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Project Management - Resource Scheduling & Planning

Updated on March 29, 2015
Scheduling and planning are essential to effective project management
Scheduling and planning are essential to effective project management | Source

Introduction

Resource management is an essential part of any project. It involves understanding the areas that are responsible for helping to deliver a project and making sure that they carry out the tasks that they need to at the right time and to the right quality.

Managing the resources involved in a project so that the project delivers to the right timescale, quality and budget is essential.

This article explores the basics of resource management including what resources are, how they can be defined and the structure for managing them.

What are project resources?

Depending on the project, resources could relate to any of the following:

  • People - The individuals, teams and areas involved in carrying out the tasks and activities to help the project succeed.
  • Purchases - Purchases of physical or intangible goods and services that are needed to deliver the project. This could include areas like hardware, software, licenses, equipment and more.
  • Third parties - External organizations and individuals that are providing services to help the project deliver. This could be external contractors, consultants, outsourcing partners or various other parties.
  • Property - Any physical space needed for the success of the project.
  • Other services - Any other areas that need to be budgeted for that are not included above.

The best way to understand if something is a resource or not is to see if it is included in the budget for the project. If it is something that the project needs to spend money on then it is almost certainly a resource.

Tracking your resources is vital to your project's success
Tracking your resources is vital to your project's success | Source

What does a project manager need to know about resources?

For each of the resources a project manager is responsible for in their project, they should understand the following:

  • Who - The exact person, team, area or thing that is needed, responsible and accountable to the project.
  • What - The exact tasks or actions that the person, team, area or thing is responsible for.
  • When - The time that specific tasks and actions need to be started, progressed and finished.

What are the main areas in project resource management?

Resource management is made up of several main areas:

  • Scheduling of resources.
  • Delegation and assignment.
  • Management of resources.
  • Tracking of tasks and activities.

Scheduling of resources

Scheduling is about understanding the specific tasks and actions that need to take place and when they need to be carried out. These tasks and actions will normally be defined in a project's overall plan and in specific action plans.

These tasks and actions are allocated to individuals, teams and areas for them to complete as and when required.

Scheduling helps to get everyone on the same page
Scheduling helps to get everyone on the same page | Source

Delegation and assignment

Individual tasks and actions must be assigned to the relevant resources so that they can be progressed. This will normally involve requesting that the activity be completed and getting confirmation that the areas involved will carry the activity out.

Time spent planning will pay dividends later
Time spent planning will pay dividends later | Source

Management of resources

Effective management of resources means dealing with any potential issues and problems, ensuring that teams communicate with each other and carrying our relationship management so that the required activities are completed.

Some teams and areas will not need a great deal of management, whereas others may require extensive guidance.

Tracking of tasks and activities

The final part of resource management is tracking any actions that have been completed and ensuring that they have been carried out to the requirements of the project. Once they have been completed, they can be marked off of the action plan.

If a task needs to be repeated due to not meeting quality standards or for some other reason, it should be reassigned to the resource and further support should be provided.

There are easier ways to plan tasks, but use whatever works for you
There are easier ways to plan tasks, but use whatever works for you | Source

Project management - How to manage resources

Read more of our helpful, expert guides to successfully managing a project:

What do you find the hardest resource to manage in your projects?

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In closing

Resource management is one of the more difficult activities involved in running a project. Effective resource management is a combination of direction, trust, understanding and patience.

Any project managers who can master the art and science of good resource management will find it much easier to deliver their projects on time, on budget and on scope.

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