Resource management maturity

Knowing what resources are available and when within an organization can be complicated and time consuming. There are many moving parts, attitudes, and opinions that can muddy the waters.

Many organizations decide to purchase a resource management software with all the bells and whistles thinking that will resolve all their resource problems. That often leads to more moving parts, deeper details that current processes don’t entail, and leads to fewer people using the system you purchased to solve the problem.

So how do you untangle your resource needs to gain clarity about your resource capacity?

The first realization to come to is that your resource problems won’t be resolved overnight or in a month. Learning to understand and then manage your resources is a skill that takes time and effort to master.

However, some of you may be further along the journey to resource management mastery than you think. Take a look at each stage in the Resource Maturity Model and see if you recognize your organization in one of them.

Four stages of resource management maturity

The four stages of resource management maturity. In this video, we will define each stage of maturity for resource management, and highlight characteristics of each stage.
The work being done in stage one is ad hoc or accidental. That means most work comes through impromptu desk stops, discussions from meetings, email threads, self-assignment, et cetera. There is not a formal work process or documentation so a lot of the work being done is based on a gut feeling or informed intuition, and is potentially unrelated to important initiatives. The same hunches get applied to resource capacity. Because of those missing key elements, teams are overloaded with assignments to less important work. The work they have been assigned to often misses the mark and burnout.
With stage two comes some organization, process documentation, and data on short-term workloads. That means some basic reporting is occurring to create a better understanding of what work is coming in and needs to be done. That initial insight allows for work prioritization to start taking place so that the organization can take baby steps towards its overall goals. However, that doesn’t stop the shifting of priorities and resources. So although some prioritization is happening, there’s still no real sense of what resources are available for that critical work, and most deadlines are still missed.
In stage three, there is more alignment. At this point, your work processes are well-defined and documented. That documentation is readily available for everyone to view and understand, current and planned work being created and collected into one system, an operational system of record, OSR, where it can be monitored, reported on, reviewed and approved. Resources are also being entered into a centralized OSR. This means it’s easier to look at and make more informed decisions about longer term resource workloads and where they should go. Approvals for resource distribution to existing and future initiatives are clearer and faster, and if priorities do shift, better resource reassignments can be made so that work can be completed on schedule.
In this final stage, work, process and resources are being looked at on a broader and more long-term basis. Each piece of work planned to be done or that is being done can be matched to an organizational goal. Calibrating work becomes easier when everyone understands the goals and how each project supports a goal. This ensures that your work follows your organization’s strategies. Work measurement and trend spotting are taking place. With the gathering of information on planned versus actual work performance, you can pinpoint where improvements are needed for better goal alignment. That also means that resource scenarios can be drawn up and reviewed to determine where resources can be best utilized or what resources may be needed for future work.

Where to go from here

Did you see your organization in one of these stages? If you did, great. From here you can start planning the rest of your resource management journey.

If you didn’t, no worries. Even with these definitions it can be tricky to determine exactly where you are.

Have an honest look at and discussion of where you currently are with your resource management processes. Address and be able to answer questions like:

  • How do we track capacity?
  • Who tracks capacity?
  • Are our people resources organized and if so, how?
  • Is there one or several people dividing up resources to prioritized work?
  • How is that work prioritized?, etc.

Take those answers and identify what stage of resource maturity your organization is currently in. This will give you a place to start as you think about how resource management should work for your organization.