Resource Management Lessons from the Big Leagues

Professional sports teams know a thing or two about resource management. Often blessed with big budgets but vying for top-level stars in a highly competitive environment, these organizations utilize a number of strategies for developing, finding, and maintaining vital resources. If your project team needs to up its game when it comes to resource management, consider how the pros take care of business.

Your team should always be cultivating new resource centers. Sports franchises shop around for the best players, sometimes luring them away from other teams but often spotting them early in their careers, playing for high school, college, or farm teams. Enterprising scouts may discover them playing in other countries or even in other sports. Similar principles apply in project management. No matter if your Project Team already has solid sources for labor, raw materials, and other critical-path resources, it’s important that you continue to seek out other potential supply points. There’s no telling when the best prospects will pop up where you least expect it, or when a historically stable source of materials will run dry.

The project office needs to be aware of other resources options that are available to them. A sports team could include every top player in the sport, but that doesn’t mean their coaches and recruiting scouts are resting on their laurels. They’re still open to new players with the right skills. Though your Project Team may have a list of readily-available resources that are used over and over, you should still know what could be substituted for each one if an unexpected shortage of your preferred item occurs. Fold this into the normal contingency planning on a per-project basis or your Project Team may choose to source alternate materials on a scheduled basis as a general precaution.

Inactive resources can continue to produce benefits for the team. Stadiums are often rented out for other uses during the off-season or when the team isn’t playing. Players may participate in community events or charity games outside the normal season schedule as a way to connect with fans and keep ticket holders engaged. Both strategies, though focused on otherwise “inactive” resources, help to ensure a steady revenue flow for the franchise. Project Teams can manage resources in a similar manner. Look for ways to expand each team member’s competency level if their assigned project activities hit a lull. Create opportunities to connect with frequent sponsors, even if they aren’t currently attached to a project. Network with vendors so the team is aware of market drivers and upcoming price fluctuations. These efforts will make the Project Team more productive and cost effective in the long run.

In some cases, quality resources can be difficult to replace, so treat them with care. Teams know they have one primary stadium for games or a limited number of practice fields, and they must pay attention to how those resources are maintained. Established schedules for upkeep ensure the facilities are in top shape and teams frequently include these spaces in branding and community outreach efforts. Players, another valuable resource, receive robust medical care and their health is sometimes monitored in the off-season to ensure the best results. Project Teams will want to identify their own core resources that may have maintenance or other needs. Are critical technology platforms kept current with security patches and other software revisions to ensure their continued usability? Does the team maintain certification levels across all internal and external resources, so that credentialed support is always available? Providing ongoing support for important resources should be a part of every project team’s mission, as these efforts will pay dividends into the future.

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