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By Curt Finch and Bruce McGraw

Insight Into Resource Availability

In a 100 person organization, there are always five or ten people who are overbooked. Everyone wants these people to work on their projects. Every time one of them takes a vacation or becomes ill, the organization groans. Conversely, there are other people who are under-utilized.

Even when project managers understand resource availability, it changes. They might run around and get all of the vacation schedules recorded in a big spreadsheet, only to find that a week later it has all been moved. What project managers need is real-time access to team member schedules, tasks and available time. This makes assigning people to tasks much easier. (Such a system must also be web-based, since the team is probably not all in one workspace 24 hours a day. This is why spreadsheets don't work very well. Not only are they unable to be audited, but they don't allow for global access from various participants.)

Real Data for the CXO

It is extremely important to present project data to management in an easily consumable way. Executives just want to know, at a glance, what is broken or about to be broken. They are problem solvers, and they can only succeed if they have up-to-date, accurate information. Such data will also allow executives to prioritize projects based on their value to the organization at large.

The Bottom Line

When IT workers track their time by task and project, project managers can address problems as soon as they surface and executives can understand cost expenditure. This will put an end to project failure, as well as eliminate the waste of resources on projects that are not profitable to the organization. No IT organization can afford to have 1 out of 3 of their projects fail, but with the right procedures in place, they won't have to.

* (Apfel, Hanford, Light, Stang, Mieritz, & Fitzgerald, 2008)
** (Mayer & Hancock, 2005)

About the Authors:
Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx (http://pr.journyx.com), a provider of Web-based software located in Austin, Texas, that tracks time and project accounting solutions to guide customers to per-person, per-project profitability. Journyx has thousands of customers worldwide and is the first and only company to establish Per Person/Per Project Profitability (P5), a proprietary process that enables customers to gather and analyze information to discover profit opportunities. In 1997, Curt created the world’s first Internet-based timesheet application - the foundation for the current Journyx product offering. Curt is an avid speaker and author, and recently published “All Your Money Won’t Another Minute Buy: Valuing Time as a Business Resource”.

Bruce A. McGraw is the CEO of Cognitive Technologies (www.cogtechinc.com), a professional services firm delivering project and program management services, products, and PMO tool implementation to commercial and government clients. Mr. McGraw holds an MS in Technology Management from the University of Maryland's University College and a BS in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina. Mr. McGraw is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and is an active member of the Project Management Institute. He has trained in four project management methodologies, has authored numerous articles, and presented workshops in a variety of topics, including managing virtual project teams.

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