Resource Planning for Projects: A Guide

ProjectManager.com

Resources are not just team members or equipment, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, says, but a process to deliver a product. 

Here’s a screen shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

here's a guide for planning resources in your project

In Review:

Jennifer began with misconceptions about what resources in fact are. She said some thing of them only as people, while others only as equipment.

What then is a resource? Jennifer answered that question in three parts.

  1. A process to identify what’s needed to deliver on a specific project
  2. They are required to be detailed at the task level of your plan
  3. And they can include personnel, equipment, and even finances

After explaining what a resource actually is, she offered these best practices when planning your resources.

  • Plan in advance of project start
  • Get input from your team, industry standards, etc.
  • Continue updating throughout the project
  • Plan at task level
  • Create a guide book of standards for your project
  • Use a resource management tool to keep all this information in one place. 

Here’s a summary of the how-to steps Jennifer outlined to doing your planning: 

Step 1

  • Identify what resources are required
  • Equipment can be hardware, software, tools, and you need to know the versions used and whether to purchase or lease
  • Personnel, define their roles based on experience, skills, etc., and determine if you’re working with contractors or salaried employees

Step 2

  • Determine when you need your resources
  • That could be pre-project planning only, specific timeframe, entire project, only if necessary, etc.

Step 3

  • Negotiate where and how to get your resources
  • That can be through an internal or external third party or request for proposal, etc.

With the knowledge of what resources are and the steps to clearly plan for them, you’re on your way to a successful project.

Pro-Tip: When you’re managing resources, one of the most important things you’ll do is schedule those resources over the course of your project, so as to not exhaust them before you’re done with your work. Scheduling resources is a process like anything else, and the more time you put into before launching your project, the better. 

Thanks for watching!

Transcription:

Today, we’re talking about “Resource Planning for Projects – A Guide.” Sometimes, when I’m working with people during their planning process, there are some people who think of resources as only the people resources.

And then, similarly, but on the other extreme, there are some people who think of resources as only equipment, maybe hardware, software, or some type of tool.

So resource planning is so important, I wanna take time today to explain what it really is and provide some best practices, along with three simple steps to get you going on how to.

So, first of all, let’s look at what resource planning really is. It’s really a process that you go through to identify the resources required to deliver your specific project.

It’s also done at a task level of your plan, because, at the task level, that’s where you do have people completing that task, and you may need some other resources for that specific task.

So resources can include things like equipment, again, hardware, software, other tools. It can be finance. So on some projects, you may be financing the project, so that’s another resource that has to be considered.

And then there’s the personnel, as some people call it, and it’s your people resources. There are others, but I wanna use these as examples.

So the best practices are plan advance of your project start date, so you ensure that you have these resources on hand.

You also wanna get input from your team when you’re planning just to make sure you haven’t overlooked something, maybe so you don’t overlook different types of people that you need on the project or any other type of equipment or other needs.

You also want to reference your industry standards to ensure that you’re meeting all the requirements for your industry. You also wanna continue updating this throughout your project.

Some projects can span a couple of years, and in that period of time, some standards or requirements may change. You also, again, wanna be sure to do this at a task level.

Also, you wanna create a guide or a set of standards for your project, and then also here, I think this is an important one for me, is use your project management software, so you can have all this planning in one place.

So here is a guide on how to do your resource planning. I like to break it down in three high-level steps, and there are some other whiteboard sessions that take these into further detail, but I wanna focus on these three to get you going.

So, first of all, step one is to identify what resources are required, so let’s focus on equipment and people resources, because those are the common ones on most projects.

So equipment, hardware, software, tools, what kind of requirements do they have? Are there any specific versions you need to ensure that you’re on? Are there any standards that you need to meet for your industry?

Also consider, are you going to purchase these, are you going to lease them, and what specific terms may you need for that? Also consider your people or your personnel.

What specific roles do you need for your project? Do you need certain experience, skills, expertise, even certifications? In some type of work, specifically in government work, you may need some type of security clearance.

Also consider, are these going to be employees that you already have, or are you going to contract them directly with you or use a third party?

Step two is determine when you need them, so determine if you need these resources only during the pre-project planning phase. Or do you need them just for a specific time frame?

And there are resources that you just need through the entire project, and then there are some resources, like a SWAT team, you only need maybe during a crisis situation. But you wanna be sure that you planned ahead and that they’re available when you need them.

And then step three is negotiate where and how you get them. So, again, determine if they’re internal resources or external, or are you going to use a third party to get them?

In some cases, you may have to do a request for proposal or a bid. A lot of government-type work requires that.

So this is a clarification about what resource planning is, a few best practices, and three simple steps that can get you going.

And if you need a tool that can help you with your resource planning, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.

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