We discussed strategic reserve time last time. Now we will take a closer look. You want to keep your schedule promises and make them stick, so make sure you are allocating your resources correctly.
All project managers complain about being given unrealistic deadlines by their teams. Did you ever consider that you could be guilty of setting unrealistic deadlines? It’s true. It’s possible to cause your own problems if you don’t know how much time your resources actually give you.
Last time, our talk was “What’s strategic reserve time?”. Strategic reserve time is the time a resource has to work on your project after completing their regular commitments. This can be done by looking at the total time a resource has available.
Available – Not only available to you. Available to do his/her job. This approach is not for everyone. We need to know how many hours each work period will last. Some people prefer to say that our resources work until the job is done. You know what? That sounds amazing! That is a great resource set. It is a very unrealistic way to plan. It is important to establish a baseline for how much time someone will give us and to use that expectation as the basis of our time. Are we expecting him or her to work 40, 50, 60, and beyond?
Next, we have administrative time. Everybody has tasks that they do every day. These activities are not always related to a particular project. It could be answering phone calls, responding to e mails, answering questions, or attending staff meetings. It’s all part of working life. We should plan accordingly.
We also want to think about catch-up time. It’s a simple concept. You have to get things done before you can do other work while you’re away from work. There are things that happened while you were away that have been left on your desk, whether it is physical or virtual. There are many great things out there that just need your attention. It is important to keep this in mind and plan accordingly. This is what makes it so difficult to return from vacation. This is why you may feel like you need a vacation after returning from vacation. This is also true for your project team members. We must plan for catch-up.
Some things are more important than others, and these are special projects. These are not projects. They are just part of the type of project you manage. These are requests from other managers. Request to gather data for a presentation or to fill-in for the boss during a meeting or event.
To know how much time someone can put into your project, you must know if they are giving you their strategic reserve time OR the amount of their available time that does not include admin, catch-up and special projects. Because their strategic reserve time is actually their available time less the admin time and catch-up time.
Strategic Reserve Time = Available – (Administrative Time + Catch-up Time + Special Projects)
If you discover that 50% of your time is spent with someone, and they are available for 40 hour a week, does that mean you should get them 20 hours a work week? It could be that you get them for only 10 hours per week.
This is a job for a project manager. This isn’t the job of a resource manager or functional manager? I must confess that I made one of my students mad when we were having this conversation. He raised his hand to say, “I’m a little mad right now.” “And of course, I asked him why. He replied, “It’s because you’re telling project mangers to do my work. I’m com