Thursday May 09, 2013

Resource Management Maturity Model Benefits

 Wayne Caccamo, Sr Director, Product Marketing, Oracle

In a previous post we introduced the the Resource Management Maturity Model (RMMM) which is described in a white paper which you can download here. We defined the purpose of the RMMM as a tool that enables organizations to define and execute an effective resource management strategy. Here we describe four potential high-level benefits of adopting the RMMM as an Enterprise PPM (EPPM) best-practice tool.

1. Common Language

The RMMM provides resource managers, portfolio managers and business executives in project-intensive organizations with a framework and common language for communicating about resource management objectives, issues and outcomes. Terms like resource utilization and capacity, for example, mean different things to different stakeholders. For example, some people include or exclude non-project work in their working definitions of utilization. Total capacity may include vacation time and holidays. The RMMM doesn't prescribe the "right" terms to institutionalize and the "right" definition for those terms. But, it does raise awareness about the need to create a standardized language and the challenges associated with accomplishing this.

2. Roadmap

The RMMM deliver a roadmap and a guide for stakeholders that helps them characterize their current level of maturity and determine the optimal, aspirational level of maturity. In other words, it's hard to plot a course to where you want to go without firmly understanding where you stand.

3. Clarity

The RMMM attempts to expose clearly the implications and consequences of aspiring to or operating at a particular level of resource management maturity in areas like data gathering and reporting requirements, software technology selection, governance infrastructure, and resulting business benefits. Too many organizations charge off with a software technology strategy, for example, without understanding the process and governance implications or vice versa.

4. Software Selection

One fall out of the RMMM, as eluded to above, is that it can prepare stakeholders to make better assessments of PPM software options for resource management and choose the solution that is best suited to meet current and projected needs. Many PPM software applications are geared for environments which assume a very high-level of process sophistication and burden users with resource-related data input requirements. Other solutions operate at a higher-level only while still others can provide a growth path from a low-level of maturity to a very high level. The key is to find a solution that let's you bite off only what you can chew at any given point in your resource management maturation journey.

3 Dimensions of Business-Driven PMO Maturity

Wayne Caccamo, Sr Director, Product Marketing, Oracle

There is no shortage of maturity models in the PPM space that are very tactical in nature. From a business alignment perspective it is useful to talk about PMO maturity in terms of three dimensions: Approach, Scope and Impact.

pmo maturity dimensions

This also serves to clarify the vocabulary used in the industry around three common terms to describe PMOs, at least for the purposes of this blog article, but perhaps beyond. These terms have all blended together and are sometimes used inter-changeably. But, it would be useful to make some distinctions and standardize the industry conversation around some commonly accepted definitions as follows:

  • "Business-Driven PMO": This term is associated with the Approach dimension and it can be defined as the degree to which a PMO is driven by a business stakeholder and "customer-oriented" mindset

  • "Strategic PMO": This term is associated with the Impact dimension and can be defined as the level of impact on executive-level strategies, business processes, pain points, risks, portfolios and programs (versus projects, tasks, internal PPM methods and tools).

  • "Enterprise PMO": This term is associated with the Scope dimension and can be defined as the extent to which the PMO field of influence transcends organizational and functional boundaries and formal project and non-project/operational work.

In sum, Approach is about mindset, Impact is about strategic vs. tactical effect, and Scope refers to having influence across both functional areas and organizational boundaries and the spectrum of formal and non-formal project work.

The key message here is that it’s important to keep these maturity vectors in balance. For example, if the goal is high level of Strategic Impact than the focus will be on strategic initiative and program execution rather than project execution. This drives movement along the Enterprise PMO Scope in order to execute on strategic programs which typically transcend organizational boundaries. This, in turn, assumes a more Business-Driven approach supported by business leadership and an understanding of strategic objectives and metrics.

The Resource Management Maturity Sweet Spot

Wayne Caccamo, Sr Director, Product Marketing, Oracle

The Resource Management Maturity Model (RMMM) defines five levels of process maturity: 1: Work Visibility; 2: Controlled Assignment; 3: Governed Capacity; 4: Schedule-Driven Availability; 5: Granular Management. One of the principle tenets of the RMMM is that higher is not necessarily better when it comes to the maturity of your resource management process. In fact, for most organizations, the optimal level of maturity is Level 3: Governed Capacity.

We call this the resource management maturity sweet spot.

At Level 3, resources are managed at the "project" level rather than at a more granular level like project phase or task. In other words, resource management is essentially a top-down process as opposed to the next level of maturity where resource assignments are driven bottom-up from the project Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS) at either the project phase level (Level 4) or detailed project activity level (Level 5).

Managing resources at the "project" level of detail, provides most of the benefits organizations desire in terms of the ability to assign resources to the highest priority projects, manage capacity to meet existing and future demand, and track project and portfolio costs.

At the same time, it doesn't burden organizations with the additional process complexity associated with bottom-up resource management. The key business benefit of more granular resource management control -- the ability to accommodate incremental demand with existing resources in a highly time/schedule constrained environment -- may not be justified simply because of the potentially onerous information and supporting technology complexity and process maturity demands.

To illustrate exactly what you are signing up for when you go bottom up, consider this.  WBS-driven resource management puts the burden on project managers to accurately:

1. Maintain and update project phase dates
2. Assign individual resources to the relevant phases; and
3. Provide utilization requirements by phase. 

For a portfolio with 100 projects, with an average of 5 phases per project and 5 resources per phase, the required number of data values to be kept up to date by the PM is 100x5x5x3 or 7,500!

If the organization does not possess adequate process maturity, the dependent capacity planning and governance processes will be driven from a mass of unreliable underlying information. This is a big risk.

In sum, understand your resource information requirements carefully and make sure you can justify the incremental maturity level benefits with the additional process complexity and associated risks. 


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