A project resource management plan is an important component of the overall project plan. It identifies the availability of resources and their utilization. It gives a direction to use resources cost-effectively and efficiently. A good project resource management plan ensures that all the required resources are available in an adequate amount, and so, the project is in safe hands.
There are different kinds of project resources, such as labor, materials, and equipment. A project resource management plan comes as a comprehensive guide to encompass each of these available resources and to make the most out of them in the right way at the right time. It decelerates the project risks. To make your project resource management plan word, you first need to write down an effective project resource management plan.
Here is the step-by-step guide to come up with a great resource management plan.
1. Conduct a Team Meeting
The very first, to start writing resource management, is to hold a few meetings in and out. Make sure only the concerned people participate in the meeting. This ensures that the active and relevant minds are working on the development of your resource management plan.
Choose the Right People
Choosing the right people takes into account different factors. However, the most important ones include relevant skills and education. The one who has a deep insight into project management must be well aware of resource management processes. The one with experience can help in finding the right and best resources for your project.
Once you have the right people on the table, you are good to start with a thorough examination of your project activities.
Look into your Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
Allocation and use of resources require a proper understanding of the project activities when you do not know what is going to take plan when and how you possibly cannot set aside the relevant resources.
Activities of your project can be well-understood by looking into your Work Breakdown Structure. Every project has a WBS, which is basically a list of your project activities. The activities are mentioned as the project has to follow. This gives a good idea of which resource is more or less significant.
Schedule the Activities
As you look into your project activities, it is best to arrange them in a timeline right at this step if they are not already arranged. If they are, you have saved a lot of your time. Scheduling helps create a smooth resource management plan.
2. Know the Resources You Require
Now that you know the activities and tasks included in your project along with their level of prioritization, you need to find out all the resources you require.
Extract from the Activities
The best way to know the resources you require is by extracting them from the activities. Create a resource list in your resource management plan. Mention all the activities and against each activity, list the required resources. It includes all the types of resources you will and might require, such as people, materials, equipment, assets, etc.
Understand the Use
Before the comprehensive categorization of your resources by the activities, you must understand the use and effectiveness of each resource. Have the resources you listed actually going to be of use? Make sure you adopt a realistic approach. Ideal plans are not really a good idea.
Once you do, understand the true purpose of each resource.
Understand the Expertise
Well, the same goes for the human resource. Your labor is the most critical resource. Without people, no other resource can be brought to use. To allocate people to the project, you must understand the expertise and skill that each personnel hold. It helps to assign the right roles and responsibilities and enhance the productivity of your project.
Estimate the Duration
Duration is another important factor in finding out the amount of resources required. You can use your project estimation documents to figure this out. This will later help you in resource smoothing as well.
3. Categorize Your Resources
Once your list down all the resources in your plan, the next step is to categorize those resources. Categorization allows for better allocation and better budgeting.
Differentiate Internal and External Resources
The key to categorize your resources is to differentiate between internal and external resources. Internal resources include all the resources that you have readily available in your organization. You might be thinking that it is easy to put your hands on the internal resources, and so, this is not something you need to worry about. On the contrary!
Within an organization, there are several different processes to go through and organizational policies to follow to justify your need for the resources. Especially when the project has a large magnitude, acquiring resources becomes difficult. Therefore, careful estimation, negotiation, and trading conditions are some important factors.
External resources, on the other hand, need to be hired, bought, or borrowed. These are relatively easy to acquire. However, it is best to lay down a plan right away.
As you differentiate, you know what you already have and what you need to get.
4. Apply Resources to Activities
Once you put your hands on all the resources, applications, and allocation come next in the project resource management plan. Allocation is a tricky process. It requires iterations to make sure you have put your resources in the right place.
Use the Right Tools and Techniques
The allocation of resources can be made easier when you use the right tools and techniques. Here are some of the best ones to help you create your resource management plan:
- RACI Chart. It deals with the allocation of human resources. It makes sure you allocate people according to their key roles and relevant skills.
- Linear Responsibility Chart (LRC). It works just like RACI Chart. The only difference is that it allows the allocation of materials and equipment as per their requirement and usefulness.
- Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS). This is a technique to map material and asset resources on your work breakdown structure (WBS) i.e., allocating resources against each activity.
- Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS). This is a technique to map labor on your WBS tasks.
There are several other techniques and tools to assist in the proper allocation of the resources in the project resource management plan.
5. Balance Your Resources
Here we have another significant step. Allocating your resources is alone not enough. It needs to be followed by balancing your resources to ensure you do not run out of resources in the initial phase of the project. Also, balancing ensures efficient allocation.
Here’s how to do so:
Use Resource Smoothing
Resource Smoothing deals with moving your deployed resources to different points in your schedule. It allows better and efficient use of resources. In this process, the timeline is the priority. So, you need to move the resources as per task listing. This makes sure that adequate resources are available for at least the initial project tasks.
Use Resource Leveling
Resource Leveling means to spread out the resources in a way that they are not over-allocated. Here, resource utilization is the priority, and so, the efficient and speedy delivery is significant.
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6. Assess Risks and Countermeasures
Now that you have found the resources, allocated, and balanced them in your plan, it is time to assess the risks and prepare some countermeasures beforehand. To do so, you need to ask yourself the following questions and find plausible answers:
- Is it possible that you run into any risks regarding resources, such as running out of resources?
- How big is the risk magnitude?
- Is it possible to avert the risk?
- What are the most efficient and cost-effective ways to avert the risk?
Finding the right answers ensure effective countermeasures are put into place. Sometimes, moving the resources at the right time and in the right numbers is all you need to do!
7. Review and Edit
As your project resource management plan draft is ready, give yourself a little break. Relax your mind to allow it to gain its productivity. Now, go through your plan once again and make changes as desired.
The resource management plan offers the right direction for the right allocation and utilization of resources. However, there needs to be a proper plan created. Following the steps mentioned above will help you have an effective resource management plan in your hand.
Also, it is important to remember that your project resource management plan needs to be flexible enough to incorporate any changes at the later stage. Know that allocation and balancing of resources are both iterative processes. They might require changes from time to time.