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Video 2020 European Virtual Conference: Why Resource Management is the Key to Business Agility amid Global Changes

November 4, 2020 | By Greg Bailey

You can watch the replay of Marc Neckermann’s full presentation, “COVID-19 demands for Resource Portfolio Management (RPM) capabilities – Resources are the new critical path and the true enabler for Business Agility,” below:

Marc Neckermann of Valkeen Kicked Off the ProSymmetry European Virtual Conference on October 8, 2020

We were delighted to host our Tempus Resource partners and customers at our 2020 European Virtual Conference. Our half-day gathering included presentations on roadmapping, software integrations, achieving resource transparency, a deep dive into Tempus Version 5.2 features and upgrades, and more.

Certified Tempus Resource premier partner, Marc Neckermann of Valkeen, launched our conference with a look at how Resource Portfolio Management is the true enabler of what organizations need during this time of major global changes: business agility.

The true enabler for business agility

In his presentation, Neckermann digs into why resources are the new critical path, especially given the changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Already documented changes to work have greatly accelerated, propelling us toward what Neckermann calls a “new work order.” Today, the rise of remote work has become a permanent feature of the landscape. An internal analysis by Xerox Palo Alto Research Center concludes that, “future corporations will consist of a digital, core talent base. The rest will be provided from an independent cloud of temporary and mobile resources.”

How well prepared are organizations for all this change? The answer lies in their Resource Management capabilities, which are the key to thriving in the “new work order” with business agility.

“Resource Portfolio Management is the ability to utilize resources most efficiently and globally for the delivery of strategy by matching resource supply and demand (top-down and bottom up) while deriving a skill-based strategic HR plan.”

Marc Neckermann

Beyond simply agile frameworks, Neckermann stresses that real agility is embedded into every level of the company. At Valkeen, Resource Portfolio Management is a three-layered approach, including Strategic (long-term planning), Operative (day-to-day functions), and Cultural (each resource’s humanity). Moreover, RPM is part of a four-pronged approach that coordinates Portfolio Management, Project Management, Process Management, and Resource Management, all in order to create, deliver, and capture value while rolling with external changes.

Resource portfolio management

Ultimately, people are your agents of innovation, transformation, growth, and agility. Therefore, companies need PPM with RPM capacities, in order to find the most efficient and effective allocation of all resources (money and capacities), who are the true critical path.

What does a roadmap to RPM rollout look like? Neckermann offers 12 concrete steps:

  1. Define resources’ high-level roles
  2. Assign FTEs to roles
  3. Prioritize your capacity plan on portfolio level
  4. Assess feasibility: only start projects that are feasible
  5. Execute your first HR Plan: A supply and demand analysis based on roles
  6. Replace generic resources (roles) with named resources
  7. Compare plans vs. actuals to optimize your forecast
  8. Institutionalize process, governance, and tool (e.g. Tempus) via a RMO (Resource Management Office)
  9. Develop a multi-dimensional skills matrix
  10. Execute your second HR Plan: A supply and demand analysis based on skills
  11. Motivate your people (really, do this throughout)
  12. Achieve a dynamic skill strategy

Such a roadmap stands to offer organizations enhanced transparency, communication, speed, flexibility, strategic HR capabilities for workforce management such as retraining, satisfied customers, and satisfied employees. All of these are what a company needs in order to achieve true business agility.

To learn more about how Resource Portfolio Management can bring your organization business agility in times of continuous change, contact ProSymmetry, makers of Tempus Resource. And be sure to check out all of our speakers from the Tempus Resource 2020 European Virtual Conference.

Transcript: Why Resource Management is the Key to Business Agility amid Global Changes

I’m very excited to open today’s conference with an intro presentation about the current necessity of resource management, and we will meet later today at 4:20 again where I, together with Elmar Lotz from Deloitte, will share insight of our project and how we transformed Deloitte’s PPM to a real RPM (Resource Portfolio Management).

Resource Portfolio Management or RPM is the new PPM.  I don’t know, at least it should be a very important capability within the PPM division.  The recent Corona crisis has again been another accelerator of what we call constant change.  The latter is what we need to be prepared for as an entire organization and the means to do so is called business or enterprise agility.  So why does business agility need resource management?  I will try my best to onboard you on that in the next 15 to maybe 21 minutes, it depends on my performance today.  I don’t want to speak too fast.

