Resource Management and Capacity Planning

The success of an agency’s workflow hinges on a careful balance of supply and demand. While getting more projects into the pipeline is a plus, not having enough people to get them done can mean overworked team members and late deliveries. 

Capacity planning is the process of capturing demand against the project portfolio and calculating how many resources are required to then meet that demand.  

Usually, capacity planning can be broken down into three parts:  

  1. How much your team can get done within their physical working schedule. You can calculate how much work your team can realistically do within their capacity hours. See also how agile velocity metrics can help you visualize this! 
  2. A transparent pool that takes into account your team’s capacity and skillset. Each team member’s availability and skillset is used to make sure their scheduled effectively 
  3. Effective capacity planning gives team leaders a better look at their resources’ availability and schedules. Team leaders should be able to see what people are working on, and make quick decisions about how many tasks they can take on without burning them out.  
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Curious to know  how Steerco can support and help you implement Capacity Management and other ITIL processes? Please contact us for more information.

     

    During the earlier stages of planning, the detailed WBS may not be known, along with the resource profile, both of which will develop over time. It’s therefore good practice to define a Planning Horizon which can be used to allocate resources using a logical approach.  
    Planning Horizon  

    Depending on the length of the project (and the pace of change), not all the resources will be identified long term. Therefore, it is good practice to define a Planning Horizon which can be used to allocate people using a logical approach. Planning Horizon is the amount of time an organization will look into the future when preparing a strategic plan: 

    • Named Resources 0-6 weeks
    • Named and Generic Resources 6 weeks-3 months
    • Mostly Generic Resources 3 months+
    In order to utilise this combined approach, we first need to understand the relationship between Generic and Named Resources. Generic resources are roles, they are not real people. They’re used to capture demand during the early stages of planning and then replaced with named resources later in the project lifecycle, this requires constant reforecasting. It’s important to realise that, when combining generic and named resources, that generic resources do not represent capacity, only real people can satisfy demand. 

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    Why Change Management is Important

    Still wondering why change management is important?  

    Organizations don’t change just because of a new system or process – they change because people change. And you might probably know that people don’t like changes and that is why we need to talk about change management.  Change management refers to the collection of process, skills, tools and techniques that enables organizations to drive the achievement of a desired new state.  

    Change Management Process
    1. Change planning – it is a fundamental step in change management process. It is very important to have a clear case for change, identification of recourses, production of the change management plan and timescale. 
    2. Change Engagement – it is very important to work on the engagement of the stakeholders towards change. This process enables you take a clear picture of who is going to sponsor the change internally, which stakeholder groups are going to be impacted, how do they feel about the upcoming change, and what the communications and engagement plan looks like.  
    3. Change implementation- this step refers to actual delivery of change and therefore it contains aspects such as updates or training of end-users. 
    4. Change reinforcement – implementing the change in company’s culture requires reinforcement over time. It is all about the plans and vehicles available for reinforcement, such as future training or coaching.  
    5. Change Evaluation- review and assessment of the project. This evaluation should be carried out at the process level as well as the outcome level so that lessons can be learned.  
    Change Management Models
    The Change Curve  

    One of the most powerful and popular models for change management is the Kubler-Ross’ change curve. It plots the motivation and performance of individuals over the time, and it helps to build an understanding of where everyone is. This model is also being used to deal with grief, but some argue that it offers useful guidance to change management too.  

    Kotter’s 8-steps  

    1. Create a sense of urgency  
    2. Form a powerful coalition  
    3. Create a vision for change  
    4. Communicate the vision  
    5. Remove obstacles  
    6. Create short-term wins  
    7. Build on the change  
    8. Make change stick  

    This model is focused on the to ‘do’ approach which is followed by 8 steps.  

    ADKAR

     The ADKAR model is a useful tool for helping individuals cope and plan for the change process, as well as monitoring their reactions as it occurs. Despite the model occurring in order, it is also important to recognize that individuals will be at different stages of the process at different times. ADKAR is an acronym for a structured number of steps to follow when handling change.  

    A – Awareness: are you aware of the upcoming change? 

    Awareness is usually raised by sponsor or ambassador using newsletters, videos or company meetings. Employees must be aware of the need for change.  

    D – Desire: do you have the desire for change? 

    Employees must have the desire to participate and fully support the change.  Ambassadors can inspire the desire by organizing intake workshops or other way of testing.  

    K – Knowledge: are you knowledgeable about the change? 

    By gathering knowledge about the change process the goal of the change become clear for everybody. Trainings managed by coaches are one of the best ways to gain knowledge about the change.  

    A- Ability: are you able to operate the change? 

