the project portfolio is important. Some of the findings show that mature organisations engage in much more rigorous and ongoing capacity planning. They’re constantly reassessing their focus, understanding likely changes in their market and positioning themselves to be able to react to that. The less mature approach is to put together an annual plan and stick to it, come what may. But things do change, so regular revisiting allows you to adjust your portfolio if something isn’t working.wheel

Ultimately, for commercial success, it’s vital to link resource management and capacity planning back to strategy. It’s all very well having lots of projects running, but if those projects aren’t aligned to the strategy then you risk wasting time and money. Not all functions and planning have to be centralised, but at the very least you need a way of getting the enterprise-wide view of what’s going on, even if that’s then broken down into more discreet functions. That’s where good technology can come in. The right technology can allow different areas to function in the most suitable way, whilst also maintaining an overview of how different projects and resources are functioning and performing together. That equips you to get the most value from your resources, connecting them to your projects, financials and reporting for up-to-date information that will drive better decision making.

These areas are Planview’s entire focus and we’ve been specialising in them for 24 years now. Over that time we have built up a comprehensive information resource around best practice, enabling us to bring that experience to the table for our customers. Part of our success lies in the strong partnership approach we take with our customers. They input actively into the software’s development process, helping us to drive the product forward. If these are areas that you want to tackle then come and see us at Project Challenge, we’ll be delighted to discuss the issues with you!

Steve Beaumont has worked in the Business Systems area for over 30 years. Beaumont spent 12 years working as a Business Systems Consultant for Deloitte, Coopers & Lybrand, and Ernst & Young, where he managed a team of consultants. Beaumont worked with a number of clients to improve and automate their business processes through the selection and implementation of new systems. Beaumont has spent a number of years working in the software industry helping to sell, implement and drive the enhancement of software solutions designed to help both PSOs and IT organisations to manage their businesses and deliver successful projects.

 

Find out more:

Register free to attend Project Challenge and see Steve’s full presentation, on Tuesday 14th October at 11.15am

Visit Planview on stands 104/106 throughout Project Challenge

Download the 2014 State of Resource Management and Capacity Planning Report