Project Management

Spring clean your portfolio: Resource management

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A blog that looks at all aspects of project and program finances from budgets, estimating and accounting to getting a pay rise and managing contracts. Written by Elizabeth Harrin from

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Spring clean your portfolio: Resource management


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Earlier this month I looked at a spring cleaning plan for sprucing up your portfolio and giving the live projects a bit of a health check. This doesn’t have to take long, but if spring is in the air where you are, it’s the perfect time to reassure yourself and stakeholders that everything is in order.

Last time we reviewed the portfolio in a general sense to check for alignment and relevance. Today, we’re talking about resource optimisation and reallocation, which is Step 2 (step 3 is setting priorities and a future plan – we’ll talk about that next time).

In this step, I’d encourage you to explore strategies for optimising resource allocation to ensure that key projects have the necessary support, while eliminating waste and inefficiencies. And that doesn’t mean we’re spring cleaning the workforce – this isn’t about layoffs or making roles redundant.

resource management

Review underutilised resources

Check in with your resource managers or team leaders and find out if there are any colleagues who are underutilised. This shows up in two ways:

  1. they might not be working at full capacity as they haven’t been assigned enough work
  2. they might be working on tasks that are not a suitable level for their expertise.

In my experience, we don’t often find people who have free time or are on the bench without good reason. Work expands to fill the time, so you might not find anyone sitting around waiting for work to be assigned to them. Make sure people are working on the right tasks and not filling up their time with smaller, less priority projects or team process improvements and things that aren’t helping the portfolio move closer to the strategic goals.

Then, check in with managers about their team members who have been assigned work that really isn’t a good use of their skills. I’m thinking of people who are doing tasks that are below their skill level, often because there aren’t any junior people available. If that looks like it is the case for your teams, see whether there are options to move work around so people with the right skill level are working on appropriate things. This can really help team morale as well as skill up some valuable resources for the future.

Check your tools

Next, check your resource management tools. Is that spreadsheet still doing it for you? Is it time to invest the effort into setting up resource profiles in the tools you already have?

Software can help with resource management, planning, forecasting and decision making, so if you don’t have anything suitable, maybe now you’ve reached a level of maturity across the portfolio where you could put together a case for investment.

Look at upcoming resource needs

Finally, take a look at projects in the pipeline. We’ve cleaned up what’s gone before, but part of spring cleaning is also making space for the new.

Look at what work is coming up and whether resources are available and have the right skills to be able to tackle new opportunities that arise. That might mean spending some time identifying what skills need to be trained in to the current teams or recruited in, or making decisions about contractors joining the team if necessary.

With this step about resource management, what you’re trying to do is identify resources and make sure they are working on appropriate projects – shifting key resources to areas of higher priority or need as appropriate, while taking future needs into account.

Next time I’ll look at some ways that clear priorities can help with your portfolio spring cleaning. See you soon!

Posted on: May 07, 2024 08:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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Md. Golam Rob Talukdar Project Manager| AWR Development (BD) Ltd. Cox's Bazer , Bangladesh
Excellent Elizabeth Harrin , Yes See you soon with your Blogs !

Ming Yeung Compliance Manager| Blockchain Venture Capital Inc. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hello Elizabeth, spring has sprang where April showers bring May flowers (as the cliché goes). I concur with your view where spring cleaning is vital to declutter and re-invigorate project objectives, program direction and product roadmap and check for alignment and relevance with the enterprise's standing vision and mission. Thank you for the timely article.

Kwiyuh Michael Wepngong Financial Management Specialist | US Peace Corps / Cameroon Yaounde, Centre, Cameroon
Thanks Elizabeth

Reshma Rizvi Scientific Project Manager| University Of Saskatchewn Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Nice read, Thanks Elizabeth!

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