I was taken aback by the above comment from someone on a recent project management course. The group had been discussing project management problems and RESOURCE THEFT was mentioned.
The group listened as the course participant explained that he would be working on a project and then all of a sudden a project resource (a person) would be taken away to work on a project that is ‘more important.’ This happens all to frequently according to this person. When asked about the consequences of this on his project he mentioned that delivery dates would not be met.
This was not simply one individual saying this. There were several others in the project management training course who said it has happened to them. So, we looked at ways of managing this process:
- complete a change request form – as someone suggested, this is a change to the project and should be managed as one; with the sponsor signing the chnage request
- if this is common practice or history suggests that this could well happen again then put this on to the risk log – specifically raising this with the project sponsor before it happens
- one person suggested it is the job of the project manager to manage issues such as this which means developing skills still further especially with resource allocation (this did not go down too well in all quarters)
- educate your senior managers/sponsor on project management generally and specifically of the impact of any changes before they happen – see next point
- create a priority project list. This would ensure everyone is clear about what the priorities of the project are – but it would not mean thefts would stop…it could act as a mechanism though for discussions and debate
- One person suggested that they should put their head above the parapet - something we had spoken about earlier in the project management course
This is not the first time this topic has come up on one of our project management training courses. It is however it’s the first time anyone has used the words ‘resource theft!’
What are your suggestions for dealing with this issue or even preventing it from happening?