    Q &A sessions or helpdesk help employees to measure their ability. Because of the ability to learn new skills and by managing behavior, change is accepted.  

    R – Reinforcement: is the change being reinforced over time? 

    Reinforcement to sustain the change makes it clear for all employees that there is no turning back and the best way to do that is organize surveys.  

     The ADKAR model takes a bottom-up approach for the management of change, focusing on the employees. Change is readily and reliably deployed, resulting in higher success rates by giving set goals to meet. 

    Drop Us a Line
    Curious to know  how Steerco can support and help you implement Change Management and other ITIL processes? Please contact us for more information.

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      How to effectively manage your stakeholders

      Stakeholders are simply humans or groups that hold a stake in the project. Each human is different with their own interests and that is why it is sometimes difficult to manage them.
      Here are some tips for managing Stakeholders better:

      • Be authentic!
      • What’s in it for them?
      • Communicate, communicate, communicate!
      • Be emotionally intelligent
      • Learn what makes them tick!

      Managing stakeholders means not leaving their engagement level to a chance but also playing an active role in ensuring their support and reduction of any kind of resistance. Stakeholder management is important to keep you client happy and balance expectations from both sides.

      This process involves three key steps:
      1. Stakeholder identification
      Do not make a mistake here, anyone can be a key stakeholder, not just sponsor or other direct stakeholder. Here are some questions that could help you identify a stakeholder:

      • Who will feel the effects of the project?
      • Who is responsible for making decisions in the project?
      • Who has not been involved but should have been involved in the project?

      It is important to mention that identification of a stakeholder is not one time activity but rather a continuous process throughout the project. Stakeholders influence each other so this process should not be rushed.

      2. Stakeholder analysis
      Now when the stakeholder is identified it is time to analyze it. Stakeholder analysis can be done using a power-interest matrix.

       

      1. Keep them satisfied. Stakeholders usually have very little interest in the project but they have great power over it in terms of continuation. The best way is to keep them in a loop by inviting to project updates or other occasional meetings.
      2. Minimal effort. Some stakeholders have little power over the project thus the best thing is not to overlook them.
      3. Engage closely. Stakeholders that have high level of power and interest are the most important. This type of stakeholder that you should keep in your side and have daily reports. 1-2-1 updates.
      4. Keep them informed. This applies to stakeholders that have low power over the project but high interest. The best thing is to provide them with daily newsletter with updates.

      Keep in mind that work in progress process and important stakeholder of today may be different tomorrow.

      3. Management of Stakeholder’s engagement
      Project management is all about relationships and handling some stakeholders may require specific skillset such as:

      • Excellent communication
      • Ability to resolve and influence conflicts
      • Problem-solving ability
      • Emotional intelligence

      It is important that stakeholders would feel comfortable expressing concerns or expectations and the project manager is responsible for that.

      Despite best efforts, it’s always a challenge to please everyone so you should pick your battles wisely. Also despite no matter how much effort you put into managing Stakeholders, there will always be those that you cannot win over.
      Don’t get too frustrated, and remember the 20-60-20 change rule:

      • 20% will be on board and ready to do what’s necessary to implement the changes.
      • 60% will understand the need for change, still be skeptical of it, but grudgingly willing to go along.
      • 20% will not be on board at all.

      While it’s up to a leader to champion the cause of change, there is never likely to be a situation when 100% of the staff are fully on board. The first step in managing this issue is accepting that reality. It’s hard to do!

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      Curious about what Steerco can contribute to your stakeholder management process? Please contact us for more information.

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        4 tips how to learn your lessons best in Project Management

        At Steerco we often see that organizations still struggle to truly embed continual improvement and lessons learned into their way of working. Here are a few tips on what to focus on:
        1. Take time to capture all the lessons throughout your project
        Collecting lessons after each key milestone will help you run a successful project. As the project nears the end of its life, your project team will start to disband, so it is important to capture your lessons before you run out of time and before memories can fade. Working within the Scrum framework gives teams a really nice opportunity to do this, with a retrospective session in every single sprint. 
        2. Capture practical recommendations
        Spend time collecting reviews on what well went and what did not and actively use this to improve how you operate in the future. It will also help you to identify where you need support implementing certain actions. At Steerco we advice to have a more interactive approach where input can be collected from multiple stakeholders where the project manager is the facilitator of the workshop. Key to success is not to focus only on the issues that occurred but to focus more on what could we have done or can we do to prevent this in the future.  
        3. Share your lessons learned
        Sharing your knowledge and storing your lessons in a central location will help to kick-off your project successful. Also by surfacing all lessons in one place, this means that lessons cannot be forgotten about in an archived project closure document. Many projects also suffer from similar challenges, so don’t be afraid to speak to other colleagues outside of your program as it may bring a new perspective; perhaps they have already overcome this situation before.
        4. Collaborate
        Focus on involving your project team and key stakeholders in retrospective sessions. Don’t only focus on getting feedback from colleagues, try to foster an open and honest culture where people feel valued enough where they feel comfortable in discussing difficult topics 
        In the traditional method of completing the lessons learned at the end of a project it quite often becomes a paper exercise never to see the light of day again. At Steerco we highly recommend to embed continual improvement within your delivery process. Once this continual improvement becomes second nature for a project team, it’s only a matter of time before you see real maturity and ultimately a better finished product!
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        Curious about what Steerco can contribute to your Lessons Learned process? Please contact us for more information.

