Ease of Use is Critical for Project Management Tool Adoption

Written by Brad Egeland

ease of use

Ease of Use is Critical for Project Management Tool Adoption

With literally hundreds of project management and project management-related tools available – both web-based and desktop – any company looking to change or finally purchase a PM tool has many, many (too many) choices.  And, while functionality is key, there is certainly a limit to the amount of function any one organization can utilize or that all organizations really care about.

A good solution needs the following:

Solid task management.  It goes without saying that solid task management capabilities should be at the core of any project management tool that an organization is considering.

Easy to use resource assignment and management functionality.  I have been called into several organizations as a consultant just to help them wrap their heads around the problems they are having managing and forecasting their resource usage.  Create an easy to use PM tool that has strong resource management and planning functionality and you win.

Incorporated task and resource-based financial management capability.  Most packages have built-in financial functionality.  I personally tend to not use those.  I find them…for the most part…cumbersome and usually revert to my old tried and true Excel spreadsheet.  But give me one that is cool – and easy to use in this area – and I’ll use it.

Gantt chart and task dependency management including critical path functionality.  Again, most have this functionality and we still need this visual aspect, but I rarely revert back to reviewing or paying any attention to the critical path because in my day to day project management responsibilities it just doesn’t resonate with me.  Make it more visual, meaningful and easier to manage and again, you win.

Customizable reporting and visual dashboard project health features.  Reporting.  This is seriously important to everyone.  The package that allows PM’s and collaborative project teams to produce and customize detailed reports that can almost take over the status reporting requirements on the project will lead to a lot of consideration from the masses when selecting a new software option.

Purchase without adoption is a waste

You know the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”  How many great software packages have our companies purchased to greatly increase employee productivity only to find them left to waste among all the process improvement rollouts and employee reward programs that lasted 1-2 months before crashing and burning into the corporate dumpster?  With this in mind, ease of use and widespread corporate adoptability is something that any project management tool developer and vendor should keep in mind.  There are new organizations out there that are looking online daily for new options in this area as more and more are focusing their work in terms of teams and projects.  Project management and project portfolio management are key industry buzz words – if you are building software in this market space then focus on functionality, of course, but I recommend focusing even more on ease of use and short learning curve.  In today’s world we seek low cost instant gratification.

Summary / call for input

I’m not one who likes to do any kind of deep dive into software documentation or take a five hour course on how to use it.  I’ve used MS Project and other related products for years so I should rightly assume that my skills and knowledge there translate relatively easily to other PM and PM-related software tools.  I’d like to think in this era that the new packages should be more visual and easier to use.  And many are extremely visual, fairly customizable, happily more affordable, and very full-featured.

Give me a software package that I can hit the ground running with on Day One rather than sitting through a training session, webinar or 2 hour Youtube video any day.  Our attention spans aren’t that long anymore and our expected productive utilization rates are high – we are accountable to management for those so ease of use and a short learning curve is likely going to be a key consideration for any organization looking to buy or switch PM software tools.  Keep that in mind.

What about our readers – what are some of your main criteria for purchasing and adopting new PM and PM-related software tools?  What draws you in and what turns you off when you’re trying to compare and contrast different options?

About Brad Egeland

Brad Egeland

Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Creative Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad’s site at http://www.bradegeland.com/.

EPM Live and SharePoint 2016, Know What’s Coming

Dont-be-left-behindThe EPM Live by Upland team is very excited about the Microsoft SharePoint 2016 roadmap. The EPM Live product has always been a leader within the SharePoint community. We intend to continue this leadership by upgrading our existing solution to the latest SharePoint release from Microsoft – SharePoint 2016.

In the meantime, make sure you are leveraging the most out of your existing SharePoint implementation and understand your options to stay ahead of the next release by contacting the EPM Live team now for an analysis.

EPM Live Named as Finalist for the 2014 People’s Choice Stevie Awards – Your Vote Counts!

The latest release of EPM Live’s application for project management and collaboration was named as a finalist in the category of New Product or Service of the Year, Software – Project Management.

More than 3,300 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories for this year’s People’s Choice Stevie Awards. Finalists were chosen by more than 150 business professionals nationwide. The exciting part of this awards process is the opportunity for the general public to vote for their favorite product. Voting is open July 7 through August 8.  Vote today for EPM Live!

