Your “Go-To” People and Project Workforce Management


The promise of "workforce management and planning systems" in all their various forms is to "put the right people on the right projects at the right time." Ideally–especially in large organizations–these automated systems will help us find the best available person, even from across the globe, to perform the tasks that will ensure a successful project.

But in reality, project teams are too often put together by "rounding up the usual suspects," as Mark E. Mullaly recently wrote on gantthead.com: Managing Resource Capacity: How Do We Know We’re Full? (login required to read full article). As a result of relying on "go-to" people instead of adopting a workforce management process that does not use real data, skill set information and past experience to find and propose the best resources, companies end up creating project teams that do not have the optimal talent or relevant experience.

Mullaly observes:

To manage that budget [of available human effort], however, we have to name it, quantify it and track it. … It’s about being clear about our capacity for work, where we most value expending that capacity, and how to make use of the scarcest resources that we have.

He states that businesses are not tracking and managing their time as diligently as they do their money. I agree–this state of affairs frustrates me because the tools and technology are available today in a variety of options. And I do see that using technology to proactively manage the project workforce is making a positive difference for many, many companies.

Yet, we have a long way to go to manage and budget human capital as well as we budget dollars. Therein lies a tremendous opportunity for companies to gain a competitive edge, and an imperative of Workforce 2.0: don’t let human capital evaporate, the way money tends to evaporate when it isn’t managed or invested wisely.

In a future post, I will comment on a recent blog post about user adoption of workforce management tools, and how some simple tactics can enable good technology to do its job: identify, quantify, track and optimize human capital.

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