Allocation and Costing of Human Resources

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Joined: Wed 08 Sep 2010 1:38 pm
Location: Westminster - London

I am studying Prince2, MS Project and Project In A Box and it has occurred to me that in all of them the principle is of allocating task to individual resources (for the argument of this discussion in house people resources).

It is also said in the courses I have done and in the books that I have read on project management that project managers often do not have direct control and authority over their resources and must use a lot of politicking and interpersonal skills to persuade people to do their task on time and to the quality laid out in the relevant product schedules.

Surely this is not the most efficient way to go about managing a project.

Departmental managers have direct control over their staff and abundant authority to insist that task are completed on time and to expected quality standards.

It seems logical to me that using the principles of ABC, every department should be able to establish an hourly rate for the use of its services. Costing the project in this way must be more efficient than assigning individual pay rates to each individual employee.

It also makes sense that allocating a task to a departmental manager has considerably more benefits than having the project manager deal directly with the departmental managers team.

In a scenario where a task has to be completed, discussion with the departmental manager identifies that this task will take five days or 40 man-hours. Does the project manager really care who does the work; the only thing that s/he needs to know is when it will be completed. The departmental manager may say 'I can only allocate one person to this task' which means it will take the full five days, but on the other hand, s/he may be able to put two or three people on to it and considerably reduce the time in physical days that the work will take. Also, the additional benefits would be that if people cannot work on the task for whatever reason, or the project was falling behind schedule, the departmental manager could reassign other people from his or her team to keep not only the task on track but also the whole project progressing on time.

The other benefit is that the departmental managers would not feel that the project manager threatens their authority and they would feel more included and committed to its successful completion.

The only argument I can think of against this would be that the departmental manager is very busy running the daily activities of his or her department and does not have time to manage additioal project issues. I know this may sound autocratic but my counter argument would be 'make time and delegate'.

It will be interesting to hear the views of experienced project managers on this subject.
Stephan Toth
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