Resource Management is a crucial aspect of Project Management. During any project, resources must be managed, including staff (human resources), equipment, office space, and raw materials – in short, anything that has a cost associated with it and is required to complete the project.
Project managers typically monitor and track these resources from project inception to completion and close-out with the help of various tools and techniques, including documents, spreadsheets, and project management software.
There are three critical aspects to Resource Management:
- Resource planning: Defining the project scope and estimating the required resources for each task. Besides resources conducting project work, additional resources handle tasks like change management and risk management.
- Resource scheduling: Ensuring the availability of all resources throughout the project schedule.
- Resource allocating: In addition to having resources available, the project manager must assign the right resources at the right time. This includes attention to critical tasks and prioritization of tasks for any individual.
Many tools and techniques come into play throughout any project:
- Resource forecasting: Estimating what resources are needed and evaluating how those requirements mesh with the organization’s overall plans.
- Resource allocation: Finding the team members with the most relevant skills, making sure they are available at the right time and having the necessary resources to complete the work.
- Resource leveling: Gaining a better understanding of what each team member can offer and how tasks can be better allocated across the available team members. The goal of resource leveling is to maximize resource efficiency.
- Resource utilization: Resource tracking is as essential as planning the use of those resources. It’s up to the Project Manager to track how resources are deployed and to keep an eye on any situations where resources are not being used efficiently.
- Resources Breakdown Structure (RBS): RBS is a way to create hierarchies according to geography or organizational/reporting structure. These hierarchies cover all personnel and resources that project funds are spent on. An RBS may be thought of as a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for the project resources.
- Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM): The RAM is a tool used to clarify roles and responsibilities of the entire project. This can be broken down into who is doing what, who owns which tasks, who can be on standby for help around specific tasks, and who needs to be kept informed about each tasks’ progress.
- The RACI method: RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed. For each task, one of the four roles is assigned to each individual or group based on their part in the project and the organization’s needs.
There are two critical scenarios Project Managers need to be mindful of, as they can negatively impact project completion on time and budget:
Resource Overallocation: When one or more human resources are assigned too much work, there is risk of overrunning the schedule. This can lead to overtime expenses, which also have a potential budget impact. A big part of resource management is staying on top of the team’s allocated workload from project start to finish.
Resource dependency: Organizations must avoid relying excessively on one team or person to accomplish essential work. Techniques to mitigate that risk include distributing work across multiple resources and having backup plans when planned equipment resources are unavailable.
When it comes to Resource Management, there are many aspects to consider, and the process can become complicated and confusing.
At Thurman Co., we embrace the PMI certification principles and core activities, such as Resource Management, as part of the foundational framework driving how we operate and interact with clients, suppliers, and partners.
We help businesses manage projects to significantly impact their success and growth. When you’re ready to put your project in the hands of a trusted professional organization, contact us to learn more about working together.