Project management is always a difficult job, but the true wizardry is to handle the entire process without having enough resources at your disposal. Unfortunately, this is a common project management issue that forces many teams to breach their schedules and budgets.
According to the report, less than a third of all projects complete on time and budget. Another study reveals that managing operating costs is the biggest problem of project management, followed by deadline issues and cross-team information sharing.
Each of these problems has something to do with internal resources. Sometimes you don’t have enough money to deploy the latest technologies, while some other time you might be dealing with underperforming team members.
Whatever the reason, your job is to identify it and move on without jeopardizing the work process. In this article, we will give you an overview of the basic project resources and show you 18 tips for overcoming a lack of project resources. Let’s begin!
Basic Types of Resources in Project Management
Every project manager is supposed to keep an eye on the basic resources needed for successful project completion. They must know the details of each resource type and react promptly if one or more features seem to be insufficient.
In such circumstances, it is necessary to learn and understand the most significant categories of project resources. Although resources can come in many different forms, a general rule of thumb is to divide them into seven key types. Here they are:
The main resource of every project is, of course, the budget. Although considered to be a secondary type of resource, money can help you to complete every stage of the process faster and more efficiently simply by purchasing all other types of resources. The only thing it cannot buy is the second category on our list.
You guessed it right – we are talking about time. Sometimes a project has such a tight deadline that even the biggest budget cannot help you to do it successfully. The true talent of a good project manager is to create sustainable schedules that suit the capabilities of team members.
- Project staff
You can have all the time in the world and all the money you need, but it cannot replace the people you work with. This is probably the most precious of all resources that demand special attention 365 days a year.
A lot of managers rely on third-party providers to complete certain branches of the project. The challenge is not only to choose the best partner but also to identify a company that matches the skills of your team in particular.
There are situations when equipment becomes the biggest obstacle for project completion. However, this is usually the easiest problem to solve as you can often rent or even borrow the necessary gear.
Not too many project managers in service-oriented companies are dealing with this type of resource, but it can be a big burden for teams in other fields of work.
The last type of project management resource is seldom problematic. Namely, your team should always have plenty of office space that guarantees maximum comfort and convenience.
18 Ways to Deal with the Lack of Project Resources
Now that you know the types of resources in project management, you can quickly pinpoint the weaknesses of your venture. The main question is how to overcome the obstacle, so keep reading to learn 18 ways to deal with the lack of project resources.
- Choose one solution and stick to it
You could be lacking one or more project resources, but the most important objective is to take the right course of action and stick to it to the completion. Many project managers make a mistake of jumping from one solution to another, but it only leads to greater confusion and slows down the team.
- Focus on contract deliverables
Jake Gardner, an essay writer who specializes in business and finance, says it is highly recommended to under-promise and over-deliver whenever possible: “However, the same logic does not apply to projects with limited resources. In this case, you need to stay focused and concentrate on contract deliverables exclusively.”
- Keep the work on schedule
Almost every project out there is struggling with deadlines, but your job is to keep the work on schedule no matter what it takes. How you do it is up to you and your team, but the only thing that matters is to follow the targeted timeframe.
- Clarify new goals
A newly-detected lack of resources often forces project managers to set new goals and change operational procedures. If you are facing the same issue, you need to clarify new objectives and discuss the expected deliverables with all members of the team.
- Make use of external help
If you lack human resources or time to complete the project as requested, you should make use of external help to avoid disputes with the client. One solution is to hire a third-party provider for highly specialized tasks. Another option is to hire freelancers for less demanding activities such as administration and paperwork.
- Use overtime work productively
Overtime work is by no means a novelty in the project management universe. Sometimes it’s impossible to get the job done without investing a few extra hours in the process, but your job is to guarantee the productivity of overtime hours. That way, you will avoid employee burnout while meeting deadlines.
- Select your staff carefully
Another detail you should worry about is how to select your staff carefully. The point is to make a balance between experienced and young participants. Namely, younger professionals can bring you that much-needed dose of energy, but they cannot replace older colleagues in terms of skills and knowledge.
- Mind the task delegation
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one. Namely, task delegation is extremely significant as you want the best members of the team to focus on the most challenging activities. On the other hand, junior staff members can take care of all the other duties and consult with senior colleagues if necessary.
- Get permission to postpone non-critical activities
Tip number nine is often a lifesaver for project managers struggling with resource issues. How come? Well, the idea is simple – you only need to ask a client to postpone non-critical activities that don’t have a direct impact on the project. It allows you to concentrate on the essentials exclusively.
- Pinpoint fundamental tasks
You can probably neglect administrative tasks, but you should also learn to prioritize more important duties by pinpointing the fundamentals. You can do the work in phases starting from urgent and important tasks. Naturally, all the other actions will be categorized by the same parameters of importance and urgency.
- Renegotiate consultant contracts
Distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant aspects of the business is not easy, but it is often mandatory if you want to save the project from failure. In such circumstances, a project manager should start by renegotiating consultant contracts as they will often charge you a lot of money without giving any substantial contribution to the project development.
- Don’t hide behind paperwork
This one goes without saying, but we have to remind you that project managers must not hide behind paperwork. You are the general and your place is in the middle of the battle, so make sure to join your subordinates and help them to work quickly and productively.
- Ask clients for help
It’s not a popular tip among project managers, but you would be surprised to learn how many clients are willing to share resources with their partners. After all, they are probably more experienced in a given field as they already work on similar projects, so why wouldn’t you ask for assistance rather than extensions?
- It’s ok to neglect details
Although the main goal of your team should be to deliver a flawless product, you don’t need to be overcritical to yourself while neglecting details. If you lack resources, you cannot allow yourself to be too picky – work with what you got now and make the smallest corrections later.
- Transfer your anti-perfectionism attitude to the team
Knowing that it’s ok to neglect less relevant deliverables is one thing, but transferring the same message to the team is different. There are perfectionists in every team, so do your best to convince them that it’s not the right time to worry about details.
- Re-examine the budget
If you are afraid of overspending, perhaps you should reexamine the budget to check whether it’s booming. Your financial department could make a different conclusion and give you the green light to go on as planned.
- Communicate the problem clearly
Solutions are seldom painless, but the worst thing you can do is to hide behind everyday tasks and avoid communicating the problem loudly and clearly. Everyone needs to know that you are facing a lack of resources, from team members to clients, because it’s the only way to maximize efficiency and perhaps even come up with a new solution.
- Ask a client for a budget increase
The last option is not exactly the most popular, but it can’t hurt you to ask a client for a budget increase if you are expected to do more work than initially planned.
Up to You!
Running a project successfully is by no means an easy feat, but it gets even harder if you have to deal with the lack of resources. In this case, you must analyze the whole situation and come up with a feasible strategy on how to get the job done with what you got. In this post, you could learn the following:
- Main types of project management resources
- 18 tips for overcoming a lack of project resources
Have you ever faced any of these operational challenges? Which problem do you believe to be the most threatening? Do you know other ways of dealing with resource-related issues? Educate yourselves and become the best project manager!
Liam Catalan is an essay writer from San Francisco, California. Liam is a project management expert, but he writes about a wide range of other topics including self-branding and personal development. He is the father of two kids and a passionate long-distance runner.