Time, Money and Ability, people are not resources

Project management, or more to the point managing the elements of a project, involves three things. Often only two are talked about when it comes to the success of failure of a project, time and money. There is a third element to developing a successful project and that is ability. The ability of the people to get the work done. A good project manager, whether agile, waterfall or traditional PM methodologies like PMBOK or Prince, should have a good handle on the abilities of the people he or she is responsible for.

Understanding someone ability to get something done is critical to the resource management of a project. Most of the resources on a project that do the actual work are human beings; people. They are not just a list of skills in a spreadsheet, they are people with multifaceted abilities and if a project manager does not understand that, then regardless the project will become a death march.

Sadly, I’ve often found that project managers don’t have a handle on the basic fundamentals to start with, Time and or Money. Very few project managers from the traditional practices have a good understanding of project accounts and budget allocations and how and where to use them effectively. Again, few project managers understand timings and the dependencies caused by time. I’ll summaries that point with the old project management joke, A woman will have a baby in approximately nine to ten months, you can’t bring the lead time down by getting another eight to nine women pregnant, so that the full term baby is born in one month.

With that joke in mind, add ability, we want a human baby, so therefore we can only use humans with that ability, it would be no good trying to get a man pregnant and if you were to bring in additional resources in the attempt to bring the lead time down, it would be even more stupid if one of those resources was a man.