Before you kick back and relax I want you to read one statement here.  The statement has been the result of an internal analysis by the vice president and director of Xerox Parc and it’s about the job market.  This statement has accompanied me for the last five years, and I won’t make any comment on it now, but we will follow up on it later.

“Future corporations will consist of a digital core talent base. 

The rest will be provided from an independent cloud of

temporary and mobile resources.”


After a brief introduction of myself and Welkin, I will talk you through business agility and workforce management as two approaches for rapid change.  Then I will show you a generic roadmap for RPM, it’s benefits and success factors as well as wrapping up in the end.  So that is the plan for today.

My name is Marc Neckermann and if you have any questions or you would like to schedule a one-on-one, continue our conversation, just reach out.  The slides will be shared after the conference, so you don’t have to write anything down.

Phone:  41 44 585 22 39

Cell CH:  41 78 907 80 70

Cell DE:  49 176 328 77 308


Valkeen is a PPM consulting firm based in Zurich, Switzerland, and we are offering process change and tool consulting all around PPM.  When we speak about PPM we always have portfolio project, process and resource management in mind.

Myself, I got very passionate about resource management lately because on average the level of maturity is very low but the potential benefit very high, and I will speak about the level of maturity on average later at 4:20, but for now and at the moment many companies are steering blindly when it comes to resource management.  First a little fun part.  Who led the digital transformation of your company?  CEO?  CTO?  CIO?  Covid?  I saw this picture on my socials in mid-May and I really had to laugh, but it’s true.  The digital transformation went slowly and Covid is the major accelerator when it comes to collaboration, digitization.  Things have been accomplished overnight and not within months or years.  We’ve seen that Zoom integrations, Skype for business, whatever it is and many other aspects have been accelerated.

Business Models/Business Agility

Speaking of change, we live in a constant state of change.  The only thing really for sure is that change isn’t going to stop and there is no journey from A to B we need to transform our company to.  So what is changing?  We see entire new businesses, business models as well as products.  And we see the way of work is completely changing towards a new work order.  The approaches to deal with those challenges are called business agility for new business models and for the new work order, workforce management.  I will start on the left-hand side and will explain why resource management is the key enabler for both approaches.

So, how do we make sure to still create, deliver and capture value while constantly being exposed to change?  We need to transform the entire organization towards business or enterprise agility, but that doesn’t mean agile execution or scaling agile via frameworks or just digitizing existing processes or products.  It means so much more.  It’s about the entire corporate culture, meaning how we plan, how we steer, how we execute, and as well, how we innovate.  The innovation lies within the human resources and skills, and just on that part, innovation, I heard a very inspiring speech on last year’s PPM Summit in London from thought partners and for boards of directors worldwide.  This guy is called Andreas Exner, and the speech is on YouTube 278 Ways to Own the World, and he recommends to his clients, CEOs, and boards of directors to have a future, take your 10 best resources, lock them in a room for a year and ask them to do nothing else but develop a product or a service that would destroy your business.  The only good thing about it is that you will own it and not your future competitor and that is a direct call for innovation.  Because how do you know who to put in that room for a year?  How do you know who is able, skilled and capacity-wise to start a very important, cross-functional strategic project just tomorrow?  You are considering shifting from projects over to product.  How do you do this reorganization without knowing your resources?  It’s a huge one-time effort.  I’ve seen that.  Yes, and what if you need another organizational form in just 6 or 12 months or from scratch because many don’t have a repository of the entire resource pool and that makes it very, very difficult and you might be too slow when it comes to change.

So, business agility means the ability to react and adapt to change as an entire organization, and your organization is your resources.  So, better know your resources and this enables clearly for business agility.

New Work Order/Workforce Management

The pandemic has amplified the change of how we work and the need to adapt to these new working models.  I will go to them in a second, but what is really new about the new work order?  What is new here?  The remote work is something we are all experiencing at the moment and this is just characterized by the challenges of managing now remote and as well, hybrid work models, which are changing the entire landscape and, therefore, as well the difficulty is to coordinate resources and dependencies now having people working remotely in virtual environments.  Zoom CEO, Eric Yuan, went so far as to say that the Corona crisis will change the entire landscape of how we work forever, and he might just be right.  But the truth is that the rise of remote work has been slowly coming for the past 10 years but we didn’t notice it that much.  But yes, Covid-19 poured a lot of gas on the remote work fire, that’s for sure, so for managing these work models we or you should know who’s working on what for how long and has what kind of skills.  Generation Zed, I call it the new manifesto of the new work order.   Why is that?  Covid-19 or not, Gartner estimates that by 2030, and they did this analysis before the Corona crisis, that the demand for remote work will increase roughly by 30 percent as that generation fully enters the workforce.  And these guys have a compete new understanding of work/life balance, remote work, so that’s why I call it the manifesto because I think we are not going back to an old normal or something.

