Resource Management, or the ability to manage resources useful for the execution of a project, is one of the skills definitely required in the case of a Project Manager.
It is logic that an organization uses different resources for the execution of a single project. These resources typically include people, equipment, information, materials, time, and money. Most organizations, however, have a limited amount of resources available and, therefore, their allocation planning is essential for their effective management and use.
Project resource management involves not only the implementation of internal and external resources necessary for the delivery of a project, but also their procurement.
Having said this, it is obvious that Resource Management focuses primarily on the use of resources, on monitoring their use and productivity, and on measuring the effectiveness of the resources used.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- Plans and Processes for managing the resources of a project
- 7 secrets for the good management of project resources
- 1. Resource estimation
- 2. Data collection
- 3. Resource plan
- 4. Plan the development of the plan
- 5. Verification of over-allocations
- 6. Negotiate for resources
- 7. Monitor the work schedule
Plans and Processes for managing the resources of a project
Resource management also involves the creation of plans and processes that facilitate their management and there are several ways to implement them.
For example, one can create spreadsheets, documents, use project management software or use a combination of these three tools.
The main goal, regardless of the method chosen, will always be to successfully manage all the resources until the end of the project.
Let´s see the steps for a good management of project resources.
7 secrets for the good management of project resources
1. Resource estimation
Estimating the need for resources, internal as well as external, is one of the first steps in managing project resources.
One of the most common techniques used for resource estimation is the judgment of the experts, ie the estimate made on the basis of the experience acquired in previous projects.
Here every resource is evaluated, from people to machines and even to any physical space, such as an office, which is needed during the project.
It is necessary to focus well and spend sufficient time at this stage; the more complete the list of resources, the more accurate the program will be.
2. Data collection
There are some data not only necessary but indispensable for the efficient management of resources in a project. Among the data that should not be missing, we can include:
- Available resources
- Requirements for resources
- How resources will be able to meet the demands
If these details are not deeply investigated, the PM could have serious difficulties in completing the project.
3. Resource plan
As already mentioned, each project plan must have a separate resource plan that contains various aspects relating to the need, allocation, and use of resources from the beginning to the end of the project.
Just like any other aspect of project management, also when planning resources, you should start with a plan. This will be the basis on which the management process will be built.
In the resource plan, a project manager can create, for example, a hierarchical list of resources needed to complete the project.
Since this is a plan, it is necessary to involve the other members of the project team, too. In fact, some team members may require additional resources.
4. Plan the development of the plan
Planning for development involves setting the start and end dates of all project activities in order to create a final program.
The resource plan, containing the hierarchical distribution of resources, also called Structure Breakdown Structure – RBS, is then combined with the breakdown of project activities. This helps to assign the required resources to each activity more efficiently.
These basic hierarchies should include at least the staff and, preferably, all the resources on which the project budget will be spent, but it is up to the project manager to define which type of hierarchies are relevant for each specific project.
5. Verification of over-allocations
A project manager must ensure that the over-allocation of any resource is avoided.
The over-allocation occurs when a greater amount of work is assigned to a resource that, consequently, will not be able to complete the activity within the normal working hours.
This can lead to overtime, which will consequently affect the budget, or could even block or derail a project.
It is therefore essential that resources are balanced.
6. Negotiate for resources
Smaller projects generally rely on the organization’s internal resources. In more complex projects, however, resources can easily come from the outside.
This implies that the Project Manager should have excellent negotiating skills in order to obtain the necessary organizational resources, both internal and external, at the best cost.
7. Monitor the work schedule
You need to be able to monitor the hourly and daily availability of individual resources, and keep track of their vacations and absences.
In the case of a remote team, it is also important to take into account the time differences, as well as the various global holidays that may differ from the national holiday calendar.
The team’s workload is another metric that a project manager needs to monitor closely.
If all the work is done by a few team members, while the others are inactive, resources will need to be redistributed.
Another method could be to level the resources, ensuring that the activities are equally distributed within the team
In conclusion, resource management is strongly linked to project management planning.
These are different but complementary disciplines. The more resource management is implemented with a holistic approach, the greater the possibility of being able to act in a timely manner in order to keep the project on track and direct it towards success, respecting the pre-established times and budget.
Therefore, it is necessary for a project manager to have the right tools to have information about the resources while the project is in progress.
Using a Gantt chart provides a visual approach to project activities, durations, and dependencies that link one activity to another.
Other project managers could use an Excel spreadsheet or a specific and more reliable project management tool.
In general, when managing the resources of a project, there are several elements to monitor, and this process can become complicated and confusing.
However, with the right tool, it is possible to plan, monitor, and generate reports on resources with great control and precision.