Project manager are a scarce resource on projects now. It does not easy have to manage the same project, with the same deadline, objectives and targets, but with two fewer people. How am I going to get everything done? Where are the extra hours of effort going to come from?
Nowadays project teams are being pressurized all the time, and it’s more common to be managing a project which is short on resource than one that has everything and everyone it needs in order to be a success. We complete projects on target despite not having all the resources we need. It’s not a good situation, but it’s the reality for many project managers.
If you find yourself having to cope without the project team members that you desperately need, here are a few tips on getting more done with fewer people.
Think Outside The Box
You are in a tight spot – first things first: let the project team know. They may be able to help you come up with some solutions. Convene an emergency meeting and ask them to help you work out some possible responses. You could look at training other people, increasing the hours worked (with overtime paid if you can), outsourcing bits of the project to other companies, cutting the scope, moving team members around, bringing in an intern or a work experience student or cancelling travel. Anything goes, so see what you can come up with that will increase productivity and perhaps squeeze a bit more time out of the people whom you do have.
Asking for help is a great way to start, as your project team members may well have access to a network of people whom you could never reach. For example, someone may have a child who is looking for a work placement for university and who would be prepared to help out with some of the more routine project tasks like admin, consolidating timesheets and preparing meeting minutes.
Take Time Out of the Schedule
Yes, that’s right. Take shortcuts! Try to reduce the overall project duration by crashing the schedule, cutting out superfluous tasks (you didn’t have many of them anyway, did you?) and fast-tracking as much of the work as possible.
Cut down on the project management tasks as well. Use your software to automate as much as possible, including project reports, which you can probably set up to run in real-time using dashboards and templates. Make sure that you are saving as much time on project admin as possible by not hunting for documents – store them all with your project files online.
Reiterate The Project Benefits
Your team all know why they are working on this project and why it is so important, don’t they? If you start to ask more of them, and they don’t understand the strategic importance of their work, then you’ll find that their motivation starts to drop. People like to feel as if they are doing work that is important and valued, so let your team knows how much their efforts are appreciated.
If you can, ask the project sponsor to come along to a couple of team meetings to share the vision and objectives from his or her point of view. Ask them also to talk about why resources on this project are so tight. This will help reiterate the reason why the team is working on the project and also show that senior management supports the work.
Motivating people and encouraging them like this isn’t going to save you weeks of effort or make up completely for someone being taken off the team. But it can help the people who are left feel as if they are not working on a project that is doomed and struggling.
You can’t do everything now. If you have fewer people than you need, you should start prioritizing what is really important. So you need to have a chat with your sponsor about the project scope.
There is nearly always a requirement that isn’t critical – something that has worked its way on to the schedule because someone thought it was a good idea. Spend some time with your project customers and the sponsor critically evaluating what you absolutely must deliver with this project. Then cut out everything else, or at least move it down the priority list. If you get time later, you can work on it then, but with fewer resources you can’t achieve everything that you originally thought you would be able to.
This can be a difficult conversation to have with your sponsor so you may find it useful to approach the meeting with your suggestions of what can be cut and what can still be achieved ready before you go to meet him or her.
Raise A Risk Or An Issue
If you feel that you might not be able to complete everything, put it on your risk log. If you categorically know now that you can’t achieve everything on the project, put it on your issue log. And tell your sponsor.
There’s no point trying to hide this from them – they will only find out anyway, when you deliver something that is late, over budget or short on a few requirements. Be honest now and say that without the resources you need, you can’t deliver everything that they asked for. They will either help you get more people seconded to the team or they will respond to the risk or issue by helping you with the mitigating actions (which are likely to include prioritizing, as in Tip #4).
Source : management Software Blog