Next aspect.  Workforce management or strategic HR, digital talent-based dynamic skill strategy.  The old ways of predicting skill needs aren’t really working anymore because now the skills landscapes are changing so rapidly and HR leaders in the past have heavily relied on demands and needs outlined by business leaders but in these fast-changing conditions, business leaders themselves are unsure what kind of skills they need now and what they will need in the future.  So business leaders need a dynamic skill strategy.  Build an enterprise-wide job repository with all your critical tasks and assignments including your skills, define your digital talent base and make yourself comfortable with what is in scenario planning because it’s time to think ahead.  The new work order is not about a remote work experiment, one of the biggest or something, it is the starting point of a complete new work landscape, so resource management enables for workforce management and strategic HR.  Very important.

So, again.  Back to the statement.  Our today’s conference is in the cloud, documents are in the cloud, software is in the cloud, infrastructure is in the cloud, and surely a lot of employees will work in the cloud very, very soon.  But again, how to start this transition.  How do you know who is your core and who in the future cloud?  The future cloud is much more than just managing your current fulltime employees working remotely.  This cloud will be a global workspace serving as inter and Trent organizational SharePoint for knowledge and information, an independent cloud.  Well, so how do we plan, how do we steer, execute, innovate, outsource, transform?  We need resource transparency.

Expectations Vs Reality

And, guess what.  Next chapter, RPM.  RPM is just about that…resource transparency.  But first, this is the typical situation in many organizations before we implement resource portfolio management.  For the majority of companies, project assignments equals resource transparency or single source of truth, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.  What lies in the blindfold is base capacity, net capacity, absences, business as usual, net availability, plan versus actual to derive the proper forecasting, primary roles, secondary roles, team assignments, skills and for an optimized resource management you need 100 percent transparency and a zero tolerance policy on blindfolds especially for critical resources such as bottlenecks in IT for example.

This is a definition as I’m sharing the slides I will not read you through this definition because this is rather boring.  At Valkeen we have another approach of describing what RPM is about.  It consists of three major layers:  strategic RPM, I’ll come to this point later; operative RPM; and cultural RPM.

Strategic RPM

Strategic RPM is just about workforce management, strategic HR, training, retraining and hiring.  So, it answers questions, such as what kind of skills do our operations demand next year and the years after, do we get those skills on the supply side on the market or do we have to develop those by ourselves.  What should be our core, what should be in the cloud?  Remember the statement.  And what kind of skills do we clearly want to outsource because outsourcing decisions happen unconsciously or just because you have a lack of internal capacity and that again leads to the fact that on the most important projects I see the most externals working.  So the concrete task here is to develop a dynamic skill strategy, build a job repository, change the underlying old-fashioned supply and demand models towards what-if and scenario planning

Operative RPM

Operative RPM or resource capacity planning or RMO, resource management office, the same thing as project management office just for resources, and this is the operating system of the RPM, the heart.  The concrete task here is about assigning FTEs or named resources to task, analyze plan versus actuals in order to derive a proper forecasting and manage utilization levels.  We will see Daniel from Lonza speaking just after me about utilization levels.  Very interesting because you don’t head towards 100 percent here.  In an agile environment, of course, this is about assigning initiatives to teams rather than entry sources, but still manage inter-team dependencies as well as product and product line dependencies.  I want to make a quick excursion on the topic of agile.  Many organizations think that with scaling agile and doing products rather than projects and now having dedicated teams, resource management challenges just disappear.  Yes, they maybe do, but according to Robert Handler, who is research vice president at Gartner, they disappear only when you meet the four following restrictions:

First, you successfully exceeded the transition to enterprise agile.

Second, you have more than adequate funding in terms of money and skills.  I mean an endless pot of skills and capacities and money.

Third, you have completed the transition to software as a service platform, as a service and infrastructure as service.  Why is that?  Because that makes the pain point from keep the lights on and run the business just go away and then you have dedicated teams.

