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.