One of the key challenges that face organizations, whether in the private or public sector, is to develop their staffing plan for managing the delivery of their capital projects. Unlike those organizations whose business is driven by standard operations, projects by nature are unique as well as temporary. Therefore, the project staffing might be in majority based on a new hire and for limited periods.
Those organizations might adopt one of two strategies in providing the project management staff. The first is to recruit their project management staff or outsource the project management staffing to a qualified third entity. The latter seems to be a growing trend among organizations in the public sector where they want to transfer the risk of having the qualified staff to the third party entity which is usually a global project management consultant that has better access to those resources.
The staffing plan is usually driven by the capital projects to be undertaken by the organization which is aligned with the organization’s 5-year strategy plan for which all strategic initiatives will be identified as programs. Each program will include the projects that need to be executed to realize the benefits and thus achieve the strategic goals of each program. This will enable the organization to identify the needed staff to manage the project life cycle stages from initiation to handover and closeout covering the phases of initial planning, tender for design, design, tender for construction, construction and testing, and commissioning stages. In addition, this could be a requirement for public sector entities where they are restricted from employing non-national staff or might have restrictions on new employment overall.
Using Project Management information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb, the organization can have a comprehensive staffing plan that can be monitored, evaluated, and reported on. To start with, PMWeb modules for Program and Project will be used to capture the details of all strategic initiatives and needed projects. In addition, the PMWeb resource module will be used to capture the details of all staff that will be involved in delivering the identified portfolio of projects. Those could include project director, project manager, contract manager, cost manager, planning manager, quality manager, safety manager, project engineers among many others. As the names of those resources will not be known at this early stage, the resources will be identified by their roles.
For each project, the duration of the project, as well as the duration of each project life cycle stage, needs to be identified. PMWeb Scheduling module will be used to create the project schedule which will mainly include the project life cycle stages as activities. Those will be the activities of Initiation, Initial Planning, Tender for Design, Design, Tender for Construction, Construction, Testing and Commissioning, and Handover and Closeout.
It is highly recommended to have the organization chart for each project life cycle stage identified as this will ensure that the right team members for each stage are considered. This also helps in formalizing the authority levels for that stage. Using PMWeb Organization Chart module, the organization chart for the project life cycle stage will be created and the associated resource for each position will be dragged and dropped in its intended location in the organization chart.
The next step is to use the PMWeb Resources Requirement module to identify the resources needed for each project life cycle stage. The resource requirement form allows selecting and linking the project life cycle stage activity associated with the stage to be staffed. Similar to other PMWeb modules, the resources assigned for each stage will be dragged and dropped from the resource module. For each resource, the start and finish date of the resource deployment in case the resource is needed at a certain time interval of the project life cycle stage will be selected as well as whether the resource is needed as full-time or part-time and level of involvement.
Using PMWeb business intelligence report writer, a report will be created to consolidate the staffing requirement for all projects that are part of the programs or strategic initiatives.
After approving the staffing plan and acquiring the resources as listed in the plan, the PMWeb Time Sheet module can be used to capture the actual resources spent on each project. The resources will be linked to the project life cycle stage activity to enable the organization the monitor, evaluate and report on the approved staffing plan.
About the Author
Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with more than 35-year service record providing project management and controls services to over 100 projects with a total value over the US $5 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education, and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication, and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training, and business development.
Bassam is a frequent speaker on topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 35 years, he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 250 articles on project management and information systems featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).
Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.