“Being named a Finalist for the People’s Choice Stevie Awards is a tremendous honor,” said Joe Larscheid, Upland Software’s EVP of Product Strategy and General Manager for the EPM Live product line. “Our vision is to help transform how work gets done within the modern enterprise. This recognition provides further validation that we are successfully delivering innovative solutions that allow organizations to plan, manage, and execute more effectively in the new information economy.”

Your vote counts!

Cast your vote today for EPM Live as the People’s Choice Award for Favorite New Product!


Peoples Choice Vote Image2





Sync Outlook and SharePoint With EPM Live for Effortless Project and Work Collaboration

SharePoint is the largest collaboration platform on the market today. With over 36 million users world wide, it no wonder most organizations choose SharePoint as their business application of choice. Savvy business leaders are leveraging project and work management companies such as EPM Live to help them extend the capabilities of SharePoint in to a complete end-to-end business intelligence and project management tool. And even taking their deployments one step further into social project management. 

Collaboration is a key practice in the way organizations work today.  Working together to deliver project and work deliverables that otherwise may not be reached by working alone, allow organizations to streamline work, deliver services and increase overall productivity across the organization. Collaborative environments provide resources the ability to combine effort and expertise to produce greater business results allowing them to work better, faster and smarter.

Two of the most effective, widely adopted, easy-to-use collaboration tools on the market today include Outlook and SharePoint.  EPM Live combines these two powerful products Outlook Publisher, an Outlook add-in that allows seamless synchronization with Outlook and SharePoint.  EPM Live customers can leverage Outlook to extend the collaboration tools available to maximize productivity.  Teams can convert Outlook emails into work items directly in SharePoint .  Outlook Publisher enables teams to reduce effort and improve communication.  Outlook Publisher includes the following functionality:

  • Full integration with Outlook ribbon controls – Outlook Publisher allows you to create list items directly in Outlook.  As a new item is created from the Outlook ribbon controls, a new item in SharePoint is created
  • Email threading and monitoring – Tracking information such as ID, date and time are automatically produced for item identification as items are created in Outlook.  All updates to the defined list item are appended and tracked to account for all collaboration and communication throughout the work item’s life cycle
  • Flexible configuration tools- Outlook Publisher comes with easy to use configuration tools to allow for flexible field configuration and list mapping

Outlook Publisher can be used for any work item in SharePoint including but not limited to help desk tickets, work requests, task lists, action items, risks, issues, IT requests, maintenance requests, bug lists, etc.  EPM Live will continue to drive innovation by finding new and better ways for teams to work better together.

Online Project and Work Management for the Future!

Wayne Gretsky was once asked if there was a secret to his success as a hockey player. He simply said: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been.” 

This is why I love working at EPM Live, a project and work management software business that is successful because we are constantly innovating and building for the future!  Obviously, this is why EPM Live has been recognized as a Red Herring Top 100 North America Tech Company!   Technology industry executives, investors, and observers have regarded the Red Herring 100 lists as an invaluable instrument to discover and advocate the promising startups that will lead the next wave of disruption and innovation.

These days, there are a variety of ways to sell software.  While EPM Live does continue to meet the demands of those implementing “on-premise” solutions, Software as a Service (SaaS) has made a significant impact in the enterprise project and portfolio management world.  Organizations need transparency, collaboration and interaction across the globe and the SaaS project management market is providing it.

While “on-premise” and “SaaS” costs both increase over time, there are many reasons that the SaaS architecture offers lower total cost of ownership, and is more efficient for customers.  Some key benefits driving many of our customers to leverage our Software as a Service include, but are not limited to:

  • Leverage the benefits of our latest features and benefits without the worry of upgrade plans and strategies
  • Lower your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) since SaaS project management software requires no software or hardware, no dedicated IT team and supports seamless upgrades and updates
  • Unsurpassed support for your mission critical project and work management application including unlimited support cases, system health check and services to support an accelerated deployment
  • Easily collaborate within your organization as well as with your partners, suppliers and customers
  • Focus on successfully managing your projects rather than worry about purchasing, installing and maintaining software or hardware
  • Securely collaborate across the value chain, with your partners, suppliers and customers and help drive adoption with a simple online user experience

