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Resource Management: The Keystone of Project Management and Portfolio Management

Organizations are beginning to recognize the comprehensive power that Resource Management has for addressing how to manage projects and project portfolios.

To put it simply, the daily operations of an organization revolve around executing initiatives to achieve the corporate vision. There are two criteria for meeting that end: doing the right projects and doing the projects right. Doing the right projects is the goal of Project Portfolio Management (PPM), and doing the projects right is the goal of Project Management. These two entities, then, are the foundational basis for accomplishing the mission of your organization.

What makes Resource Management so powerful is that it lies at the heart of both PPM and Project Management.

I often think of Resource Management in terms of an airline planning its flight schedule for the day. Deciding the specs of where the planes should go and at what times and with how many passengers is analogous to Portfolio Management. Resource Management is at the core of this planning and optimizing process because you would have to know how many planes are available at what time, how many pilots are scheduled to work that day, and so forth.

Likewise, managing the project itself—getting the plane to its specified destination efficiently and on time—is also centered around Resource Management. The right combination of pilots, flight attendants, gasoline, and so on are all required for the project to take off. They all need to be available at just the right time, for the full duration of the project with variables (eg: due to an employee’s illness or a plane’s maintenance) tracked and accounted for. All of these considerations fall under the purview of Resource Management.

This analogy oversimplifies things, of course. But even if you breakdown the step-by-step methodology of PPM and Project Management, you’ll find that these processes parallel each other and that Resource Management bridges the gap between the two at each of those junctures. To illustrate this, below is Steps 2 through 5 of Project Portfolio Management methodology with it’s Project Management counterpart and the resource consideration highlighted in red. Note that both the first and final of the methodologies are not included, since there are not as much of a Resource Management consideration at those stages.

Click the screenshots to enlarge.

Again, since PPM and Project Management are the basis for accomplishing the mission of your organization, Resource Management’s role as a keystone between the two makes it the Holy Grail of corporate strategy and execution.

For more in-depth theory on this concept, especially more detailed descriptions of the Project Portfolio Management and Project Management methodologies, you can watch our webinar of the same name.