Fourth, you have institutionalized and effective product portfolio management.  So then maybe, but that’s rarely the case, dedicated teams to be seen really I’m completely agreeing with that, seem to be ideal, but less than dedicated teams are the norm or found in reality because you still will have cross-functional scars enterprise resources.

The third layer, cultural RPM, is just dedicated to the human being of the resources.  This layer focuses on identity of people, their motivation, therefore the ambition towards innovation as well as towards transformation.  And besides that, we all need to know purpose is a very, very powerful intrinsic motivator and this element, cultural RPM, is a huge responsibility for resource managers and team leads as they are the only connection to the people, especially now having Corona crisis, it’s even more difficult to reach out to those people, know those people.  So the concrete task here, rolling and constantly team rebalancing if you have dedicated teams, do sounding boards or for personal development schemes, answer the why we are doing this. Purpose and meaning.

Roadmap to RPM

Let’s get to the generic roadmap and how to roll out these three layers into an organization.  Of course you can’t do everything at the same time and I’m going to show you this as a generic roadmap and this isn’t a maturity model or something, but rather serves as kind of a guideline.  It’s clustered and colored according to the three layers I was describing in a previous slide.  First, we have a lot of elements from the operative RPM.  You can tell by the colors.  Define high-level roles, teams, generic resources, then assign FTE to those generic roles and teams in order to plan on FTE basis on aggregated capacities.  Then you prioritize, but not only on business cases and KPIs, but as well on capacity plans in order to reach your first checkpoint on that roadmap.  Your feasibility.  Only start projects or initiatives that are feasible.

First strategic RPM element.  HR plan number one.  Of course, supply and demand analysis is justified product because you now have roles.  But, as I said, old-fashioned supply and demand analysis of course you can use what-if and scenario planning here already.  Then you shift over to teams and replace FTEs with named resources.  Do plan versus actual in order to optimize your forecasting not controlling the people.

Then, second checkpoint, it’s an operative RPM element institutionalize process government and yes, you might think about a solution in terms of a tool and get rid of spreadsheets for resource management here.  Second checkpoint, skills.  Designer skills matrix via roles and named resources.  Then you have an HR plan number two, what is not based anymore on generic resources but rather unnamed resources and dedicated skills.

Motivation first second cultural element, cultural RPM element, established purpose and perspective, but don’t get me wrong on this.  You don’t do this at the very end of your road.  Please, go ahead and just do it from the beginning, but this is the latest point you should start considering doing something about cultural RPM and motivation and things like that in order to achieve the real dynamic skills strategy.

Conscious in- and outsourcing, core, cloud.  We talked about that already.

Benefits of RPM

  1. Transparency and communication, of course. You have a single source of truth served with communication base for stakeholders.
  2. Speed of reaction. Flexibility because you are able to manage shifts of whatever it is, projects, markets, changes, reorganization, you have your resource repository just in place.
  3. Strategic HR. Prepare for the tomorrow what is ahead.  Optimized mid- and long-term employment plan tailored to your demand.
  4. Satisfied customers, of course. Continuity, commitment, no failures and robust promises towards all clients.
  5. Last, but not least, satisfied employees. Prevent over utilization, frustration and assign resources based on their true skills and development.  And then you are business agile and ready for the new work order.

Before I leave that slide to wrap up, I want to emphasize something on number three and number five.  Everyone already feels the shortage of skilled workforce on the market, especially for high-tech skills like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, or data analytics.  According to the CIO Magazine, in 2022 only 20 percent of the worldwide demand for these high-tech skills will be met by the worldwide supply, and what does that mean?  Of course, developing and retraining in those high-tech skills is a must-do, as well as binding those people and resources and specialized people to your organization and, you know, the best always attracts the best.

Wrapping up, PPM is to find the most efficient allocation of resources per definition in every book and resources is not only money and budget, but as well capacities.  Capacities and skills are limited and mostly more limited, as I have seen, than money and budgets are, and they are the true critical path.  Covid-19 accelerates the demand for business agility and for the new unstoppable new work order, as I said.  Innovation and transformation is done by people, not companies.  Purpose, meaning and appreciation of your staff is the intrinsic motivator that drives performance and innovation.

We are, again, now experiencing at the moment, the biggest remote experiment.  It’s the transition phase towards a new work order, in my opinion.

Thank you very much for your attention, and I wish you all an inspiring afternoon with lots of great content and insight.  See you later at 4:20.  To you, Greg.


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