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          PMO trends for 2021 – real-time data

          Maybe the biggest PMO trend for 2021 is regarding data where we expect real-time data transformed into information, available everywhere at any time.

          Because we operate in such dynamic organizations, things are changing rapidly. We see PMOs at our clients that are challenged in providing the actual status about their program or project progress, risks issues, or financials.

          The main cause is that many still report static data to their sponsor every other week, using Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel or Word templates. Doing so, by the time the sponsor receives and has read the report, the data is already outdated which could lead to surprises or misunderstanding between the sponsor and project manager.

          For the project manager, it is often incredibly time consuming to draft these reports, especially if other key stakeholders also would like to have a report but in a slightly different format or system.

          Using project portfolio management tools like our Digital PMO solution, it can easily resolve this challenge for both the sponsor, other key stakeholders and the PMO or project manager. Daily managing your planning, budget, risks, issues, resources, and changes in such a solution that automatically presents up-to-date information in real-time.

          Microsoft Power BI

          Using Microsoft Power BI it is very easy to visualize that data. For example, the Portfolio Dashboard provides executives with a high-level view of the overall status of the portfolio. Project status reports show the progress made, status of issues, risks, and financials.

          With Microsoft Power BI the project manager can only share the link to the report to the sponsor once, and from this the sponsor can click through to always see real-time information. If you want to present the reports – for example to use offline – you can use automatic subscriptions so the reports will be shared on a file location or via mail, and even use templates that are branded for your organization and/or program.

          Plan next steps

          If you would like to discuss how real-time reporting using Microsoft Power BI could benefit you and your organization, then please get in touch with one of our consultants.

          Any data, anywhere, any time!
          Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics service that gives you a single view of your most critical business data. Monitor the health of your portfolio using a live dashboard, create rich interactive reports with Microsoft Power BI Desktop and access your data on the go with native  Microsoft Power BI Mobile apps. It’s easy, fast, and free. https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/features

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          PMO trends for 2021 – Strategic PMOs

          In our previous post we shared the first PMO trend for 2021 where we expect more hybrid project approaches and that PMOs should be flexible in adopting and supporting an Agile, waterfall or a combination both being a hybrid approach. Here is our second item we predict for 2021.

           

          Centralized and Strategic PMOs

          Organizations often have more than one single PMO. Even within for example an IT department you will find decentralized PMO functions. We foresee these will start to disappear in favor of the centralized enterprise PMO.
          The enterprise PMO should support the enterprise portfolio management which is aligned to the strategic objectives of the organization. Strategic portfolio management is better in prioritizing the right projects reaching those objectives with minimized business risks.

           

          Within our Digital PMO solution it is very easy to create strategic themes and drivers. Combined with Power BI reporting this will give executives a good overview of the overall status of the strategic portfolios; the overall health, progress, adherence to budget as well as summarizing key performance indicators across all projects in the portfolio supporting the strategic objectives.

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          PMO trends for 2021 – Hybrid Methods

          This year we will probably still have many uncertainties and it will be difficult to predict what comes our way. What we can try to predict is the PMO trends for this year. We think there a couple of items to be aware of for 2021. We will share them through a series of posts.

           

          Hybrid Project Methods

          Agile methodologies will continue to increase and expand. However organizations also find that running every project using Agile sometimes is just not working. Agile is not the holy grail they expected. If your project is straight forward and the goals are clear it may be better to use a hybrid approach using a mix of Agile and traditional waterfall. At Steerco we believe organizations should pick what works best for each situation, there is no good or bad.

           

          PMOs should be flexible to the chosen approach and can be at risk of appearing as the ‘weakest link’ if they resist change and insist on maintaining traditional waterfall approaches within organizations undergoing digital transformation.

           

          Our Digital PMO solution, using Azure boards, Microsoft Project or Teams Planner can work with any methodology, whether it is pure waterfall, pure Agile or a hybrid approach. It is also possible to link projects into existing agile software such as JIRA.

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