Did you know that half of all projects don’t succeed because they didn’t manage risks properly, and 85% of them get delayed because they didn’t spot these risks in time? These numbers highlight how important it is to handle resources well when trying to complete projects on time and within budget. If resources aren’t managed correctly, problems like skill shortages and reduced productivity can get in the way of a project’s success.
What’s more, these issues can harm the quality of the project and make clients unhappy. So, before you start a project, it’s crucial for managers to think ahead about any resource-related challenges and figure out how to make sure the project goes smoothly.
Now, let’s get started!
Related article: 10 Fail-Proof Habits of Highly Successful People
Common Types of Resource Risks in Projects
Resource risks are unexpected problems that can mess up a project and hurt the business. Here are some of the main resource risks you might encounter in project management:
Not Enough Skilled Workers
Sometimes, there aren’t enough workers with the right skills for a project because someone didn’t estimate how many were needed. This can mean that critical workers aren’t available when the project starts. Managers might have to rush to find skilled workers at the last minute, which can lead to mistakes and lower the project’s quality.
Going Over Budget
Project costs can go up for many reasons, like having to hire expensive resources. Sometimes, if the project’s scope changes suddenly, it might need more resources, which can blow the budget. Using workers who are too skilled or making last-minute changes to the resource plan can also make the project cost more.
If you schedule workers for tasks they don’t like or aren’t good at, set unrealistic deadlines, or don’t use their skills well, their productivity can drop, and they might not feel motivated. When resources aren’t used effectively, it can affect the project’s quality, speed, and deadlines.
When managers give out work without knowing if resources are available, it can lead to double bookings and overworking, which can stress out employees and make them quit unexpectedly. This causes delays and hurts the project’s quality.
Lack of Backup Plans
If crucial resources leave a project suddenly, it’s hard to replace them. Without a backup plan, the project can come to a halt. Losing key resources can also mean more work for the remaining employees, which can affect the project’s quality.
Now that we’ve looked at some resource risks in projects, let’s see how to minimise them.
Effective Strategies for Managing Resource Risks in Projects
To tackle resource risks in a project effectively, it’s essential for the manager to be well-prepared in advance. Here are some practical strategies to reduce resource risks:
Anticipate Project Demand to Identify Skill Gaps and Surpluses
When a project moves forward, project managers should estimate its resource needs and make resource requests accordingly. Resource managers can then assess these requirements, analyse the current pool of resources, and pinpoint any skill shortages or surpluses. This proactive approach allows for timely actions.
For skill shortages, managers can either provide training to existing resources or employ a strategy of temporary resource rotation and backfilling. This ensures that the right skills are available when needed. Conversely, if there’s excess capacity, managers can adjust project timelines, allocate resources to other projects, or consider resource optimization. This minimises unnecessary hiring or firing cycles and ensures projects kick off as planned.
Optimise Costs with Global Resources
Managers should identify and allocate resources that align with the project’s needs while maintaining cost control. To achieve this, they can tap into competent global resources from regions with lower labour costs. However, without a comprehensive view of enterprise-wide resources, finding professionals with the required skills at competitive rates can be challenging.
Having a high-level overview of available resources and their competencies enables managers to allocate cost-effective resources across organizational boundaries. Additionally, they can create an appropriate mix of junior and senior employees to optimize project resource costs. This approach helps organizations prevent financial overruns, uphold deliverable quality, and enhance overall profitability.
Optimise Resource Utilisation to Prevent Burnout
Uneven distribution of work can lead to overutilisation or underutilisation of resources, causing stress, burnout, and lower work quality. To avoid this, managers should assign work based on resource schedules, availability, and capacity.
Additionally, managers should regularly monitor and track resource utilisation levels to identify any overloading or underloading. They can then implement optimisation techniques like resource smoothing and levelling to eliminate burnout and improve overall resource well-being.
Periodically Estimate Resource Requirements
During the project planning phase, project managers estimate workforce requirements and request resources accordingly. Once the project is underway, project managers should periodically reevaluate resource needs to ensure a sufficient labour force throughout the project’s lifecycle. For example, a construction project manager initially estimated the need for architects but later realised an additional architect was required due to changes in project scope during the execution stage.
Regularly assessing resource requirements provides resource managers with ample lead time to initiate hiring, effectively mitigating resource shortages, avoiding costly last-minute hiring, and enhancing business profitability.
Develop a Backup Strategy for Critical Roles
During the execution stage of projects, unexpected absences of critical resources can disrupt project delivery. For instance, if a leading QA Engineer takes unplanned leave during the validation and testing phase of a product development project, it can lead to delays or project halts.
To mitigate risks related to employee absenteeism or sudden resignations, managers should have a contingency plan in place to find suitable resource replacements. Additionally, they should keep track of workforce skills and capabilities and create succession plans for critical roles. This approach ensures successful project delivery while maintaining quality.
Managing resource risks in projects can be challenging, but implementing the above strategies along with advanced resource management software can significantly reduce workforce-related risks. This not only helps improve profitability but also ensures successful project completion. Share your own techniques for addressing resource risks in projects.