How do we manage the lack of labor to deliver projects?

Project management consists of many different factors, one of which is resource allocation. Resources are what drives a project forward. Without the appropriate resources a project is sure to fail. Unfortunately, organizations typically have limited resources, which means the right resources might not always be available. When there are limited resources and you need to deliver, it takes careful planning to meet your goals. There are a few steps you can take to insure your success.

First, it is important to get together a plan. Breakdown all the work you need to accomplish. See how much effort it will take to complete the tasks. When you do, this gives you a clear picture of the expected work and it might even be less then you initially imagined. If you are unsure of the effort required, as is often the case early in a project, estimate to the best of your efforts. These plans can always be updated at a later date, and in fact, often should be updated periodically to keep the accuracy high. Once you have this breakdown, go through and assign priorities to each task. If you know some task can wait to a later date when more resources are available, put that task last or on hold.

Next you will need to communicate with the team responsible for resource allocation. Present to them your breakdown with its priorities. They will not be able to fully staff you but they will understand which items are critical for the project’s success and can make the appropriate allocations. Be sure you communicate your projects needs clearly to prevent any misunderstanding and further delays on the project.

The last step to make sure your project is moving in the right direction is to repeat this exercise often. Week by week the needs of a project can shift drastically. A project manager must be proactively monitoring the needs of the client and communicating this to their team. Resource availability can also change week by week so it is important to make sure you get the most from your current resources. With diligence and careful monitoring, even projects short on resources can be delivered on time.