In order to ensure successful results of a project, it is important to manage its resources properly. If the resources are not managed effectively, everything ends up creating a mess. Any increase or decrease in resources directly impacts the budget as well as the schedule of the project. That is where Project Resource Management comes in. Project Resource Management is one of the areas of knowledge of Project Management as mentioned in PMBOK methodology from Project Management Institute (PMI).
It is a process that identifies, acquires and then manages the resources for a project keeping in view all the needs and requirements of project deliverables and project stakeholders. It further takes into account the availability of resources to the project manager and project team at the right place and in the right time.
Project Resource Management undergoes 6 further processes i.e. coming up with a plan of resource management, estimating the required resources for project activities, acquiring those resources, developing and managing project team, and controlling the resources effectively. In this way, Project Resource Management helps in managing resources of a project.
In order to perform these processes, you need to take following 12 steps:
1. Analyze Current Project Documents
Project Resource Management starts with analyzing the current project documents that were prepared in the very initial phase of the project. Analyzing these project documents gives an overview of what is already present and what needs to be added. It also explains all the resource needs and requirements of the project, their priority and their way of acquiring.
The three important project documents to be analyzed are:
It includes all the high level project description, requirements and important information such as stakeholders list, summary milestones and preapproved financial resources. Going through this information in detail provides a good idea of what impacts resource management of the project greatly.
Project management plan
Project management plan is also analyzed. A special focus needs to be given to its two major components:
- Quality management plan: It defines the level of resources that will help in achieving and maintaining the quality of the project.
- Scope baseline: It involves all the requirements of project deliverables which helps in determining the types and quantities of resources for the project.
Enterprise environmental factors can great influence management of the resources of a project so, analyzing these factors is the one of the initial tasks. Some important factors are:
- Culture and structure of the organization
- Facilities and resources that are distributed
- The availability and competencies of current resources
- Marketplace conditions etc.
So, analyzing these project documents and factors can greatly help with the next step where you will be developing a plan for the resource management.
2. Develop Resource Management Plan
Resource Management Plan is one of the important part of Project Management Plan. Therefore, it is important to develop it. It helps in guiding how the project resources needs to be categorized, specified, managed and distributed. With an efficient resource management plan, it becomes easier to manage the resources as it provides the basis of all the important tasks, roles and activities to be performed.
Resource Management Plan mainly includes:
- Identification of the team and physical resources in proper quantities.
- How the team and physical resources can be acquired.
- Assignment of the authority, roles and responsibilities to the team.
- A full-fledged project organization chart that explains relationships between all the team members and their tasks.
- How the resources for the team should be defined, managed and distributed.
- Training strategies for the project team.
- Effective methods for developing an efficient project team.
- How to manage and control the inventory, equipment and supplies throughout the project duration.
When you are done with developing resource management plan, you are good to go to the next step.
3. Produce Team Charter
Once resource management plan is developed, you will have all the important information to produce team charter. So, producing a team charter is the third step. It includes all the important values, guidelines and operational agreements of the team. It further includes:
- Guidelines for communication and meetings
- Conflict resolution methods and procedures
- Decision making criteria
- All the significant team agreements
In the team charter, behavior and values to be adopted by the team are clearly mentioned. Every team member has to abide by the team charter. Only then, team resources can be effectively managed and utilized.
In case of the addition of new team members, team charter can be re-oriented.
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4. Draw Estimates Of Activity Resources
Activity resources are the materials, supplies and necessary equipment for the project work. Estimating activity resources helps in defining the types and quantities of these resources so that project activities are completed according to the schedule.
Following are the beneficial approaches for drawing the estimates of activity resources:
In bottom-up estimating, all the activity resources are identified and estimated at the activity level. Then, they are aggregated to come up with estimates of work packages, control accounts and summary project levels gradually.
Analogous estimating is done by considering any previous project that had same nature and scope. It provides a basis for estimating the current project resources. It is one of the quick estimating methods.
Parametric estimating is done for highly accurate estimating of the resources. It is done through a statistical relationship between historical data and other variables. As a result, resource quantities needed for an activity are obtained.
With these approaches, a good estimate of the activity resources can be drawn.
5. Develop Resource Breakdown Structure
Once you have estimated the activity resources, next step us to develop a resource breakdown structure.
It is a hierarchal representation of resources according to their category and type. The major resource categories are labor, equipment, supplies and necessary material. The major resource types are skill level, required certifications and appropriate information regarding the project.
