This is an absolutely vital ability to have as a project manager as it can mean the difference between success and failure.
Better still it means that you will be able to grab the best resources and environments before anyone else. This in turn
increases tne perception that you are someone who can get things done no matter what the obstacles might be.
And if you are still wondering "huh?" then consider this. I was consulting once at an Organisation which had numerous
projects on the go at any one time. Whilst resources were allocated to my project, they were in fact tied up on another
massive poject which had started to slip. The project manager informed me that the slip would be minor at just be a few days,
so nothing to worry about as the resources I required would be released imminently.
I had a quiet chat with his software development lead, who I knew was really switched on, and was given a very different
picture. Apparentely the problems on the project were so huge it was more likely to be a 2 month slippage. Talking to other
resources on the project I was gven the same information. It was clear the project manager either didn't realise the extent
of the problems inherent in his project, or else was trying to cover them up hoping a miracle would happen.
I used this information to move my weekly
project management report immediately into Amber and raised this as a major
project risk. This quickly drew attention to the issue, especially as the project manager of the other project
was still publishing his weekly project status as being Green.
Soon it became apparent that my assessment of the situation had been correct. I was able to recruit the additional resources
my project required, and further gained a reputation for being pro-active. Better still I had covered myself for all
eventualities because even if I'd been unable to recruit the right resources swiftly, the risk had been raised and escalated.
This is how a contingency approach to resources work. It's not about creating convoluted plans, it's about communicating
with the right people, and then dealing with the reality you face.
Contingency Approach Resources 5a/6 - Tip
Remember you will not be alone in chasing after scarce resources. Every project manager of any worth will be dong the
samething. And simply asking the project manager's how their project is going, so you can ascertain when resources will be
freed up, won't help you at all. After all which project manager is going to admit the following unless they are on the
verge of a breakdown!:
"My project is stuffed. We're already 3 weeks over schedule and to be honest I think we won't launch for another 3 months
because we've hit fundamentals issue which I can't see how it will be resolved"
The project manager is obviously going to say instead:
"We're slipping a little but it's nothing major. We'd have launched by now except that Test are insisting on running
some more regression scripts. But don't worry we'll be launched in a couple of weeks. I'm almost 99% sure of that"
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