Can adding more resource to a project actually help project meet its deadlines

1 Feb

I was referring the PMBOK Guide Version 4, wherein I came across a statement, which says

If a schedule is shortened, often budgets needs to be increased to add additional resources to complete the same amount of work in less time

So begin with, my disclaimer, I am a huge fan of PMI and Prince 2 and have highest respect for the work these folks are doing towards the project management profession. However, this particular statement in the Page no 37 of PMBOK Guide Version 4 made me think whether this particular statement applies to the software development industry. So I went on to read into the PMBOK guide to see as how exactly PMI defines the term” Resource

As per PMI Glossary section Resource is means “Skilled Human Resources (Specific disciplines either individually or in crews or in teams), equipment, services, supplies, commodities, material, budget or funds”

Also this particular meaning of Resource as per PMI and inclusion of “Skilled Human Resources” is creating some confusion in my mind as why in spite of adding so many people with specialized skill sets project managers fails to deliver the project on time, within budget and to complete satisfaction of the clients.

I feel that adding human resources to the already late projects or midway or after project kickoff stage in the projects always delays the project or disturbs the smooth execution of the projects. Whenever a person who works in the project leaves the project midway, it increases the cost of the project and increases the schedule of the project.

Whenever a new person joins the projects mid way, below are some of the activities that needs to taken care by project management,

1. Understanding the technical complexities of the project

2. He needs to build confidence among his peers and managers

3. He needs to understand various stakeholders involved.

4. He need to understand his role and duties correctly and how to apply it to his assigned project.

5. He needs to pick up some skills or enhance his own skills sets

6. Project Introduction

7. Project Team culture understanding.

In addition to those above points, there might also be lot of other overheads involved like getting him tagged, introducing him to the client etc. All these activities take considerable time in software industry, which indirectly adds to the project schedule.

In addition to all above points, that particular statement from PMBOK guide, also have other negative side effects. One of the other growing culture, I have seen is that functional managers are now using that particular statement in shrugging off their responsibility and accountability towards the project which their organization is undertaking. For functional Managers it is as simple as saying “We did allocate best 10 people to this project X “maybe these people did not perform well to the expectation of the client. However, the real situation over here is that these 10 people with the required skill sets were send straight in to the war zone with out any preparation or maps given to them.

So I would like to repeat with Frederick Brooks had said decades back, Software industry is highly skilled specialized industry and adding extra people will not guarantee you a speedy delivery. I also feel that PMI needs to understand that PMBOK guide is widely used by software professional worldwide and they need to further refine or clarify the term “Resource”.

I am also going to post this question to other management experts and see what they have to say on this particular topic. I will keep responses from those people posted here on this blog as well.

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