Resource breakdown structure is a proper document that helps in next steps of Project Resource Management. It mainly helps in acquiring and monitoring project resources.
6. Acquire Resources
Once we have an adequate information on what team and physical resources are required and in what quantity, next step is acquiring those resources.
Acquire resources is a process that explain proper methods for obtaining the team members, facilities, equipment, material, and supplies. This process results in following:
Physical resource assignments
Physical resource assignments are the documents that record material, equipment, supplies and other physical resources that are required during the project.
Resource calendar is a proper schedule that specifies the availability timing of each and every resource. With resource calendars, it is easy to know which resource will be available when and for how long during project activities.
7. Develop A Skilled Team
Once the physical resources are made available, there is a need of a skilled project team which can utilize these resources to produce project deliverables. So, developing a skilled project team is the next and an important step.
A skilled team can be developed through following approaches:
Colocation is to bring together most active members of a project into a single team. It enhances their capabilities. Colocation can be temporary or can continue throughout the project.
Virtual team is a good way to use technology to help with reduced costs, less travel, use of more skilled resources and holding effective communication and discussions among the team or with stakeholders.
Training is the most significant approach. When every team member is acquainted to his roles and responsibilities and is trained for that effectively, he does his job efficiently.
Individual and team assignments
Individual and team assignments help in determining the strengths and weaknesses of each member. When strengths and weaknesses are identified, each team member can be assigned the role and job accordingly. It helps in producing a productive team.
8. Manage Your Team
Developing a skilled team is not just enough. As they are important asset of the project, it is a requirement to track their performance, provide feedback, resolve all the existing coordination issues and manage any team changes.
Managing a team is significant as this process helps with managing the conflicts and issues as well as nourishing team behavior.
The helpful activities for managing a team are:
Interpersonal and team skills
All the interpersonal and team skills such as conflict management, decision making, emotional intelligence, influencing capabilities and leadership can be utilized for successful results of the project. These skills also help in overcoming all the obstacles that can lead to less efficient working of the team members.
Project management information system (PMIS)
PMIS is a resource management and scheduling software that can be used for coordination and management of the team members.
9. Perform Resource Control Activities
As you are going well in managing your team, next step is to ensure that they have all the assigned and allocated physical resources available as per the plan. This process is called Control Resources.
The significance of this process is that it makes sure the availability of resources at the right place in the right time and that the resources are released when they are not required anymore.
In order to control resources, following are the major resource control activities:
If any problems arise during control resource process, it can be solved by using a set of problem solving tools. The methodical steps to deal with any problem are:
- Identification of the problem
- Break it into small manageable problems
- Collect the required data
- Find the root cause of the problem
- Come up with the most suitable solution
- Implement it to ensure if the problem is fixed
With this problem solving approach, it is easy to control the resources and address the constraints in the way.
Data analysis is done for the project resources through:
- Cost-benefit analysis: It helps in coming up with best corrective actions in case resources are deviating from the project costs.
- Trend analysis: This helps in determining the resources that can be needed at later stages. This analysis is done on the basis of current performance of the project.
10. Implement Change Requests
Once resource control activities are performed, next step is to implement all the change requests.
By carrying out Control Resource process, there might be several changes that have appeared and needs to be changed. These changes can include any corrective or preventive actions that are hindering the effective control of resources. Implementing all those change requests helps in better control of the resources.
11. Analyze Work Performance
Analyzing work performance is an important step. This analysis can give information on whether the project work is in accordance with the resource requirements, resource allocations and resource utilizations. Once work performance is analyzed, all the gaps in resource availability and use can be addressed.
12. Update Project Documents
Last but not the least, updating project document is a significant step. It helps in the upcoming project activities and the new projects. The important documents to be updated are:
- Issue log: Update issue log with all the issues countered as a result of resource management of the project.
- Lessons learned register: It includes all the issues and challenges faced and the proper measures taken to sort them out. It helps in the future projects greatly.
- Physical resource assignments: Physical resource assignments must be updated to include any change in availability of resources, environment, project or any other factors.
- Resource breakdown structure: Updates in the resource breakdown structure are done to show how the project resources are being used.
- Risk register: Any new risks regarding the resource availability, utilization should be updated.
Therefore, these are the 12 steps that help in managing the resources of project effectively if followed properly. If the resources are effectively managed, they can be made available at the proper time and place as per the project schedule. When done so, there are no delays in the project deliverables due to resources. So, in order to obtain successful results, managing the resources effectively is an important task.