The Three Most Common Problems Associated With Multi-project Resource Scheduling

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Cooperation is a major challenge when dealing with multiple business projects.
Cooperation is a major challenge when dealing with multiple business projects. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

The three most common problems associated with multi-project resource scheduling are related to a lack of supply. There is only so much that can be distributed in terms of either time or manpower in even the largest businesses. Companies must pick and choose among their projects and decide which will get what kind of attention and when. This process is likely to cause competition within the organization as well as confusion and occasionally delays.

Competition

Most businesses have more good ideas than they can reasonably expect to devote resources to. Management often must choose between projects assigned to different groups that have an equal chance of success. The resulting competitiveness must be managed to avoid bitterness within the organization. Once projects are underway, competition will also arise as each project head attempts to gain maximum project resources. This can make it hard for upper management to correctly gauge how successful any single project is or how much more in resources to provide. Upper management must inspect the progress of each project carefully to separate fact from fiction.

Confusion

Because project heads can be prone to declaring greater likelihood of project success only if greater resources are allocated, there can be a great deal of confusion associated with multi-project resource scheduling. The more projects there are, the more conflicting signals a company will have to sort through before deciding who gets what. This isn't a challenge that a business can afford to take lightly, since allocating appropriate resources to a project actually can make the difference between success or failure. If you use too much of your time or manpower on one project at the expense of another, it can lead to large financial losses.

Delays

Projects are often delayed due to untimely provision of resources that often results from the confusion and difficulties associated with multi-project resource scheduling. Many times, businesses lose out on at least some of the profits that they might have gained because they were late introducing a product to the market. In a free market, timing makes a great deal of difference in how your company performs. The most successful companies are those that are skilled at resource scheduling and able to minimize under-allocation.

Solutions

Many solutions to the problems associated with multi-project resource scheduling have been proposed, with varying degrees of success. Some experts stress the value of interlinking projects so that different project heads are required to cooperate with one another in how they share resources. In this way, the employees involved in one project also become accountable for the success or failure of others. Another approach is to place more than one project under the management of a single individual who will then be responsible for successfully allocating resources between them.

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