Our product team is always striving for new and innovative ways to manage your portfolio of projects and work with new features and capabilities such as:

  • Comments to enhance collaboration

  • Resource Matching to let you easily select resources from the right department, with the right skill(s), in addition to their availability

  • TFS Integration with our Agile Planner to support your Application Development projects

  • New workspace templates for our Application Marketplace

    We have benefited from over ten years of deploying EPM / PPM solutions, and while we recognize that each organization is unique, we also take the best practices and embed them right into our marketplace templates.   There’s no need for customers to start from scratch!!

We also understand our services, such as implementation, consulting and training are not accessories to our product.  Our services are an integral part of EPM Live’s products, and contribute directly to the success of our customers deployments.  Our Build To Order (BTO) approach is a cost effective, innovative approach utilizing industry best practices to accelerLKeate configuration and leverage key system capabilities to design the solution that fits our customers need.  Along with the variety of training offerings EPM Live offers at our EPM Live University, our services organization has you set up for success!

Software + Service + Customer Effort = SUCCESS!!

EPM Live Launches Spring 2014 Release, Introducing latest milestone in Collaboration-based Social Project Management

Austin, TX, USA – June 18, 2014 Upland Software Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based enterprise work management applications, today announced the availability of the latest release of its EPM Live Application.  EPM Live is a leading application for enterprise project management and social work management built on Microsoft™ SharePoint.  

This latest version of EPM Live enables project teams across all functional areas of an organization to balance getting the right project work done, while doing it efficiently. Progressive social collaboration features engage users as it represents the way social collaboration is used in their personal life, while new integrations, improved user productivity and functionality enhancements enrich the user-experience of EPM Live.

 Key EPM Live Spring 2014 release features include:

  • Social Stream – Our advanced Social Stream feature bring users together in easy-to-use, real-time collaboration. An innovative feature fostering a technology-driven work environment that closely mimics the social experiences that employees have outside of work.  Truly changing the way we all interact with team members and site content.

  • New Integrations – EPM Live easily integrates with third-party programs and now includes the following in its list of compatible integrations:  Atlassian JIRA, Microsoft Visual Studio, Service-Now and Salesforce Desk.com.

  • Kanban Planner – The new Kanban planner allows teams to organize work visually, letting them see and interact with the entire project at once, while remaining focused on the task at hand.  Our Kanban planner streamlines workflow processes using a “swim lane” layout and Kanban cards to allow users to visually communicate information that can be difficult to process, understand or retain.

  • Powerful New Reports – Over 40 new reports have been added to provide specific insight on portfolios, projects, resources, timesheets, risks and changes. These reports were created using the Upland Analytics business intelligence tool allowing for precise drill-in, pivot, and animation capabilities.

  • Online Planner Fragments – Commonly used online planner line items, such as tasks and milestones, can be saved as fragments and inserted into any online planner.  This feature eliminates the need to recreate commonly used planner line items.

  • Timesheet Performance – Timesheet pages and system architecture have been redesigned for increased performance when saving and approving timesheet submittals and rendering timesheet data. Saving timesheets is immediate and processing occurs in the background so users can navigate and work in other areas of the system.  User interface layout has been enhanced for increased navigation capabilities.

 “We are proud to continue on the path of enterprise project management and social work management innovation,” said Joe Larscheid, Upland Software’s EVP of Product Strategy and General Manager for the EPM Live product line. “We have worked hard to bring our customers new features that improve business processes and collaboration between their organizational teams. This release marks another ground breaking milestone in the Project and Social Work Management industry.”

 About EPM Live

EPM Live is a leading enterprise project management and collaboration software application based on Microsoft™ SharePoint. With an easy-to-use interface, it extends project management and work collaboration to all areas of the business, regardless of focus. Enterprises large and small rely on EPM Live to deliver products successfully, optimize resource utilization, and select the right work.  Named a winner of THINKstrategies’ Best of SaaS Showplace Award and Value Leader for Next Generation IT Management by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), EPM Live is part of the Upland Software family of cloud-based enterprise work management applications. To learn more, visit www.epmlive.com.

