Many of the issues facing project teams are the result of inadequate resources to successfully execute an initiative. Too few people to handle critical tasks, too little money to deal with the unexpected bumps and challenges that sometimes come along, and not enough time to get everything done.
But what happens when your project has too many project resources? Does such a thing even exist? It does, and it presents some key risks your team needs to understand and manage.
Too much time. While this may be one problem project teams never expect to have, the luxury of a project schedule with lots of elbow room can create some unwanted areas of risk. A well-crafted project timeline is efficient, with activities consolidated where possible and task handoff gaps minimized. On the flip side, a schedule that’s open-ended and has little in the way of expectations leaves room for things you don’t want.
- People don’t have enough to keep them busy, leaving them at risk of being pulled away to support other projects.
- Your preferred vendors may be hesitant to commit resources or even bid the job if they’re concerned the time windows don’t have enough structure.
- Stakeholders are likely to use the lack of firm deadlines to continuously tweak (read: expand) the project’s scope.
- Your project loses the cost efficiencies of streamlining and optimizing activities, resulting in negative consequences for your budget.
A rigorous project management methodology with proven techniques and processes for estimating and gathering task duration estimates is a fundamental element in properly managing a project’s time component.
Too many people. Though it’s uncommon, projects sometimes end up with more people assigned to them than the effort requires. This may occur when stakeholders miscalculate the number or scale of the effort’s task list, or when niche expertise and labor are forecasted but not ultimately needed.
Worries related to having too many people allocated to a project range from low-key and annoying to potentially show-stopping if you don’t identify and address them early.
- Team members may start stepping on others’ toes—either deliberately to take on stretch tasks and expand their skill set, or by mistake—and sometimes without even realizing it.
- Competition among team members can escalate to the point it’s detrimental to the effort if people are worried their contributions won’t be recognized among so many other participants.
- There’s a risk that tasks could slip through the cracks because everyone assumes the activity is on someone else’s plate.
Complete visibility into the project’s activity schedule and a methodology that emphasizes accountability are critical to minimizing the risks of having more people available than your project requires.
Too much money. Project teams are much more accustomed to minding lean budgets than wondering what to do with an abundance of money, but those who find themselves awash in funds may discover the prospect of wide-open line items isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
- You’re likely to find your budget is the target of loan requests, particularly if other efforts are underfunded or their teams have overspent.
- If executives recognize your project has more funds allocated than are necessary, they may decide to redirect money elsewhere without consulting you before making the change.
- Having a sizable sum of unspent money at the end of one project isn’t usually a problem, but if it happens regularly, you may encounter pushback on future budget justifications.
Transparent data and a consistent, well-documented budget development process are critical in creating and defending realistic funding requests. They’ll also help you demonstrate that today’s seemingly “extra” money will, in fact, be consumed by the project later.