Good day, everyone!

I am wondering are there any good practices and tools for resource planning and monitoring between multiple teams and multiple projects running at the same time by different project managers?

E.g. in our organization at the moment we have about 6 Project Managers leading about 20-25 projects, and all of that projects using even biger amount of teams and individual resources ( vendor activity included ). All of the teams have different frameworks for managing their work ( I mean SCRUM, Waterfall, etc. ).

Ideally, i want some simple and handy solution that can bring together all the resources we have and allow us to achieve transparency.

P.S. Currently we're using excel for that matter, though it is not "simple and handy". Inside our organization we also have "jira","confluence", maybe you know any good addons or customized views that can be made for such purpose.

If you use Microsoft Excel and want to have an easy transition to a tool that allows you to aggregate data and display them in dashboards, then I suggest you try Smartsheet.

Smartsheet looks like Excel and has some (but not all) of Excel's functionalities. What it adds is that you share the sheets, and you can easily display data in dashboards. With Smartsheet you can, as well, create simple plans with Gantt charts, and add resource tracking. Therefore I expect you may have a sort of plug and play situation. You can try the software for free, so there is no cost.

I suggest you transfer the level 1 plans for each Project (just the stages) to Smartsheet, assign a PM to each Project, and then you can display in a dashboard the number of Project by PM, aggregate the Projects by the stage they are at (keep it simple at the beginning; like initiated, execution, close out - or something similar), and display this in a bar chart or pie chart, as well as showing the mix of Project methodology you have in another chart.

Keep it simple at the beginning, i.e. build a Minimum Viable Product and then you can improve it based on PMs' and Stakeholders' feedback.

With regards to Smartsheet, I shall clarify that I am currently using it with a payed licence as tool to deploy some of the PM processes and techniques. The software was already in use in the Company, and I am now actively using it to support PM processes, my answer is based on this my recent experience.

  • Answers which promote a product but do not disclose the author's affiliation are in danger of being closed/deleted. Please include your affiliation to the product (e.g. Do you own/work at the company making it, are you just a satisfied user, etc.) – Sarov Jun 25 at 13:08
  • I have now updated my answer, thanks for the comment! – Andrea Jun 25 at 22:27

What you are looking for is Project Portfolio Management (PPM)

If all your projects are related and are managed in a coordinated manner, that is what the PMI calls Program Management.

However, it looks to me what you have are possibly unrelated projects. So, I would say you should look into Project Portfolio Management (PPM).

i want some simple and handy solution

I am afraid with such a large number of projects, it is not realistic to expect any simple and handy solution for 'resource planning and monitoring'. It is going to involve significant amount of coordinated effort across all the teams to make it happen.

Following the Project management community since 2012, it is the first time I have read a question that describes many teams and many projects in such a scale.

In project management, what is the most important to my own opinion is to respect the deadlines and the budget. I take into account that every team you manage has a deadline and a budget.

Since I did my BAA courses in project management in the late 1980s, project management tools have evolved a lot. However, they seem related mainly to the IT industry and the construction world. Managers who have a degree in business administration learn other skills to manage a project team than how to use project management software. Even if many project managers don't like it and see that as over controlling, once a week you can call the project managers to see if they are going over budget and if their deadlines will be respected. If not, you can have a meeting with them to put them on track.

It sounds easy, but in IT and in the construction world, communication on those issues is a sensible point. The reputation of the project manager and of the contractor is at stake. So, having studied in business administration helps to manage susceptibilities; to increase the motivation of the manager and of their team members and it develops the quality of life at work.

You can use a word processor to do a weekly report that you submit to your own boss. When a manager demonstrates that he or she can provide those kinds of information without creating tensions or resentment, the teams he or she supervises will grow in innovation and determination.

Am I old fashioned, to believe that a telephone, emails and a word processor are sufficient to enable a manager to know really what is going on in his or her work teams? I don't think so. Since email appeared, many managers hide behind them, don't follow the budget spent and don't monitor the deadlines. So, the work environment is transformed into a competitive environment where some teams win and some teams lose; the usual blaming game starts when nobody is able to explain the failures that happened.

Too many times in my career, I've seen employees blamed for things they didn't do, just to protect the job and reputation of another. In a few years, that phase will be over and giving a phone call to all project managers will be perceived as normal work that builds a fun work environment to work in.

Those are general principles of management, but picking up the phone, sending an email, and writing a global report is the real test of competence in management.

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