A resource planning for better project management

Resource planning
Shannon M 12 March 2021

To complete a project step by step, it is necessary to anticipate all the resources required. This is made possible by resource planning. A good resource planning should be very detailed in its planning and should include everything that is needed to complete the project: the amount of manpower, equipment and other materials. Good planning is what gives stakeholders confidence to embark on a project.

Why do a resource planning when you are in charge of a project?

The resource planning starts during the planning phase of the project. It is set up by the person in charge of managing the project's resources, who identifies the resources required for the project. A good resource planning will help to reduce the budget and will help to understand the different expenses more accurately. If we can give you a recommendation, it would be to create a standard template for yourself at resource planning.

During the resource planning, try to create two types of shots:

  • A hypothetical resource plan: without their constraints
  • A real plan: based on their actual availability

Prepare for different eventualities by creating hypothetical "what if" scenarios during your planning to better anticipate the unexpected. Incorporate them into the actual project planning later. Doing this will allow you to see how these things might affect it and plan contingency resources to respond to the risks the project will face.

 

The importance of resource planning :

Just as humans need food, water and comfort to live, projects need resources to achieve their goals. The main advantage of doing resource planning is to be able to monitor project deadlines and client deliverables in real time.

 

The advantages of resource planning :

Stakeholders have a limited budget for projects, and the operating costs of managing a project have increased. It is therefore imperative to ensure that project resources are not wasted.

It is obvious that doing a project with a huge budget is much easier. But most of us have to do them on relatively tight budgets, which is a real challenge! This is why resource planning is crucial. The most complicated part of project management is resource allocation. Using a tool from resource planning will allow you to do this more easily and half your project will already be successful. First, create a list of the resources you need and allocate them to the crucial tasks. This will allow you to allocate the rest to the other tasks in an efficient and accurate way.

 

How does resource planning relate to project management?

PMI conducted a survey of 4,455 project managers who were experiencing difficulties in planning their projects. That is, completing tasks within budget or on time, etc. These problems surface when no solid resource planning is in place.

 

What happens if there is no resource planning in a project?

 

  • 48% of projects will not meet deadlines
  • 43% of projects will go beyond the allocated budget
  • 31% of projects will not achieve their objectives

Do you understand now? resource planning is an integral part of the project and cannot be avoided. If you do, you will not be able to keep track of your budget and resources working on the project. Skipping resource planning will doom the project to failure.

The benefits of a project are proportional to the resources needed to carry it out. It is not complicated to allocate resources in terms of materials and infrastructure, what is more complicated is to plan and schedule the tasks and time of each team member.

The benefits of resource planning :

  1. Understanding your resources and knowing how to use them will help you avoid some of the obstacles before they arise.
  2. Identify whether there are any over-allocated resources on a task. Calculate resource dependency by knowing the workload of your team. This will help you to reduce resource depletion.
  3. Create a limit of resources needed for each activity. Ensure that the limit is strictly adhered to.
  4. After knowing what you need to achieve the project, you need to create the resource planning plan and measure the ROI of the project.

How to start your resource planning ?

Here are three elements that your planning of resource planning should have:

  1. Scheduled dates for each task: This should include the time required by those working on the project, equipment hire, and project site hire.
  2. The number of resources required for each task in the project: Many of these are used on a daily basis, so be prepared to set up a detailed schedule to determine how they will be used.
  3. Make a detailed schedule of resources to track times, money spent, and add them to a calendar to keep track.

Step 1: Make a list of resources

Lay out all the resources needed for your project and structure them by tasks. Then decide which of them would be best suited to work on which task. Explain their role and decide what equipment you need for the project (computers, office equipment, machinery etc). This could include: wood, steel, cement etc.

Step 2: Estimate resource consumption

Determine the amount of resources that will be used from the list of resources during the life cycle of the project. For example: How many hours per day will the workforce need to work? How many types of equipment do I need to hire for the project?

Do the same for the materials used in the project. For example: how much timber and what size of timber is required? The same applies to planning material resources, such as software licences for computers.

Be accurate with your estimates and add the data into your project management software. Try to find out when resources are consumed and what the consumption rate was on that day. Having the right data will help you to allocate your resources more efficiently.

Step 3: Create a resource plan

From the information gathered in the first two steps, create your resource plan. Specify the resources, time frame and consumption throughout the project. Quantify resource consumption by the day, week or month. Then calculate the total (quantified) resources on a weekly or monthly basis. Set aside some resources to deal with problems that will inevitably surface during the project life cycle.

The techniques of resource planning :

1. Resource allocation :

Allocate your resources according to the skills and abilities of the team members. In this way, your project will be carried out more qualitatively and efficiently. It will also be easier to manage if everyone is doing tasks they are familiar with and have the skills for. For greater clarity in task allocation and more detailed analysis of resources, use the project resource allocation reports. These reports help to reduce planning delays and avoid going over budget.

2. The levelling of resources :

This technique helps to identify resources that are over- or under-used in your projects. For example: An IT project manager with coding knowledge and skills can help a software team correct errors. This can help the project reduce the need to hire external staff to advise on coding errors if this is a problem.

3. Resource forecasting :

Resource forecasting allows you to predict the number of resources needed before a project starts. When planning the project, this technique gives greater visibility of constraints, unexpected costs and risks. The project manager needs to have a thorough knowledge of the project and its objectives to make predictions. The project manager must of course be aware of all the resources available in the organisation in order to be able to carry out the predictions.

Conclusion:

Having an accurate resource schedule, with detailed information about the people and materials involved in the project, is the key to a successful resource planning . Do not assign more than three tasks to your resources to be carried out simultaneously if you do not want to hamper their efficiency. As every project is unique, changes in the schedule are inevitable and the work allocation structure will also change. However, try to minimise confusion in resource allocation to produce better results.

Create a prioritisation of tasks to ensure that the most urgent ones will be completed on time, not in order of preference. Have a realistic view of your working group in terms of how long it will take to complete a specific task. Also, be aware of what they need to do it, and how it fits with the objectives of the organisation and the stakeholders.

resource planning has come a long way in recent years. You no longer need spreadsheets or whiteboards to organise yourself. A project management tool, or software from resource planning such as Stafiz can help you maximise your time and that of your team, and meet your budget and deadlines efficiently.

 

 

Also read: Better manage your teams with a management tool resource planning