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Topics: Integration Management, PMO, Resource Management
Is resource issue tracking redundant?
Keeping this simple because the organization in question has no PMO, no OPM maturity, and few people with PM training. Someone has suggested that on a project health metrics view we include scope, schedule, budget, and resource indicators. As a long-time PM with plenty of training, theory, AND practice, I would assert that reporting resource health as a separate metric is overkill for such an infant PM structure. A shortage or overallocation of resources is going to be reflected in the other metrics, so why track it as yet another "light on the dashboard"? We will identify the root cause of project issues in whichever domain they occur, so there will be tracking and reporting when a schedule is delayed or at risk when a staffing issue arises, for instance. But, does anyone else include a metric on executive views just for resources?
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In my actual work place I was in charge to create what we call "one page report". The indicators on project/program/portfolio health are: overall, financial, schedule, resource, scope, risk/issues. Each one get a color because a calculated reason.
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1 reply by Shannon Mollenhauer
Jul 22, 2020 10:51 AM
Shannon Mollenhauer
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I appreciate the fact that you mentioned the indicators were based on a calculation. Management hasn't decided what parameters are used for EVM, scales for determining "red, yellow, green" ranges, or anything else. We're just manually changing an indicator icon based on how we "feel" things are going or if we think things are better or worse. Makes developing objective indicators a challenge.
Shannon -

There is a really good reason to include a resource indicator which has nothing to do with capacity. Projects are delivered by people and if team morale is low, that is something which needs to be highlighted to leadership. I've always recommended having measures for team and key stakeholder satisfaction on such reports - you can decide how objective/formal to go about evaluating this.

Kiron
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1 reply by Shannon Mollenhauer
Jul 22, 2020 10:53 AM
Shannon Mollenhauer
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You make a good point regarding team morale and key stakeholder sentiment. I'll keep those in mind. We may not have an objective measure at this point, but I include comments regarding those areas in the PM's narrative. But, everyone loves a good dashboard light!
Resource issues are a leading indicator that may be identified before it shows up on cost, schedule, or scope. They may also be included in risks and issues, but in many cases it is a systemic problem and deserves individual attention.

What it is of value on the dashboard is dependent on the business environment. If it's only an occasional problem, it may be covered under specific team risks. Dashboards should be customized to highlight the specific metrics which help drive the business. Likewise you don't mention supplier health, but in some business environments that may deserve its own spot on the dashboard if that is the risk area that is prevalent across programs.
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1 reply by Shannon Mollenhauer
Jul 22, 2020 10:56 AM
Shannon Mollenhauer
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Supplier health - often overlooked at this org and taken for granted. I may consider adding a section to status reporting for such an indicator, even if it's not easy to quantity or automate. Having a gauge that draws attention to the underlying circumstances might be just enough of a trigger to get someone to read the details.
Jul 21, 2020 8:43 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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In my actual work place I was in charge to create what we call "one page report". The indicators on project/program/portfolio health are: overall, financial, schedule, resource, scope, risk/issues. Each one get a color because a calculated reason.
I appreciate the fact that you mentioned the indicators were based on a calculation. Management hasn't decided what parameters are used for EVM, scales for determining "red, yellow, green" ranges, or anything else. We're just manually changing an indicator icon based on how we "feel" things are going or if we think things are better or worse. Makes developing objective indicators a challenge.
...
2 replies by Keith Novak and Sergio Luis Conte
Jul 22, 2020 11:35 AM
Keith Novak
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Getting management to establish a disciplined approach to stoplight colors has been a challenge I've struggled with numerous times. It is critical importance however if those colors are to convey important information. Overly simplistic approaches based on how everyone feels today tend to hide true issues but it is remarkably difficult to get people to agree to quantitative control limits.

