Skip to content

Resource Management: The key to better portfolio execution.

Deepu Asok
Deepu Asok
2 min read

As I transitioned into my role as a project portfolio manager at Pfizer, I quickly realized that a significant portion of time for R&D functional managers is dedicated to resource management. This might come as a surprise to some, as resource management isn't often considered a "sexy" or glamorous aspect of project management. However, I've come to understand that resource management is actually one of the most critical components of an organization's ability to execute its strategy and achieve its goals.

To understand why resource management is so important, it's helpful to first consider what resources are. In the context of project management, resources refer to the people, equipment, and materials that are needed to complete a project. These resources can include everything from engineers and scientists to production equipment and raw materials like API or drug product.

When resources are managed effectively, they are allocated to the right projects at the right time, and they are used in a way that maximizes their value. On the other hand, when resources are mismanaged, they can become a bottleneck that slows down progress or even causes projects to fail.

In order to manage resources effectively, R&D functional managers must have a clear understanding of the organization's overall strategy and goals. They must also have a detailed understanding of the specific resources that are available, as well as their capabilities and limitations. With this information, they can make informed decisions about how to allocate resources to different projects, and how to prioritize projects when resources are scarce.

One of the key challenges of resource management is balancing competing demands for resources. For example, a new drug development project may require the use of expert formulation scientists, but their time may also be needed for an ongoing development project. In situations like this, R&D functional managers must weigh the potential benefits and costs of different options and make a decision that will ultimately be in the best interest of the organization.

As a portfolio manager, your job is to build systems and processes that can provide clarity about the project priorities AND the availability of resources in the organization.

Another important aspect of resource management is monitoring the progress and reprioritization of projects and making adjustments in the portfolio forecasts as needed. This includes retrospectively monitoring the use of resources and identifying any issues that may be impacting performance.

Building a strong resource management capability is a critical aspect of an organization's ability to execute its strategy and achieve its goals. Through effective resource management, R&D functional managers can help ensure that resources are allocated to the right projects at the right time, and that they are used in a way that maximizes their value.