Resource Planning

Resource planning is the practice of identifying, organizing, and listing where resources should be allocated and how much each resource should cost, allowing companies to hit their business goals, with the right amount of resources at the right time.

Definition of a resource plan

A resource plan is a document that provides detailed information about the people, materials, equipment, facilities, supplies, and anything else needed to successfully execute a project.

Some examples of enterprise resources include human resources, material assets, software, hardware, and space. As most organizational expenses are resource-related, business leaders must use them as efficiently as possible. 

So how do you know what to include in a resource plan, how to organize those resources into categories, and where to find the necessary information to classify each project resource?

The answer lies in project portfolio management (PPM). PPM solutions aggregate the resources available within an enterprise, classify them, and add specific attributes such as skillsets, experience, availability, and cost. They also provide a robust workflow interface that enables project managers to easily assign specialized tasks to project team members to track the status of those assignments.

With just one tool, project managers can quickly identify the best person for a given job and keep everyone working towards a common business goal.

Why are resource planning strategies important?

Resource planning is critical to ensure that managers achieve project goals while staying within the bounds of time and budget. To do this, they must identify what resources they need to complete their project tasks and how those resources can be allocated efficiently.

This business process involves identifying the scope of work, determining the project requirements needed to perform the task, creating a schedule, managing the project team, keeping track of resource availability and project progress, and forecasting future demands to plan accordingly.

By making accurate forecasts about resource availability to execute projects, project managers can also recommend appropriate staffing levels based on the work scope and complexity. This is especially useful for projects where there is a high degree of uncertainty regarding the completion date. In such cases, business leaders can provide a reliable estimate of the duration of each activity.

In short, when resource planning is managed efficiently, it can help organizations improve their overall health by:

  1. Estimating the time required to complete projects
  2. Improving project flows
  3. Focusing on maximizing resource utilization
  4. Identifying shortage or excess of capacity
  5. Delivering projects on time and on-budget

Core steps to properly execute a resource planning strategy

Resource planning is one of the most important aspects of managing a successful project. Without proper planning, managers run the risk of wasting valuable resources and missing deadlines.

Thus, to effectively manage a project’s resources, it is crucial to understand the following core steps:

  1. Define the project scope and its requirements: This includes defining the project goals, the people involved, and the time it will take. It also involves getting all the information and tools needed to complete the tasks.
  2. Develop a resource plan: List all the people, equipment, materials, and other resources required to complete the project and identify all activities that will be performed during the course of the project. 
  3. Create a schedule: It involves assigning dates to activities and milestones. When scheduling, it is key to consider several factors such as how long it typically takes to complete similar projects, what the expected duration of the project is, and if the project is likely to change significantly over time.
  4. Book resources: Once the project needs have been identified and a plan is defined, the next step is to book the necessary resources and assign them to specific activities.
  5. Monitor status: This means tracking the amount of time spent on each activity, as well as the number of hours worked by each person assigned to the project, to ensure utilization is kept under control.

Today, project management software plays a crucial role in the execution of a project. However, there are many different methods that project managers can use to plan projects. Some of these include Gantt charts, PERT charts, critical path method, Ishikawa diagrams, and network diagrams.

Each method has its pros and cons, so choosing the best one for each company will depend on its specific situation.

For example, some people prefer Gantt charts because they allow seeing exactly where each task fits within the timeline. While on the other hand, others find them too rigid and difficult to update. Other popular techniques include the critical path method, which helps identify bottlenecks and potential issues, and the Ishikawa diagram, which allows you to visualize risks and threats.

Whatever technique a business manager uses for resource planning, the most important thing is that the method fits into the overall project pipeline, so they can customize and keep up with everything involved in each step of a project over time.

Further reading

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