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What is the best way to manage shared resources across a Program of 5 interdependent Projects?

Hi Mike:

I have been a PM  for 20+ years, but have a question that has stumped  me and you can probably answer it quickly.  Here goes, I have a 48k hour project that has now been split into 5 projects based on BR’s (business requirements).  Although each of these projects will kick-off a couple of weeks after the prior project they will all needing the same resources from our business groups (Architects, QA, Back-Office, etc…) and we have very limited resources.  Therefore, if an individual is allocated 75% on Project 1 then what do we do with that individual come Project 2?  

When I look at the way the projects occur there is some overlap in every one of the projects and I would like to figure out how I do something like an Enterprise Integration Implementation or whatever you recommend where we could benefit from possible synergies.  These projects all need to finish on 5/31/13 and they each have very different estimated hours ranging from 13K down to 5K.  The main problem is that they each need the same resource pool of folks and sometimes that might occur at the same time.  I have resource managers yelling because if they give me a person at 80% for Project 1 and they only have that resource for Project 2 as well they can’t give me them at 80% and if I do a 40% to 40% per each project the project won’t be done by 5/31/13.  What is the most effective way to manage these projects – they ultimately are really a program since they have dependencies on each other at different times.  Help!  Thank you!

asked 5 years ago by anonymous

1 Answer

First of all, you need to realize that the number of resources is almost as important as the percentage each resources is allocated.  You have 48,000 hours to complete a project in a little over 6 months.  You might start by thinking about that number. Is the requested end date realistic or will you have to recommend to the project sponsor that a different date is required.

Then, you most likely need to sit down with the team leads/PMs and have an up front planning session for each of the projects, working your way back to the end date.  This can be a high level plan, perhaps time boxing each project phase for each project.  You really need to work out as much parallelism in the projects as you can as the deadline is short.  You won't succeed if they all require the same resources and start at the same time.

Once you have an effective plan which the team buys into, you will have what you need to negotiate with resource managers.  Right now, without a solid plan, they are legitimately concerned about how the resources will be applied.
answered 5 years ago by sdcapmp (45,840 points)

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