About Upland Software

Upland Software is a leading provider of cloud-based enterprise work management software. Our family of applications helps transform how work gets done by enabling better alignment of resources with business objectives, real-time visibility, and increased governance and collaboration, resulting in improved productivity and business agility. From strategic planning to work execution, Upland helps more than 1,200 enterprise customers with 300,000 active users in over 50 countries drive results for critical business functions including information technology, marketing, finance, professional services, and process excellence.  To learn more, visit uplandsoftware.com.

Read more about each new feature here!

Check out the new features in action here!


For additional information: Please contact Catherine Smith at media@uplandsoftware.com.


Product or service names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Implementing a Project Management and Social Collaboration Management System- Considerations and Benefits

Most organizations today looking to implement a Project Management and Social Collaboration Management System have identified numerous business specific challenges that need resolution.  Can a Project and Work Management solution address business challenges out-of-the box?  Absolutely; however, relying on a system to do all the work will only lead to tool resistance and frustration.  You must first understand the following:

  1. What are your biggest challenges/pain points you are looking to resolve with a Project and Work Management Solution?
  2. What are the strengths of the current Project and Work Management process and/or toolset?
  3. What are the weaknesses of the current Project and Work Management process and/or toolset?

With today’s technology it IS possible to implement a system with less effort and fewer costs than ever before, but the ability to do it successfully without the proper planning is highly unlikely.  As we have shown before in previous PM maturity discussions, in order to make the technology successful you must have a balanced combination of people, processes and technology in order to improve the business.

A successful Project and Work Management solution implementation begins with identifying and understanding clearly defined goals, carefully planning the strategy to obtain those goals, and a vision to complete the goals through controlled execution.  Most organizations are already performing a tactical run the business activities when a Project and Work Management system is introduced.  By introducing strategic planning into the mix you can expect to move into a new dimension of growth and profitability for an overall competitive advantage.

What benefits can you expect to see with a Project and Work Management Solution/System?
  • Better decision making capabilities– With proper visibility into your investments along with powerful PPM analytics tools such as portfolio modeling (what-if analysis) and capacity planning, managers will have the information they need to make more informed decisions.  Through execution, as changes are introduced to your environment, real-time impacts can be analyzed and addressed.
  • Process improvements– Functionality such as stage gating, portfolio optimization and resource negotiations will help improve internal processes by backing process with technology.  Methodologies and standards can be introduced as projects are selected enforcing best practice alignment.
  • Better business results– Planning your costs and resources up front will have a big impact on execution.  Forecasting your resources based on roles, skills and availability will help ensure you have the right resources on the right tasks at the right time.  Understanding the costs anticipated with all work prior to execution will help you identify potential budget risks now and adjust spend where needed.

To realize the benefits above and to get the most out of your Project and Work Management implementation, the following considerations should be reviewed:

  1. Alignment with defined objectives and goals
  2. Deployment complexity
  3. Cost- infrastructure, deployment and training
  4. Ease of use
  5. Scalability
  6. Time to market

Take a look at what EPM Live Project and Work Management solutions can do for your organization.  EPM Live has end-to-end PPM capabilities that will take you from strategic planning to tactical execution.  EPM Live is built on the SharePoint platform so it increases ROI for a tool that you most likely already own, protecting your investment and extending the platform from a simple content management system to a full project and work management platform.  SharePoint is intuitive and easy to use; those familiar with SharePoint will leverage the same technology to manage the EPM Live application, no new investment in expertise required.  Not only can EPM Live be used for Project and Work Management, but can also be expanded to product development teams (Agile) and IT service teams, making it the most flexible Project and Work Management system on the market.  EPM Live products can be consumed online or on premise.

5 Benefits of Agile

It’s considered the best methodology for web 2.0 tools like Twitter and Facebook. You guessed it; we’re talking about the agile methodology (aka agile mantra, agile development lifecycle etc.). Industry veterans say that it’s the best suited methodology for running ‘fast and efficient’ projects. Is it true? Or is it more hype than reality? Does it break the rules of conventional software development? Does it compromise on quality for speed? Is it just another project management fad? Many people wonder who really benefits from agile and how. In this article, I walk you through the two most important aspects of Agile – the beneficiaries of Agile and how Agile benefits them.