Numerical limits are one approach and can work well for EVM type metrics. I've also implemented risk based approaches where we use a 5x5 risk grid where metrics are difficult to objectively measure. (How likely is it for the qualification test to fail, considering we're trying very hard to pass?) In experience, if 4 people were to rate the same risk, they come all within 1 square on the grid. That's fine. Pick a spot and don't worry about being exact. The conversation among the team of WHY everyone put it about the same place on the grid is far more valuable than whether we picked Yellow or Red for the stoplight on the one pager.
Jul 22, 2020 4:14 PM
Sergio Luis Conte
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In our case we do not use EVM (I do, but not the company as a whole will it is inside the standards). Reasons are a lot, no matter I was in charge to implement it. What we do is simple calculations based on things that could impact the company strategy. For example, the percentage of accepted deviation on risks, the percentage of accepted deviation on schedule, the number of high-medium-low risks (and we have a simple method to determine it for each risk) and things like that.
Jul 22, 2020 9:00 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Shannon -

There is a really good reason to include a resource indicator which has nothing to do with capacity. Projects are delivered by people and if team morale is low, that is something which needs to be highlighted to leadership. I've always recommended having measures for team and key stakeholder satisfaction on such reports - you can decide how objective/formal to go about evaluating this.

Kiron
You make a good point regarding team morale and key stakeholder sentiment. I'll keep those in mind. We may not have an objective measure at this point, but I include comments regarding those areas in the PM's narrative. But, everyone loves a good dashboard light!
I've found resource indicators to be more telling when looking at the full list of in-flight projects and the backlog of waiting projects, to gain a better understanding of when resources will be available to work on upcoming projects, potentially identify small initiatives that can be knocked out quickly between larger projects, and if we need to hire contractors to fill the gaps. This is not to say that there is no value at the individual project level, it's just good to be aware of the larger picture.

I'd like to be able to recommend a good tool for doing this, but it's mostly been a list in Excel and discussions with managers.
Jul 22, 2020 10:39 AM
Replying to Keith Novak
...
Resource issues are a leading indicator that may be identified before it shows up on cost, schedule, or scope. They may also be included in risks and issues, but in many cases it is a systemic problem and deserves individual attention.

What it is of value on the dashboard is dependent on the business environment. If it's only an occasional problem, it may be covered under specific team risks. Dashboards should be customized to highlight the specific metrics which help drive the business. Likewise you don't mention supplier health, but in some business environments that may deserve its own spot on the dashboard if that is the risk area that is prevalent across programs.
Supplier health - often overlooked at this org and taken for granted. I may consider adding a section to status reporting for such an indicator, even if it's not easy to quantity or automate. Having a gauge that draws attention to the underlying circumstances might be just enough of a trigger to get someone to read the details.
Jul 22, 2020 10:51 AM
Replying to Shannon Mollenhauer
...
I appreciate the fact that you mentioned the indicators were based on a calculation. Management hasn't decided what parameters are used for EVM, scales for determining "red, yellow, green" ranges, or anything else. We're just manually changing an indicator icon based on how we "feel" things are going or if we think things are better or worse. Makes developing objective indicators a challenge.
Getting management to establish a disciplined approach to stoplight colors has been a challenge I've struggled with numerous times. It is critical importance however if those colors are to convey important information. Overly simplistic approaches based on how everyone feels today tend to hide true issues but it is remarkably difficult to get people to agree to quantitative control limits.

Numerical limits are one approach and can work well for EVM type metrics. I've also implemented risk based approaches where we use a 5x5 risk grid where metrics are difficult to objectively measure. (How likely is it for the qualification test to fail, considering we're trying very hard to pass?) In experience, if 4 people were to rate the same risk, they come all within 1 square on the grid. That's fine. Pick a spot and don't worry about being exact. The conversation among the team of WHY everyone put it about the same place on the grid is far more valuable than whether we picked Yellow or Red for the stoplight on the one pager.
Jul 22, 2020 10:51 AM
Replying to Shannon Mollenhauer
...
I appreciate the fact that you mentioned the indicators were based on a calculation. Management hasn't decided what parameters are used for EVM, scales for determining "red, yellow, green" ranges, or anything else. We're just manually changing an indicator icon based on how we "feel" things are going or if we think things are better or worse. Makes developing objective indicators a challenge.
In our case we do not use EVM (I do, but not the company as a whole will it is inside the standards). Reasons are a lot, no matter I was in charge to implement it. What we do is simple calculations based on things that could impact the company strategy. For example, the percentage of accepted deviation on risks, the percentage of accepted deviation on schedule, the number of high-medium-low risks (and we have a simple method to determine it for each risk) and things like that.
Kiron and Sergio made good points
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