Like most senior level Executives, your boss will be involved in lots of different projects, making the decisions and driving these initiatives forward. If the projects are not managed by a central project management office (and in smaller organisations, this is often the case), then you can add value by helping your Executive plan out the projects and manage the paperwork and administration. One of the first steps to take when starting a new project is to allocate the resources needed to complete all of the work successfully. This is a step to step guide on how to help your Executive allocate resources on projects.
How to help your Executive allocate resources on projects
Have a resource planning meeting
The first step is to sit down and plan out what resources you are going to need to complete the project or task. You can do a lot of the work outside the meeting, but you will need to get together to finalise the details. So put some time in your Executive’s diary before they start any project to plan out the resources. If you are working as the PMO (project management office), you will need a few more meetings including the resource planning meeting so bear that in mind when you are working through your Executive’s schedule.
What exactly is resource planning?
For any project to succeed you need the right allocation of resources. This could be people, budget, time, space or equipment. There are a whole load of resources that are attached to projects, and it should all be thought through before you start. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself or your Executive before or during your planning meeting:
- Who is going to be on the project team?
- What are their function and responsibilities?
- How long will the project take and how long will each team member be working on the project?
- What meeting space do you need and can it be booked in advance?
- What equipment do you need for the project? What is the purpose of the material and how much does it cost?
- How often will the team have to meet, again can this be planned so that critical milestones are hit?
Along with the list of resources you also need to think about how these resources play out during the project, for example, you should look at each element of the project, each task, and add your resources to that task. The detail should be this granular because there will be times when your resources are required for more than one part of the project but might also be needed on another part of the project. This is called resource dependencies, and you will need to plan when and how your resources are allocated so that one part of the project isn’t delayed unnecessarily because it is dependant on a resource being used elsewhere.
Time is often one of the most crucial resources in any project, mainly if your Executive is involved and has to sign off the project milestones. So, it is also worthwhile creating a resource schedule for your Executive. This can be done on a calendar and shows how long each resource is needed and when it is required. There will always be conflicts over resources, especially if you work in a small team so this overview will give your Executive all the details they need to move resources around if the project stalls or there is a risk of it stalling.
Project Management Resources
As we are talking about resources I thought I would mention that we have a great ‘Project Management for Assistants’ session on our PA Essentials online course and The Future Assistant 2018 on-demand course. If you would like to learn more about project management and a whole other load of skills and tips then please do check out our online courses here.