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I handed over one of my projects to another project lead. Before that, I shared my resources more freely between my four projects, to ensure stress was bearable for all and milestones were met.

I defined a fixed resource group and handed it over to the new lead but I see him always taking/wanting everything when I'm giving him something.

Are there literature recommendations or tips on how to successfully compete with other project leads for valuable resources?

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  • Have you tried just... asking him? It's possible he misunderstood the act of 'handing over' to mean, well, handing over, as in he now has total usage of that group.
    – Sarov
    Sep 9 at 13:07
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There should be a decision authority, like a steering committee, who allocates resources to programs and projects within its scope. If you're a project leader of a few of them, your task is to build a case for what you need. That same authority would also handle and provide solutions for those who are trying to consume more than what was allowed.

You need to escalate this issue you're experiencing to this decision authority to get a resolution.

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How to successfully compete with other project leads for valuable resources?

You don't.

Resources (including people, who are not resources) should be managed based on company's interests (not business priorities, because they may differ).

Granted, business priorities is one of the dimensions to consider.

Unlike resources, however, people have aspirations. And is the company interest to retain valuable people around.

There shouldn't be a competition for resources at company level. If there is, it means something else is dysfunctional. Someone, somewhere, may be putting personal interests above company's interests.

You, as a project manager, need to understand these dynamics (mainly business priorities and people's aspirations, but your context may have other aspects to consider) and use this data to present a case to your stakeholders on such decisions.

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  • Whilst I agree with this in spirit Tiago, I think David Espina's answer is the most practical and applicable answer. The truth is, A Steering Committee will assign people to a project based on the business case. In an Agile environment we might not have a steering committee but there will still be some sort of Integration Team or Senior Leadership Team that approve the adding or removing of team members from Feature Teams. I am certain that is what the OP is after. Sep 9 at 9:41
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    I agree, @Venture2099 - my answer was focused on challenging the idea of competition. There shouldn't be competition, and I believe both answers are telling the same in their core: there's no competition. There's a company-wide prioritisation process and the PM role is to support this stakeholder decision in a fair, data-based way.
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Sep 10 at 21:37
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If you are competing for resources, it is because you have not agreed with the other project lead what the split of resources should be. Your project documentation should define your resource requirements, including the finances, the equipment, and the people. If that isn't the case, then you have a hole in your documentation, so a first step might be to fix that. This should then allow you to have a sensible discussion with your colleague, and possibly with your manager / his or her manager / your project sponsor / etc., so that you can reach a position where you know how the resources should be split - and also so that you can manage your finances. If your people are being pulled onto the other project, you must (presumably) be underspending on people costs, and this should show up in any project reviews - again allowing you to have a discussion about what is needed.

Your organisation will likely have some sort of priority between the different projects, so maybe it is happy for you to lose people to allow the other project to progress faster. That's all fine, but you should know that. Or maybe it wants your project to take priority, in which case you should be able to tell your colleague this, and that person then has to make a case to make a grab for "your" people.

Ultimately it comes down to managing expectations - yours, your colleague's, and the organisation's. If you are responsible for delivery and you have not delivered because you gave away your resources, you need to be able to justify that and defend your decision, or face the consequences. It's great to be nice, but sometimes you also have to be strong and hold your ground, unless told otherwise by someone who has the necessary authority. And just remember that if your manager says one thing and the other person's manager says something else, escalate the issue, provide the ammunition, and let the two managers fight it out.

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