Strategic Reserve Time, What’s That All About?

Strategic reserve time? This sounds like a secret code. What could it be? Why should you bother learning a fancy new term?
This is how it looks. You did a lot of research to determine which resources were available to you for your project.
This information was carefully gathered and, along with the estimates for each task, you created a beautiful new schedule. You and your team continue to work on the project, but you soon discover that you are behind schedule.
What happened?
There are many reasons projects may fall behind schedule. Failing resource allocation could be one reason projects might fall behind schedule. Wait a minute. You did everything correctly. These resource allocations were not created by you. So what’s the problem? Perhaps the resource allocations that you were given were incorrect. Maybe you and your functional managers didn’t have clear communication?
What is your schedule? What percentage of your time is spent on these tasks? Or are they part of your strategic reserve time? This question could help you understand why your shiny new schedule is falling apart. There are other commitments for your resources. These commitments not only include other projects, but also the daily work each person does beyond and above project work, and often BEFORE project work. This could be the problem.
You need to know not just how much someone is available each week, but how much time they are available each week to work on your project. There is a big difference. Let’s take a step back and pretend that your resources work 40 hours a week. (Don’t laugh, I know that many of you work much more than that. Your resources will be available for 40 hours. You might assume that 50% of her time will be spent on your project, but she will only work on it for 20 hours per week if you tell you that. You might be surprised to learn that this is not true. This might not be true. You don’t have to believe that anyone is trying to take you down. All you need to do is consider her strategic reserve time. This is the time she has available to work on your project after all her other commitments are completed. ,
She has approximately two hours of administrative time per day before she can get to you. Although this may seem high, it is important to remember that not everyone is 100% productive. This does not mean she is lazy or a bad employee. Other things may occur that aren’t part of your work assignment but are part. She might be required to answer questions regarding work she has done in the past and take calls. She might be asked to fill in for her manager during a meeting. She will need to read memos and communications and attend staff meetings. These items do not have to be related to your project. She might have catch up work or special projects. Special projects are things that are not part of her normal day to do but are given to her to handle. It could be gathering data for a meeting with the director. It could also be giving a training presentation a new employee. Before you can get 50% of her time, it is important to subtract her administrative work, catch-up work, and special projects. You get 50% of the remaining time.
As such:
Availability: 40 HoursAdministrative work: 8 HoursCatch-up work 2 hoursSpecial Projects: 6 Hours
Her strategic reserve time is time that she leaves after fulfilling other commitments. Or Strategic Reserve Time = Availability (Administrative work + Catch up work + Special projects). For example, her strategic reserve time is 40 – (8+2+6) or 24, and you get 50%. Your resource will work 12 hours a week for you. The difference between the 20 hours you first assumed and the 12 hours you actually work for.

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