Who Benefits from Agile?

Each development methodology suffers from one limitation or the other. On one hand, there are methodologies like Pair Programming which makes life simpler for developers but on the other hand, it makes it difficult to justify the cost from a managerial perspective. On the other hand, there are other methodologies like the conventional Spiral model which are customer friendly but rather unforgiving for development and QA teams.

The best thing about Agile is that it preserves the interests of all stakeholders in a project, be it the client, project manager, development team or testing team. Agile promotes transparency and visibility, both of which are crucial aspects for the success of any project.

  • Customers benefit from Agile as it ensures high customer satisfaction courtesy frequent releases.
  • Managers benefit from Agile as it makes life easier for them. No overheads, minimal documentation, no useless meetings and clear & crisp communication with all stakeholders.
  • Development team benefits from Agile as it shortens the learning curve and development time for iterations.
  • Testing team benefits from Agile as they get ‘Early Access’ to the software to test.
  • All stakeholders have a better visibility of the project and ‘right expectations’ from each other.

How they Benefit from Agile?

Agile is proven to work well for all sizes of organizations, be it few employees to large technology giants employing a workforce of more than 100,000 people. So, how do individuals and organizations benefit from Agile?

1. Faster ROI

The trick to achieving faster ROI is simple. Build a functional product across iterations, get it out to market early with limited features, continue adding features and then launch the fully functional version. Agile is the perfect methodology to gain the ‘first mover’ advantage.

  • Development starts early
  • A functional ‘ready to market’ product after few iterations
  • First Mover Advantage

2. Lower Risk

Agile ranks very highly on risk mitigation scale. Since iterations are short, the market risk is reduced. A beta version released early in an agile project is a great way to tap the potential market for a product. Feedback from prospect customers can help evolve the product and lowers risk of the product failing to match client expectations. Agile even recommends early cancellations for projects which have high chances of failure.

  • Client gets early access to product during the life cycle
  • Greater flexibility for accommodating Change Requests
  • Early Cancellations hurt less

3. Lower Defect Density

Since the testing is frequent and starts early in the project, most bugs are caught during the test iterations. Agile’s ‘test driven development’ approach ensures a high quality product with minimal bugs. There’s no better way to measure a project’s progress than having a working version at the end of all iterations.

  • Showstopper/ Critical bugs are caught early in the project
  • Stories are considered incomplete till they have critical zero defects
  • Test Automation nets higher productivity for testing team

4. More Transparency & Better Visibility

Agile manta promotes greater transparency amongst stakeholders in the interest of the project. Each stakeholder has a better visibility even when the product is shaping up. Agile preserves mutual interests of the stakeholders from a project perspective rather than catering to individual interests.

  • Agile imparts better visibility and a greater sense of ownership to all stakeholders
  • Encourages Close coordination and build mutual trust amongst stakeholders
  • Brings all stakeholders on the ‘same page’ in terms of project progress and expectations

5. No Frills Approach

The best part about Agile is that it’s a completely ‘No Frills’ approach to software development. There are no useless daily meetings, no irrelevant documentation and fewer paper artifacts. Agile teams self organize themselves so that information is timely communicated to all stakeholders.

  • Higher Productivity for all stakeholders
  • Face to Face Communication works much better than lengthy documents
  • If it doesn’t add any value, don’t do it!

Comparison with Other Methodologies

Critics love to point out how Agile is an ‘undisciplined’ methodology as compared to conventional methods like Waterfall Model. However, the truth is that Agile is a highly disciplined approach sans the overheads of conventional methodologies.

Agile often draws comparisons with the Waterfall model, which works in a highly structured ‘stage wise’ manner. Waterfall model is a nightmare from a project maintenance perspective if the requirements are ambiguous or misinterpreted and require changes during the course of the project. In comparison, Agile is far more accommodating to Change Requests at any time during the project.

Agile is often confused with another lesser known methodology called ‘Cowboy Coding’. As the name suggests, Cowboy Coding promotes a ‘Do it your way’ approach for all stakeholders in a project. There’ no accountability and little control over the project. In contrast, Agile promotes a sense of accountability in all stakeholders and ensures that the project is closely monitored and controlled through out the lifecycle.

