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The setting is >500 people IT services. You can think of it as a staffing agency, we only do T&M, although we hire our consultants (we have a bench). We do not really mange projects, what delivery managers focus on is making sure a client is happy and people are filling their timesheets.

We are struggling with the following:

Information about availability of people for projects is restricted to the resource management team. This includes peoples’ profiles, too (who is available, since when, skillset, etc.). This hampers planning and transparency for delivery managers, who are in charge of keeping their projects staffed, because all information is centralized and resource manager is a "global gatekeeper". He is the only person able to answer resourcing questions and provide people.

We have tried to open information on availability and profiles of people to delivery managers, but it ended up in contention, managers effectively skipping resource planning, fighting for best resources, etc.

How to address this? Is there a way to avoid contention whilst maintaining resource availability information available to managers? Any best practices?

I have ability to "influence" this process, but I feel that without strong "proof" or meritocratic approach I will not be able execute on it.

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    The answer will largely depend on how much authority you have in the organization. A CEO's approach to fixing this will be vastly different from a grassroots approach. – Sarov Sep 19 '18 at 15:52
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    Please improve your question with more context about what you've tried, and why that didn't work. Open-ended questions are off-topic here. – Todd A. Jacobs Sep 19 '18 at 16:30
  • What kind of contention did you see? Did the delivery managers all ask for the same people even if others were available, or did you end up with a general shortage of resources? – Bart van Ingen Schenau Sep 20 '18 at 7:32
  • I have extended the question. Hope it is clearer now. – Marcin Sep 20 '18 at 8:45
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This sounds like a symptom of a larger organizational dysfunction.

You don't mention any organizational norms for justifying resource needs, or any organizational vision for how contracts should be staffed. In the absence of those things, it seems each contract is its own little fiefdom, and each delivery manager is quite reasonably out to advance the interests of their own contract without any regard to the interests of the overall org.

It would be best to try to remedy that from the top down, so that the delivery managers' interests could be held in alignment with the best interests of the company. For example, contracts might be classified A, B, or C priority, so the C managers know going in that they're not going to get the quality of people that the A managers get. Or they might be classified on a risk basis, so that mitigating company risk was understood as the basis on which resources would be assigned. Or some combination -- you get the idea.

I think you have to look at the delivery managers' incentives. Unless they have incentives that foster a broader outlook, they have no reason not to try to game any system that you put in place.

Good luck!

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I would echo the sentiment that "this is a CEO-level concern." It is a business strategic concern, not simply something that can be answered by project management software. Very-senior management, to whom all of these people eventually report, needs to take up these matters with all of the relevant stakeholders and to devise a policy decision. It's out of your hands, except to raise it.

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