The Resource Allocation syndrome: the prime challenge of multi-project management
of Multi-Project Management:
2 research questions:
(1) On a project portfolio-level, are there any operational problems that are general to multi-project management?
(2) If so, which underlying mechanisms of the multi-project setting cause these problems?
Flow of Presentation
? Two cases were analyzed :
? Signaling systems, contract division
? Telecom operator R&D division
? Common characteristics
and differences were observed.
? The common problems and their reasons.
? Project interdependencies and lack of resources
? Priority setting and resources reallocations
? issues concerning prioritization of projects and the distribution personnel
? Competition between projects
? Due to ambiguous cause?effects relationships, unclear project priorities, and conflicting interests between different projects and departments
? Short term problem solving
? both the steering committees and middle management were occupied with ad hoc problem solving.
? Long-term knowledge development or process improvements, were always subordinated to short-term problem solving in different singular projects.
Consequently, there was a widely spread feeling of inefficiency in both organizations.
? 1. Common multi-project management problem
Resource allocation syndrome.
? This happens when the portfolio management
is overwhelmed with issues like:
? Prioritization of projects
? Project personnel transfer
? Search of slack resources.
? This particular problem is common to all multi-project setting independent of project type, size, members or the context.
? But resource re-allocation is not a fruitful solution, it causes more negative effects and forces the management to continuous fire fighting
which leads to reactive behavior and short term problem solution
? 2. The underlying reasons???
1. Causes disturbing resource demand
? Failing project scheduling
? Failing project scheduling
? Centralized resource planning system in both the cases.
? Personnel allocated to different projects w.r.t time schedule
and office priorities.
? So, priori planning becomes after-the-fact-prioritization.
? Over commitment
? ?Canary cage approach?- by Clark and Wheelwright.
? Without changing the platform technology and any increase in resource availability, more projects are added by management.
2. Causes disturbing resource supply
? Paying based on engineering hours spent on projects. This is considered as earning to the particular department.
? Department meeting, learning and idle time are considered as costs to the department.
? So incentives for engineering hours only, not for productivity improvement.
? In case of R&D, no available information about personnel and potential efficiency improvement to the management.
? Opportunistic behavior of project managers
? Politics between departments
? It proves that resource allocation syndrome is the common enemy to all multi-project portfolios.
? This problem is not only a planning and scheduling issue, the accounting system, incentive structure, internal politics etc are playing vital role in it.
? Multiple projects handling does not mean to superimpose an extra level of co-ordination on the traditional system and structures, more time and money must be spent on review meetings, new necessary infrastructure .
? The whole system of managerial procedures has to be re-conceptualized from its roots.