Increase Resource Capacity without Hiring



By Chris Vandersluis

HMS Software

Montreal, Canada



Good project management practices can make the most out of available resources but lack of sufficient resources is a universal challenge. Collaboration at the project tracking and timesheet level between project personnel and human resources personnel can generate resource capacity you didn’t know you had. Using a timesheet to categorize non-project work opens a source of data that can be used to free up staff from tasks that are not productive and thus increase project resource capacity.

The Project Constraint Triangle

Project planners live with a well-known triangle of constraints.  For any project, the scope, duration and resources can change but each one will affect the other.   Want to do a set scope of work in less time?  Think about adding resources.  Need to do that scope of work with fewer resources, think about it taking a longer period of time.  Have both resources and deadline reduced?  Expect that the complete scope won’t get accomplished.

The classic response to these constraints has been:

  • If you are constrained by resources, hire sub-contractors to resolve that constraint.
    (This is less likely to be acceptable when the work is highly technical making it difficult for sub-contractors to get up to speed quickly or during a period when the economy is challenged.)
  • Reduce the amount of work so the existing resources can complete it within the deadline.
    (This is quite unlikely in a global economy where competitors exist not just from around the corner but from all over the world.)
  • Work slower so the existing work can be done by the existing staff but be delivered much later.
    (When there are many competitors with inexpensive labor, missing deadlines can be a short path to disaster.)

There are ways to be more effective of course.  Project Managers specialize in exactly these techniques. Over the last 30 years, project management techniques have been promoted and taught to the point that they are now mainstream learning.  There are numerous graduate programs in project management at top universities around the world and the term “project manager” is no longer characterized by a grizzled veteran dangling from an exposed I-beam at the top of a skyscraper in mid-construction.  Project managers are now more likely to be thought of as many other mid-level managers within the organization.

Aside from specialized project management training, we find project management in mainstream business courses, IT courses, management classes and more.  All of this has made an impact.  It’s now quite common to walk into a business environment and find that many project management techniques and processes have been adopted.  A challenged economy helps this by providing even more incentive for organizations to do more with less.  Even where project management processes are less formal, we find that projects often run fairly efficiently.  In more sophisticated organizations, attention has turned to project portfolio management (PPM) to try to extend project efficiencies to even before the project becomes active and to give tools to management to identify those projects which will provide the best return on investment.


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 12th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in May 2018.  It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers.

How to cite this paper: Vandersluis, C. (2018). Increase Resource Capacity without Hiring; presented at the 12th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium, Richardson, Texas, USA in May 2018; published in the PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue IX – September. Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/pmwj74-Sep2018-Vandersluis-increase-resource-capacity-without-hiring.pdf


About the Author

Chris Vandersluis

Montreal, Canada




Chris Vandersluis is the president of HMS Software based in Montreal.  HMS Software has been a leading provider of project management and enterprise timesheet systems and services since 1984. HMS Software’s TimeControl is recognized around the world as the most flexible project-oriented timesheet system.

Mr. Vandersluis has a degree in economics from McGill University and over 30 years’ experience implementing enterprise timesheet and project management systems.  Mr. Vandersluis spent five years on Microsoft’s Enterprise Project Management Partner Advisory Council and has worked with Oracle-Primavera and Deltek on their project management systems.

Mr. Vandersluis’ has been published in a number of publications including Fortune Magazine, PMNetwork magazine, Microsoft’s TechNet and is the author of the popular project management blog EPMGuidance.com.

Mr. Vandersluis has taught Advanced Project Management at Montreal’s McGill University and has been a member of PMI since 1986.

Mr. Vandersluis can be reached at: [email protected]