People management – One of the biggest challenge

One of the most crucial and important challenges in managing projects is managing people. Before a project gets kicked off one challenge a  project manager faces is selection of the right team and availability of that team. If we speak about the consultancy business, most of the projects are very short in duration (on average 5 to 6 weeks) and time sensitive. Because of the nature of the business the managers are required to manage more than one project with the availability of the same resource. Also if you talk about the situation in this region nowadays, the market is very uncertain and there is no guarantee how much business will the firm get and when, so hiring is not a good option due to uncertainty of the business.

Recently, one of the company I know is going through a similar sort of challenge and they have some serious issues with the management of the resources. First of all they have changed their operating model from a region specific model to a central model. Now all the employees are mobile and they can be asked to work on any assignment in any region with different managers. One of the biggest challenge they are facing is the right resource allocation in the right areas. Let me share one example here

“If the assignment is in Morocco and the resources resource allocated for this from Jordan and the person who is going to manage this is in Riyadh, also most importantly travelling to Morocco is not an option. So all the Client relationship is being handled by the Moroccan team and the work will be done by the resource and the manager from Jordan and Riyadh respectively. This sort of coordination, Client dealing, deliverable. Comfort and most importantly the client relationship is at risk. The resource at most of the time is not at the best of his position to understand the requirement and moreover the managers from the resource’s office have their own priorities and work load, so even the resource gets bit and pieces of work form his own team in Jordan. The team in Morocco has been conveyed a clear message that the resource is fully available for 3 weeks and what happens the assignment takes around 5 weeks to finish.”

So based on the above example I strongly feels that this cloud based projects and central team is not working in the favor of the company and both employees and clients are suffering. They need to get a robust system if they really want to successfully implement such operating model with documented policies and procedures.

Now in case of appraisals, when the resource receives feedback from the manager and the office whom he has never met, does not know him by face or the qualities he has (communication, hardworking, as a team member etc.) but the only thing they based their appraisal on is numbers (utilization, scorecard etc.). In simple terms the resource has become a number, which means he is not working at his best and not at all his motivation level at its peak.

6 thoughts on “People management – One of the biggest challenge

  1. I would totally agree with this opinion. Managing people in project is a key toward a successful project and for sure managing the conflicts between these people, so it’s very important not just to choose the write people but also to choose the right group of people who will work in harmony toward the success of this project.

  2. I agree with this assessment that managing people is the most complicated component of project management. As a matter of fact, people management in any industry now days is given high priority since companies/corporates have realized that it is people who make-or-break an institution. I guess that is the reason that catch phrases like “It’s all about people” and “People are out real assets” are being read and heard more often.

  3. Interesting subject and good article, managing humans is one of the challenging task, especially when they are out of the manager premises, I think available advance communication systems can improve and reduce the challenges when we have people working for the same task in different locations.
    Also many companies are hiring based on the expansion plans they have and market that they are planning to penetrate.

  4. Well, for a global firm, optimal management of human resources is always a challenge. I can see the reason behind such a architecture of managing resources. What they are trying to achieve better economies of scale.
    As for a manager who hasn’t met the team member assessing his work, i don’t see why he cant take a decision based on the quality of his work. But considering your example, the system doesn’t seem to work very well. I agree with you when they say that they need a more robust and thought out system.

  5. I completely agree that managing people is one of the most critical challenges on projects! Selection is huge! It is so critical to have the right team and the right skill set for the team to be fully invested in the project. The compilation of the team members can wholly make or break a project. I’ve seen both good and bad team selection happen at work and the thoughtfulness of the team selection tends to determine the outcome. Numbers are never a good starting point to building the right team. Much more thought needs to go in to getting the right makeup of a team.

    I’m super excited to get moving on own project this quarter and am very excited to be working with such a great team!

  6. It is great to bring up the importance of people management and how crucial it is to have the right team to deliver the projects. I have found that when project teams are put together, people aspect is in a way an afterthought. It should really be first thing on the mind of project managers and management to ensure that the team is equipped with adequate resource and also qualified resources. It is important to ensure that the project team has a good representation from different cross functional teams and that everyone has a stake in the ground. If the project team is assembled correctly from the beginning, it makes thing much easier to flow and directly impacts success of the deliverable.

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