How resource constraints negatively impact project management

Resource constraints? We all have them ... but knowing its impact is key to working around it

September 20, 2020

Every organization can point to a challenge around resource constraints. Regardless of product, solution, or industry, these challenges can be detrimental in many ways. When we think about our workforce, they cause productivity delays, poor quality of work, and severe impacts on employees.

At the core, there are three considerations to evaluate in order to alleviate the negative impacts posed:  

Are my priorities aligned to goals?

When thinking about work efforts in your organization, it’s important to examine whether or not priorities are aligned to the overall goals of the organization.

Whether you’re in IT, Sales, Marketing or any other business unit, if you’re not prioritizing to achieve and support the goals of your organization, the first thing to do is find time to review and revise those objectives.

What are the most pressing and important goals your team is being held to?

Once you answer this, you can nail down resource alloc

This benefits employee morale just as much as it benefits work quality and success metrics, because employees know what they’re working on matters. Harvard Business Review found 9 out of 10 employees would even take less pay to do more meaningful work!

Assisting your team with ensuring their activities are aligned to the priorities of the organization will begin moving everyone to the right direction, however, this is only the first step in ongoing planning needed to ensure ongoing prioritization of value-driven activities.

Am I properly allocating resources based on my priorities?

Having an understanding of exactly what you are trying to achieve will actually allow resource constraints to become even more evident.

What is sometimes more apparent at this stage is you don’t have the right resources to support the right initiatives. This can either mean you lack resources to accomplish newly identified goals, or it could mean you simply don’t have the right skills with your current team’s composition.

Resource planning becomes a critical tool to document what skillsets are currently within your team, what gaps exist that can present development opportunities, and to highlight constraints that need to be resolved otherwise. Most importantly, developing a solid understanding of your resources and their proficiencies will allow you to understand how to match them accordingly to your upcoming projects.

Related: Build a center of excellence to drive marketing revenue

Do I have the right resources and skills available?

The ultimate goal is for adequate staffing for all major objectives within the organization. But you may find the team lacks what is needed to achieve the prioritized goals for the organization. This is particularly true as we continuously pivot the goals and priorities to achieve different objectives.

Think about the start of the year, when everything is perfectly clear. Now introduce the shifts as a given year goes along: environmental changes, industry shifts, new leadership … the list is endless! This is true every year (to a varying degree), and all the more reason why having a solid and proactive understanding of your resource skills and gaps is imperative.

Now, if you do identify a legitimate gap in skillset as your resource constraint, you have several options:

Hiring

Hiring a new headcount may be the right solution, but the cost associated with onboarding and timelines of new hires can be extensive … not to mention the hoops you have to jump through to even get the job approved internally!

Additionally, if you are find yourself seeking talent on a regular basis, a broader problem that may indicate poor resource planning as it relates to future needs. Needless to say, the longer you have gaps, the more challenges they’ll pose to the quality of your work as well as the overall pressures on your existing teams and process who are likely struggling to keep pace.

Outsourcing

An alternative is to seek temporary support outside of your organization. Companies with enough resources, who simply lack a set of particular skills or require additional competencies to achieve their goals, have many solutions available to them:

  • Managed Service providers can be leveraged for everything from content management to marketing automation platform governance to inbound or outbound marketing services … and more!
  • On-demand best practice support may be ideal for teams who simply need a helping hand, or
  • Training may be considered for specific skillsets that are required for a particular initiative or technology advancement within the organization

Any and all of these options will allow you to keep focus on the priorities of achieving your business objectives without the worry of tireless in-house resource searches.

Related: Custom marketing training options to accelerate your team’s growth and results

Do I know how to overcome my resource constraints?

When you actively understand the priorities towards achieving organizational goals and objectives, and you are able to monitor your accomplishments effectively, you will also be able to clearly see the resource gaps. Those gaps will highlight resource constraints once you are able to truly take an inventory of your existing employees and their skillsets.

Have a full resource plan for both the present and anticipated challenges over the next 6-12 months that is constantly updated. This should be a fluid document and won’t be able to plan for everything, but it will allow you to understand potential gaps and proactively take action.

This routine planning also builds up existing employees by offering them the opportunity to develop their skills and stay focused on higher-impact work more often.

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