Wrap Up

Like other mantras, Agile has its fair share of fan following as well as critics. Managing geographically diverse cross cultural teams is considered one of the biggest challenges for agile methodology. Many old school managers criticize Agile for doing away with too much to provide little value.

Project Management does not follow the ‘one size fits all’ rule so it would be inappropriate to believe that agile methodology is the perfect solution for all projects.  The key is to understand the real benefits of Agile and how it can benefit you and your organization.

EPM Live’s Spring 2014 Release is Here – Check It Out

Advanced social collaboration features, usability enhancements, animated reports and work management creativity take project management and social collaboration to new heights!

EPM Live continues to drive enterprise project & social work management value through innovation and cutting-edge features. Our new release leverages new tools that will streamline communication, increase productivity and overall project and work management efficiencies. We’ve jam packed it with rich social features, awesome new ways to plan, lots of new reports, several usability improvements and much more.

But, don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself! Check out the new features in action!

 EPM Live Spring 2014 Release Features Video






Feature Highlights

Social Stream

Our advanced Social Stream feature engages users in easy-to-use, real-time collaboration. An innovative feature fostering a technology-driven work environment that closely mimics the social experiences that employees have outside of work. Truly changing the way we all interact with team members and site content.

Kanban Planner

Kanban is very popular for a reason, it’s a dead simple way to visualize work as you progress through a workflow. Quickly drag and drop Kanban cards through “swim lane” workflow stages, allowing you to get back to the work at hand.

Powerful New Reports

We really put an emphasis on reporting in this release. Not only did we add several new reports but we really spent quite a bit of time ensuring that each and every report provided maximum value. Upland Analytics got a face-lift as well, sporting all new HTML5 charting capabilities and sweet animations.

Online Planner Fragments

Work smarter, not harder with Fragments. Fragments make it easy to re-use predefined sets of tasks. Build your re-usable tasks and save them for personal or shared use.

Timesheet Improvements

The Timesheet feature got a facelift in order to make it easier for users to navigate between periods. Also, saving timesheets is now immediate (I can hear applause all around the world!).

All New Integrations

You keep asking, and we’ll keep delivering. EPM Live easily integrates with third-party programs and is proud to include the following to its list of compatible integrations:  Atlassian JIRA, Visual Studio, Service Now and Salesforce Desk.

Templates and Apps

Five new pre-built solution templates have been added to our portfolio, all created on industry best practices and processes: PMO, IT, Agile, Professional Services, and Marketing.

and much more……read about all of the new features here!


Check out the new features in action here!

Sign-up for a free trial here!

Interested in a live webinar with Q&A? Click here!


The Resource Management Life Cycle- Effective Planning for Maximum Utilization

Employees are the most valuable asset and the biggest expense for most organizations. Any organization that fails to manage their resources to ensure that sufficient capacity is available, and that they are being assigned and managed efficiently, risks losing control of its project and work costs and having its business activities seriously constrained. The ability to deploy employees effectively against often conflicting projects and other work priorities enables organizations to optimize their return on human resource investments. In order to maximize both task throughput and company morale, resource and project managers need an efficient system to place the appropriate staff on the right teams at the right time.

Before we get into all the various levels of resource management, let’s touch on the basics.  What is resource management?  Wikipedia defines resource management as “the efficient and effective deployment of an organization’s resources when they are needed.”

The term “resources” does not always refer to human resources, but all resources that need to be considered when scheduling a project activity.  For the purpose of this blog I’m going to be referring to the management process for human resources and the five levels within it. 

Unlike some project management processes, in order to complete the resource management life cycle, all resources must play a role. Each part of the life cycle could be owned by a different stakeholder and will vary from organization to organization. 

  • Executive Management will play a key role in identifying and selecting the RIGHT work and projects for the organization to execute. In many cases, Executive Management will only be involved in resource management from a reporting and analytics standpoint. For example, which projects and work to include in the business portfolio based on resource management metrics and data?

  • The PMO will be in charge of inputting resource data into the resource management tool. The PMO will play a key role in the first two steps in the resource management life cycle including planning resource roles and identifying which resources will fill them. 

