Project Resource Management is one of the ten Knowledge Areas of the project management framework that exclusively deals with the resources involved in a project. As defined by the PMBOK Guide Sixth Edition, “Project Resource Management includes the processes to identify, acquire, and manage the resources needed for the successful completion of the project.”
To proceed with a project, it is critical to clearly identify and define the type and amount of resources required. In project management, “resource” is used as an umbrella term for physical resources and team resources that are required in order to complete the final deliverable. Physical resources include materials, equipment, facilities, and infrastructure whereas the team resources are human resources. Project managers must understand the distinction between the skills and competencies required to manage both types of resources.
Project resource management ensures that the project is executed in accordance with the scope and overview defined during the planning phase. It also ensures that the appropriate resources are in place for the team at the time that those resources are required. Additional resource management benefits include:
1.Optimum Utilization of Resources: With well-organized project resource management, project resources can be used to full potential, maximizing productivity while minimizing overwork.
2. Increased Revenue: With optimum utilization of resources and balanced workload, the efficiency of a project increases, which in turn results in increased revenue and success of a project.
3. Resolution of Internal Conflicts: Resource management helps resolve internal issues regarding project resources, human or physical. Solving internal conflict of miscommunication early in the project prevents hurdles that may hamper long-term project development.
4. Avoidance of Unforeseen Obstacles: Structured resource management will assist in providing insights about upfront resources and how best to use them as well as troubleshooting resource gaps beforehand.
5. Enhancement of Employee Satisfaction: Project resource management clearly outlines compensation and benefits, which ensures that the employees are happy and satisfied.
6. Improvement of Employee Performance: Resource Management helps to define the project resource requirements, which allows for the recruiting of the best resources from the outset of the project.
7. Quality Training and Development: The project resource management team solely focuses on the development and growth of the project team. From time to time, the team organizes assessments to determine the type of skills training and programs required for the development of the employees.
8. Better Control of Budget: With effective resource management, “overallocation” or “dependency” of resources can be avoided, which will provide improved overall budget control.
9. Transparency: Resource management provides transparent framework so that the bandwidth of the project team can be analyzed to ensure optimal team efficiency.
Resources: Internal versus External
All projects require resources. The two main reasons why resources are required are:
1. Capacity – resources allow us to get more done than we can do alone.
· People provide extra minds and bodies to get things done.
· Tools and equipment amplify efficiency.
2. Capability – resources allow us to accomplish tasks we cannot otherwise execute.
· People bring new skills, experience, and expertise.
· Tools and equipment allow us to do things people cannot.
As we know, resources can be internal or external. Internal resources belong either to you or to someone else within your organization. Therefore, access to them is usually controlled via allocation or negotiation, which makes negotiation skill essential.
An array of factors can influence the degree of difficulty in accessing internal resources and the strategy adopted to secure those resources, including:
· Prevailing organizational culture, politics, and hierarchical structures;
· Policies and processes; having a PMO (Project, Program or Portfolio Management Office) in place can ease the pathway to needed resources;
· Economic and trading conditions; when adverse, people tend to more tightly hold the resources they control;
· Competing calls for resources from other initiatives, projects, and programs; and
· Political acumen and negotiating skill – and those of the counter-party!
Because of this myriad of internal factors, it can sometimes be easier to access external resources, which are available, just not belonging directly to the organization. As a result, such resources must be borrowed, hired, or purchased. The first step is to specify and source what you need. Then, assuming that borrowing is not an option, those resources must be procured. Bartering services or favors can be useful.
Further breaking down internal/external resources, there are five deeper classification types:
· Consumables and materials such as finished goods and raw materials.
· Capital Assets such as land/property, space and accommodation tools, equipment, plant, and machinery.
· Intangible Assets such as methods, processes, systems, procedures, intellectual property, and software (which may be classed as a Capital Asset if software licenses are bought outright or developed to specification, a Consumable Asset if software is rented via a recurring license, or as a Software as a Service (SaaS) Subscription.)
· People, which are the main resource and the most challenging in terms of management.
· Money, which after people, is the master resource.
Project Resource Management Processes
In the PMBOK Guide – Sixth Edition, project resource management is broken down into the following six processes:
Plan Resource Management is the first and the initial step of the project resource management Knowledge Area. It involves various aspects like defining the process of estimating, acquiring, managing and using physical and human resources. This process is usually performed only once or at few predefined points throughout the project lifecycle to help establish the approach and level of management required for managing resources. These aspects are majorly influenced by the type and complexity of the project. This process consists of various inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs, which are listed down in the below table:
Once planning is complete, Estimating Activity Resources begins. In this process, the type and quantity of resources required for the project are estimated. This process is generally executed after specific time intervals throughout the project lifecycle. This process consists of various inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs, which are listed down in the below table:
Acquire Resources is the third process of project resource management. This process helps outline and guide the selection process of the project resources and then assigns them to specific activities/tasks. Thus, it is performed at periodic intervals throughout the project lifecycle and prevents overrun of resources. This process consists of various inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs, which are listed down in the below table:
The fourth process is to Develop the Team. As the name suggests, this process purely concentrates on the development of team bonding and team members with rewarding work, future opportunities, and career development. It enhances overall team performance by improving team members competencies, interactions with each other, and the larger team environment. This process is performed throughout the project lifecycle. This process consists of various inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs, which are listed down in the below table.
Once the project team is acquired and developed, the next step is to manage them. In this process, each team members’ performance is monitored and tracked, their problem areas are identified, issues are resolved, and feedback is provided to optimize the project performance. This process is generally performed throughout the project lifecycle and influences team behavior and conflict resolution. This process consists of various inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs, which are listed down in the below table:
Control Resources is the final process involved in project resource management. In this process, the project manager ensures that assigned and allocated resources are available, monitors estimated usage against actual usage, and manages any corrective actions necessary to keep the project on track. This process is implemented throughout the project lifecycle and ensures that the necessary project resources are deployed as they should be during the project and released upon project completion. This process consists of various inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs, which are listed down in the below table:
To a degree, good resource management is all about doing more with less. Resource management is centered around optimization, efficiency, and minimization of waste. By thoroughly understanding the resources required for project success, an optimal project budget and plan can be established.
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