Maximize Team Performance

There have always been challenges associated with getting the right people and enough people assigned to the project on a timely basis.  What can you do to maximize team performance?  

Getting people assigned to your project is only half the battle.  It is a matter of timing… particularly scheduling of the resources that can make the difference between success and failure.  When projects are schedule driven with hard dates, the it may become necessary to schedule more work in parallel.  Now it becomes a very delicate balancing act to make sure work is performed in the most logical and least risky manner AND taking into consideration resource loadings.  This is where the art and science of resource optimization comes into the picture.  There are two forms of resource optimization.  They are:   

  • Resource leveling:  When work is performed in parallel, it is possible that although the work could be done at the same time, because both require the same resources (human or non-human) an over-allocation would be created and must be resolved.  By shifting one of the work efforts to a different timeframe, the resource issue is easily resolved and work will be prioritized accordingly.  These “soft” logic constraints will enable the project manager to model the project schedule more realistically and minimize resource risks.  Any leveling seeks to limit the resource requirements to their availability.  This tends to lengthen the overall schedule duration.   
  • Resource Smoothing:  On the other hand, smoothing strives to keep resource levels constant by working within path float.  Unlike resource leveling, it is less likely to extend the project end date.  Benefits include: increased team productivity because team size and composition remains stable.  First of all, workloads remain relatively constant and this reduces stress.  Second, communications is improved when people are familiar with each other and the work.  The third benefit is that teaming efforts are more effective when the team composition remains constant and relationships are formed.  It prevents a lot of the churning and lost productivity that occurs when teams are changed frequently.   

Effective and realistic scheduling of project work is necessary to achieve project objectives.  Poor scheduling increases not only schedule risk but also resource, budget and scope risks as well.  Good planning in all dimensions is integrated into the project schedule when using schedule modeling tools.  It is the project manager’s responsibility to ensure measures are taken to create and commit to the schedule they define.

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