  • The Project Manager will be involved primarily with execution rather than the planning stage of resource management. Once the resources are assigned, the project manager will be accountable for resource performance.

  • The Project Team’s role is to collaborate with each other to foster a positive team environment. Shared knowledge and expertise will be a critical factor in delivering work successfully.

  • The team member’s main role will be to get the work done!


Let’s take a look at the full resource management life cycle. As you can see in the graphic, this is a top down approach to managing your resources. To truly accomplish full resource management within your organization, all areas must be considered and accommodated. That being said, it is always wise to consider organizational maturity as it relates to resource management to ensure you are adopting the right amount of discipline and functionality at the right pace to ensure you are not introducing unnecessary risks.

By the way, it is very common for users within your organization to be at different levels of maturity. One of the most important aspects of implementing and executing a new tool or discipline is that you understand your audience and their needs as well as their current processes in place to ensure that new technologies introduced will be easily adapted.

Resource Capacity Planning


Capacity planning helps to ensure that resource capacity meets current and future business requirements in a cost-effective manner. In the Capacity planning stage you will need to identify all the roles needed for the given project or work effort at hand. For example, which organizations or departments will be involved in your project? This will help you establish the structure for your project, potentially establish how your tasks will be organized, and even identify security constraints. 

What disciplines and skill sets are required to complete your project? Without the proper skill sets and expertise particular tasks may require more training, longer term times, possibly even result in rework. Effective resource management relies on the fact that these factors have all been considered prior to selecting your resources. Once you have determined your generic roles, you will need to determine the quantity of each role needed as well as the timeframe. 

As this information is obtained, you will then be ready to analyze your plan, make adjustments and prepare for actual named assignments.


Resource Allocation

Now it’s time to assign your team. Before we do, we must look at all the factors involved in this process. Who is available and when? What competencies or expertise do the resources possess? Have they worked on a similar project in the past and if so how well did they perform? Are they interested in working on the defined project and finally how much will it cost to obtain the resources for the project? 

In addition to the environmental factors, a roles and responsibilities document should be completed prior to assigning resources. An organization chart will also aid in this process when determining the resource assignments and when viewing the preliminary project schedule to see when each resource is needed and for how long. In many cases, the project team members are known in advance. In other instances, you may need to be prepared to enter a negotiation process with functional managers or maybe even other project managers, should the resource be currently working on other projects. In this case, project priorities and benefits may be weighed to determine which project has the greater need for the requested resource. 

In many cases, if project teams are already over allocated, there may be a need to consider acquiring resources from a 3rd party vendor or consulting firm. You may also consider whether or not having a virtual team will be adequate for your resource management needs. After resources are assigned and confirmed, you will need to be prepared to manage all future changes that could potentially come into play to ensure your plan is flexible and scalable to handle unexpected shifts in resource demand and allocation.

Resource Work Management


Resource Work Management is an ongoing process in the resource management life cycle that begins with allocation and ends at the completion of the final project or work deliverable. This stage in the life cycle is typically managed by the project manager. This process includes managing all assignments, tracking team member performance, providing project feedback and status, resolving issues and risks, and coordinating changes to enhance project performance. 

All of these tools necessary for project execution and management are also essential to your resources. As with any work or project deliverable, time, resources and costs must all be considered together in order to effectively and successfully deliver a project.

Resource Collaboration


Resource collaboration is a key practice in the way we work today.  Working together on work deliverables allows us to streamline our work, deliver services, and increase overall productivity across the organization. It’s simple math really, more experienced resources working together equals less time. Resource collaboration is a critical stage in resource management.

If your resources aren’t communicating and they aren’t working towards a shared understanding of goals, carefully putting together a resource plan pre-execution will be less productive. Resources must communicate in order to keep projects and work on track. When defining the tools to implement for resource management, ease of use and flexibility are essential to ensure high user adaption and effective collaboration.


Resource Task Management


The last level of the resource management life cycle focuses on those accountable for individual work items. We all have project work or various work items that we must complete and most likely that work is combined with our own personal to do list as well. In order to be the most productive, resources need a tool that will handle all of their work tasks and any personal tasks they may have in one location. Resources must be able to gather their work, update their work, and monitor all related work and dependencies in one system.