The PMO and its methodologies have evolved to encompass a large scheme of processes. Yet, resource requesting process largely remains unstructured.
We are all familiar with the endless loop that the staff request process creates. When a requirement arises, the manager in charge gets in touch with the resource manager. The resource manager in turn gets in touch with different team leads to find the particular resource with the stated requirements. This process is not only cumbersome and time consuming but also largely undefined. Part of the problem is the fact that a typical project unit is most often not equipped with a resource scheduling tool that makes availability statuses clear.
Thus, the resource request process, which should ideally be a priority, ends up being something that teams compromise on. Here are a few quick fixes to help you get out of the staff request loop:
1. Standardize resource demand requirements and minimum timelines
What is wrong: Most organizations hardly have a protocol that managers have to follow while placing a resource request. As a result, resource managers either have to skim through a long list of unwanted details or have to follow up for essential information. Added to that, they receive an overwhelming number of requests on a daily basis. The process further becomes laborious when they are left without a resource scheduling tool that can assess such situations.
How to fix it: Standardize the requesting process with specifying both minimum and maximum number of fields applicable. Make certain aspects like availability (in terms of scheduling), years of experience, location etc., mandatory. Besides the nature of the request, the timeline it comes with is important too. Make sure to have about 6-8 weeks allocated to such requests.
2. All key members must be given complete forecasting visibility
What is wrong: Most often, managers themselves get notified of a requirement at the nick of the moment. As a result, they cannot alert resource schedulers earlier even if they want to. A gap between business and project units, and the fact that managers use tools that just give them a worm’s eye view of projects is what causes this stump.
How to fix it: Organizations need to make sure that key stakeholders on either end have absolute visibility of all the upcoming projects and the resources they have. Staff skills, the roles they undertake, years of experience, availability etc., are all important factors to consider in this visibility. The key stakeholders in this scenario will include resource managers, project team heads as well as business development heads. This also helps determine the nature of their hiring season and helps them in scheduling excess resources.
3. Prioritise based on criticality of the project
What is wrong: As shocking as it sounds, resource managers currently have almost a ‘first come, first served’ system, simply because of the sheer volume of the requests they deal with. This means that they spend a lot of their time finding resources for projects that do not add a lot of value while viable ones wait in line causing dangerous delays. On top of this, not all of such tools can help you in scheduling based on priority.
How to fix it: Organization-wide visibility also ensures that resource managers can ascertain the order of priority of the projects at hand. While they may need to be equipped with a tool or tie in with business units to be able to be do so, they wouldn’t have to spend months on an internal project while paying clients wait.
4. Automate your Resource Request Process
What is wrong: Most staff request processes are manual and are prone to time sucks or delegation delays because of cumbersome emails and a chain of endless phone calls. Worse still, attaining organization-wide visibility becomes impossible given dynamic shifts and communication gaps and most often, the resource scheduling tool used (i.e. spreadsheets) is highly primitive. As a result, a lot of precious time is spent on internal staff requesting.
How to fix it: While getting into the nitty-gritties of the process may work for smaller teams; as your team expands, automating the process becomes really important. As stated earlier, scheduling tools that let you search and narrow down resources at one go is what this day and age requires.
Saviom is an intuitive Resource Scheduling Tool that lets you find the right resource for your project without having to get into the infamous ‘staff request’ loop. In just a few clicks, our automated process allows you to place a detailed request with your Resource Manager ensuring that you are allocated the perfect resource for the job.
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