Stupid resource planning in projects


Most projects are supposed to work like an S-curve; first there is a slow kick-off period where people are familiarizing with the scope, then there is the production period with a high workload and steady progress, and then there is the finalization period with lower workload but that takes time due to many interfaces being involved in QA prior to delivery. Real projects, however, end up behind schedule, the project execution is intensified towards the end, in order to regain the lost time. Resource availability, however, is typically not updated to the new reality, and hence, there is need for overtime. We may call the three phases of real projects

  1. Familiarization (as planned)
  2. Waiting for input and getting delayed (not really as planned)
  3. Panic phase to delivery (really not as planned)

Al of this is illustrated in the graph below.


What is the effect of this sort of bad management? Overworked people, loss of quality, increased price and inevitable delays. We have seen this many times – we do we still keep on doing it? The antidote is

  1. Better follow-up of stakeholders from the beginning
  2. Allow some slack in the schedule to avoid cascading schedule impacts
  3. If adjustment of plan is needed, do not forget to adjust the manning plan as well – excessive overtime produces bad output


When this happens in safety management projects, it is reason to get worried; we really do not want subpar performance of the project output. So, for the safety of our people we owe them to manage resources in projects in a better way – don’t overlook the obvious.

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