Thursday, 17 May 2018

KnowledgeSmart and the 6 Secrets of Project Resource Management

How can the KnowledgeSmart tools influence the process of allocating scarce resources among the various projects or business units in your company? 

According to the Thinking Portfolio team, there are 6 secrets to good project resource management.

There are of course many different types of resources in any project, e.g. people, machinery, materials, technology, property and anything else required to deliver the work. Many project plans also demand internal and external resources to be managed.

Here at KnowledgeSmart, we tend to focus on people, possibly one of most critical resources project managers have to manage.

KnowledgeSmart Tools and 6 Secrets of a Project Management Resource Plan

We have included our logo icon in the image above indicating where we feel the KnowledgeSmart tools can have influence.

Resource Estimation

Before you are able to do any kind of estimation you need understand your team's expertise and job responsibilities. The KnowledgeSmart skills assessments and customisable datafields can be great to gather this important data.

  Collection of Data

KnowledgeSmart Survey ToolThink critically about what information is needed. What data do you actually need, what data is known now, what data will be useful This will narrow down the data that needs to be captured. Is there additional data that might be better captured using the KnowledgeSmart survey tool or will you only use the skills assessments for now?

Don't just analyse your KnowledgeSmart results data. Remember your 5 unique datafields which can be customised to your requirements as well as the default background data KnowledgeSmart captures during the assessment process.

Once you have analysed your data think about how best to include it in your resource plan. With KnowledgeSmart being a cloud-based tool and working on all devices your team and you will be able to reflect, learn and repeat the process as many times as is needed.

A good resource plan

KnowledgeSmart Results BenchmarkingHaving an objective global view on the skill levels of your available resources can be very powerful in identifying potential pitfalls in project delivery and enable the introduction of productivity improvement measures necessary for the business to meet its strategic objectives.

The KnowledgeSmart data query tool, charts, and benchmarking tools can make a valuable contribution to your resource plan.

The KnowledgeSmart user profile area encourages engagement to make sure that all team members are aligned and working towards common objectives.

Schedule Development

Use your KnowledgeSmart results to influence your activity duration estimates. All results can be viewed based on score (accuracy) and elapsed time. If for example, you see your star user took 4 minutes to complete a question on detailing, this might help you estimate this part of the project schedule a bit more accurately. Consider grouping your results based on project teams as this will help you re-shuffle the teams based on project requirements as well as design urgent training interventions where it is needed most.

If you know the project requires certain aspects of the project to be delivered within a tight timeframe, you can allocate your top 10 users to this component for the critical days. Use the KnowledgeSmart Data Query Tool to filter to your top users within seconds. Allocate the right people to the right segments of the right projects based on actual skills.

 Negotiating for resources

When negotiating for resources, there are a few components that require consideration. The negotating parties might include your client, other project stakeholders or other functional managers within your organisation. In all cases, there might be differing opinions on project feasibility. There is no doubt that your negotiation skills will be tested. To negotiate about resources you need a clear understanding of the other party's needs and be able to clearly explain how you plan to meet those needs.

Having a solid understanding of the skill levels and skill gaps of the team behind you is indeed good ammunition.

 No more guesswork, data-driven decisions.

 Let KnowledgeSmart be one of the project resource management tools you can't live without.

Monday, 14 May 2018

The abounding value of KnowledgeSmart (Part 3)

Once you have done your analysis on the current status quo and formulated realistic, achievable goals and objectives, it is time to use your KnowledgeSmart data to help you get back on track.

This phase of strategic planning includes typically:
  • Developing supporting strategies and initiatives
  • Structuring action plans including resource plans
  • Deciding on the appropriate tracking systems
With the results analysis of your current resources in place, you can now quickly identify where new resources might be needed to support any growth plans. You can also make sure that you hire the right people for the right projects. You can start using your 'star users' easily identified from your KnowledgeSmart results to help support team members who need further training and development. Department managers can restructure their project teams according to skill level and project requirement using both the score and time aspects of your KnowledgeSmart results. You might even grow your competitive advantage by identifying unique resources or capabilities within your team that may be difficult for other organizations to emulate?

The efficacy of training/coaching and mentoring plans can be tracked by doing follow up assessments customised to the contents of those plans. These types of assessments are short and very useful. Training budgets are often tight, and with your KnowledgeSmart results, you can direct training only where it is needed and prioritise which teams should get assistance first. Monitor improvement in scores, time elapsed, improvement in self-rating scores and a reduced number of training requirements and personal skill gaps.

Bid for new projects with confidence knowing the team that is behind you will be able to deliver.

The KnowledgeSmart Tools deliver so much more than skill assessments and should instead be seen as an essential strategic management tool.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The abounding value of KnowledgeSmart (Part 2)

Following on from our previous post, let's consider the second strategic question.

Where to do want to be?

During this significant phase of strategic planning, a company can use their KnowledgeSmart assessment results combined with research on future trends and competitor analysis to formulate a series of positioning statements.

Review the valuable data collected in the last action.
  • What trends can be identified?
  • Do you spot any visible areas of weakness or strengths?
Look beyond just the assessment results in terms of score and elapsed time. Consider the additional data captured by KnowledgeSmart by default such as:
  • Primary learning method
  • Years of experience
  • Self-rating (this indicates confidence)
  • Frequency of use (this could help focus your training plans where it might have the most significant impact)
This step in strategy development  might also include:
  • Vision statement
  • Mission statement
  • Goals
  • Objectives
  • Positioning statements
KnowledgeSmart Assessment data can also be beneficial in helping companies formulate realistic, achievable goals and objectives.

Once companies have an objective measurement of the current situation, they can set more realistic achievable goals and objectives. Companies can even use KnowledgeSmart's internal or global benchmarks to influence their goal setting. Repeat assessments can assist with measuring interim outcomes as plans progress.

How will you align your teams with your strategic goals? Use your KnowledgeSmart data to restructure according to skill and productivity.

What are the roles and responsibilities going to look like? Use your assessment results to identify your star users and retain them through additional development and recognition. Focus learning just on what is needed and re-assess after training interventions to report a positive ROI.  Have confidence in your team when pitching for new projects.

No more guesswork. Reliable, objective, valuable data to influence this phase of strategic planning.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

An overview of the value of KnowledgeSmart

The abounding value of assessment and strategic data capture to drive: better recruitment, effective project resource planning, productive training and development plans as well as strategically focused human resource management teams.

The abounding value of KnowledgeSmart (3-part series)

KnowledgeSmart helps businesses calibrate the data they need to answer the 3 most important strategic questions for any business:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How can we get on track again?
Let's focus on the first question.
KnowledgeSmart strategic value
KnowledgeSmart and 'Where are we now' question
During an assessment KnowledgeSmart captures data that can, together with your results data, influence your analysis and strategic decision making. This data includes: Number of years experience, Primary Learning Method, Learning Country, Frequency of use 
Primary Industry/Discipline, Self-Rating Data, Primary Role and more. 
KnowledgeSmart User Data Capture
Additionally companies get to customise 5 unique datafields to capture further information that might be of value in filtering or grouping their results or users e.g.Project Team,Project Experience,Office Location,Certified (yes/no),Current Manager.
Filter KnowledgeSmart User Lists and Results
KnowledgeSmart Data Query Tool
Strategic planning is not only about having a clear direction to steer towards, but also about building resilience and agility to respond to change. KnowledgeSmart data can be an instrumental part of your environmental scan and evaluation of your current strengths and weaknesses.

Look out for part 2 soon.