Successfully Managing Part-Time Project Resources

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In case you are like most project managers all over the world, a lot of of your resources are part-time to your project. Assuming you can’t get them full time, this article with 12 suggestions will allow you to obtain efficiencies from the part-time resources you do have and assist with the delicate balance of scheduling part-time resources effectively.

Let’s go by means of a scenario to present the company context of a possible situation relating to a part-time resource. Let’s assume Sally has been assigned to your project at 25% allocation as a company topic matter expert in payroll. This resource is crucial to your project because the existing payroll method is being replaced. Sally will be the most senior payroll person inside the Payroll Department.

Tip #1 – Establish just how much time you will need from each resource and attempt to obtain that percentage of time allocation accordingly. If the manager of a part-time resource says you’ll get them ?¡ãas considerably as you’ll need them?¡À. Let the manager know you’ll schedule the resource for 25% per week for 10 hours (or whatever you’ll need). The far more specific you can be, the greater. Setting particular time commitments up front using the part-time resource and the manager is important. Make sure the commence and end dates are also discussed and finalize any time off the part-time resource could have (much more on time off later in this article) throughout the project lifecycle.

Tip #2 – How do you truly know Sally is going to be available to function 25% on your project – apart from Sally and her manager committing to the 25%? Has the payroll department delegated 25% of Sally’s payroll responsibilities to somebody else? If not – this wants to go on the risk log as a possible risk because the Payroll Department is no longer staffed sufficiently (assuming Sally was busy full time inside the payroll department). Nobody likes becoming on a risk log and by bringing this to the attention of the payroll manager that They’re putting the project at risk by not delegating Sally’s responsibilities to an individual else – they just may find someone else to whom they are able to delegate some of Sally’s responsibilities.

Tip #3 – Test and baseline the “reality” of Sally being available 25%. To do this, have Sally log (in 15-minute increments) where she is spending her time (by way of example, project function, payroll activities, and “other” for time off, training, etc.) At the end of the two weeks – establish if Sally was really accessible to work on the project 25%. If not – supply this information to Sally’s manager as well as the project sponsor to discuss other alternatives. These alternatives contain: offloading some of Sally’s payroll responsibilities; choosing a various person to be component of the project team (despite the fact that Sally might be the very best individual, if she’s not going to be offered as required this can be problematic); or lowering Sally’s time dedicated to the project based on Sally’s realistic availability. You’ll be able to then see how these alternatives impact other essential path activities and the overall project schedule. The goal is to develop a schedule which is realistic based on the time commitment resources will be able to work on the project.

Tip #4 – Guarantee the baseline time period that was monitored was representative of the person’s “normal” work patterns. For example, for Sally month end is often really busy due extra activities that need to be performed at that time. In case you did not baseline during this “busy time” – then you need to baseline once again – or for a longer period of time to make certain accuracy of the time availability for the resource.

Tip #5 – Don’t assume their time off for vacations, educational, and illness will be proportional to the percentage of time allocated for the project. In Sally’s situation, if she takes four days off of function, when she returns to function will she be available right away to function on the project 25% or will Sally require to dedicate several days to the payroll department to catch-up and then be available to the project at 25% after that period of time? Once more – it’s all about communicating expectations so you’ll be able to establish a schedule which is realistic and manageable.

Tip #6 – Discover if the resource is obtainable on an overtime basis to do project work if they are not able to create the committed number of hours to the project in a given week. This at least supplies a safety net, if Sally does have something unusual surface with her normal payroll activities or if project function is taking much more hours than planned to complete. You’ll merely want to make certain this doesn’t turn into the “norm” and Sally ends up working 60 hours per week all the time to deal with all her responsibilities.

Tip #7 – At times it’s useful to have the resource be offered to the project “at certain periods of time” for a higher percentage of time to enable the resource to “get their head around” a project related activity and to simply get some tasks completed. In the course of these far more “mind intensive” times, attempt to negotiate a greater percentage of Sally’s time (perhaps even full time for a couple of days) – and then “give back” to the Payroll Department some of Sally’s time when the payroll department requirements her more including at month end.

Tip #8 – Monitor the actual time worked carefully and if it’s not working – say something proper away. The habits that get established inside the early stages of the project will “stay as is” should you don’t say something based on what the real organization impacts are most likely to be. If you say absolutely nothing -management (and Sally) will assume you’re acquiring sufficient of her time for your project wants, regardless of what was committed up front.

Tip #9 – Only ask for the time which you truly want. Should you require the resource 25% – then ask for 25%. The last issue you need to have happen is asking for 50% when in reality you only need that individual 25%. Be honest about what percentage of time the project truly wants, and if your original estimate is off (either too high or too low) then let management know so adjustments can be applied.

Tip #10 – Try to acquire fewer team members at a higher percentage of time – assuming it is possible to acquire the abilities you will need using the fewer men and women. In other words, I would prefer to have a 10-person team with each and every individual becoming 50% vs. a 20-person team with every individual becoming 25%. You need as few individuals as feasible to reduce communications issues via much less “hand shakes” between team members.

Tip #11 – Supply a dedicated project work region for part-time resources. Obtaining the resource away from their typical work environment is vital to guarantee focused project time and avoids the distractions from their typical function activities. Furthermore, try to setup “project work hours” for a given week. For instance have Sally work on project activities on Tuesday and Thursday from 8am-noon. A minimum of attempt to setup a “normal” time for the part-time resource to perform project related work, producing deviations under special circumstances as appropriate.

Tip #12 – Ask the part-time resource what exactly is best for them when it comes to timing when they are going to perform project tasks. Every single individual will be different in terms of what could work finest for him or her. The much more you understand their function habits and their non-project function responsibilities, the far better job you’ll have the ability to do achieving a realistic balance between project and non-project responsibilities.

Dealing with part-time resources isn’t effortless – but having a small extra time and effort on the project manager’s behalf – you truly can leverage your part-time resources effectively and efficiently to obtain your project objectives and objectives. Should you feel of the feasible methods it can function with an open mind – you’ll likely wind up having a realistic schedule and a opportunity at juggling every thing successfully all through the project lifecycle.
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