Resource planning helps anticipating all the resources required to complete a project. A proper resource plan needs to be very detailed and to include the quantity of labor, equipment, and other materials necessary to complete the project. An excellent resource plan will make it easy to gain confidence and approval from stakeholders for a project. Also, a quality resource plan will always have one task owner for each task.

Why do resource planning matters in project management?

Resource plan is created during the planning phase  of the project.  It is created by the person in charge of the project resource management. This person will be responsible for identifying the resources required for the project. A proper resource plan will also help in reducing budgeting and help forecasting accurately project expenses. We would recommend you to create a resource template, as it will help you to track:

  • Types of labor required
  • Roles and responsibilities of the labor
  • Number of people needed to complete a specific task
  • Equipment needed for the project
  • Raw material list

The above mentioned resource template will also help you to

  • Plan the dates and allocating tasks
  • Identify the number of resources required for activities
  • Create an accurate resource utilization schedule

During resource planning, try to create two types of plans:

  • Hypothetical resource plan: A plan without any resource constraints.
  • Actual resource plan: A plan based on actual resource availability.

Create a ‘what if’ scenarios that could happen in the resource plan. Implement them in hypothetical and actual resource plan to see how it affects your project. This will help you forecast contingency resources required to respond an identified risk for this project.

Related Article: Utilization rates vs Realization rates

Importance of resource planning:

A human needs food, water, and comfort to live; similarly, projects need resources to maintain and complete project goals. The main advantage of creating a resource plan is following the deadlines of the project and client deliverables.

A resource plan can help with:

  • Maximizing project budget spending
  • Enhance project workflow process through reporting and forecasting
  • Deep diving a budget for the project and making sure the project is completed on budget.

Stakeholders have a limited budget for projects, and the operating costs of managing a project have increased. So, it is imperative to make sure the resources of the project are not wasted.

Completing a project with a massive budget is easier of course, but most of us have to successfully complete project with tight budgets which is challenging. This is why resource planning is crucial. Half of your project is already successful if you properly allocate your resources, as resource allocation is the most challenging part of project management. Create a list of resources required and start allocating important resources for the crucial tasks first. This way, it will be easier to shortlist resources and tasks.

How resource planning is related with project management?

PMI did a survey with 4,455 project managers who had problems with planning projects like meeting deadlines, completing tasks within budget. These problems arise when there is no robust resource plan.

So, what happens if there is no resource plan in a project:

  • 48% of projects will not meet the deadline
  • 43% of projects will exceed the allocated budget
  • 31% of projects will not meet their goals

You see, resource planning is part of the project and cannot be avoided. If you do so, you cannot keep track of the budget and resources working on the project. The project is doomed to fail.

A project’s profit is directly proportional to the resources required to complete it. It is easy to allocate hardware and infrastructure resources. The real difficulty lies in planning and scheduling the project team’s tasks and time.

Benefits of resource planning:

  1. Understanding your resources and knowing how to use them will help you to avoid obstacles before they can happen.
  2. Identify if there is a resource over-allocated for a task. Calculate dependency of resources by knowing your team’s workload. This will help you reduce resource burnout.
  3. Create a limit for the amount of resources needed for each activity. Ensure the limit is strictly followed.
  4. After knowing what you need to execute for the project, you need to create the resource plan and measure the project ROI.

How to create your resource plan?

The three elements the resource plan should have are:

  1. Scheduled dates for the tasks. It should include the amount of time required by the people working on the project, equipment rented, and project site rent.
  2. The amount of resources required for each project task. Many resources in projects are used daily. So be prepared to create a detailed plan to determine how they are being used.
  3. Make a detailed resource schedule to track duration, money spent, and add them on a calendar to follow them.

Step 1: List the resources

Write down all the resources needed for your project. Structure them by task. Then decide which resources should be working on each specific tasks. Explain each resource what their role are. Then decide on equipment needed for the project like computers, machinery, office devices. After that, create a list of non-consumable resources you need for the project. It could include wood, steel, cement…

Step 2: Estimate resource consumption

Figure out how much resources will be used from the resource list during the project life cycle. E.g., How many hours the laborers should work a day, how many types of equipment I need to rent for the project. Apply the same for the materials used in the project. E.g., how many woods and what size of the lumber required. The same goes for hardware resource planning, like the software licenses needed for the computer.

Be accurate with the estimation and add the data in your project management software. Try to track when the resources are consumed and what was the consumption rate on that day. Keeping the right data on hand will help you allocate resources more efficiently.

Step 3: Build a resource schedule

From the information collected in the first two steps, build a resource schedule. Specify the resources, time frame of consumption throughout the project. Quantify the consumption of resources by day, week, or month.Then calculate the total resources (quantified) on a weekly or monthly basis. Set aside some resources as back up to tackle problems that arise during the project life cycle.

Resource planning techniques:

1.Resource allocation:

This technique helps get the most from available resources. Allocating resources based on the team member’s skills and capacity. In this way, it is easier to run a project with the available resources in the most efficient way. Be very clear in your allocation. Use project resource allocation reports. This will help to get a detailed analysis of the resources. Allocation reports help in reducing schedule delays and avoid over budget. Better the resource reporting, the more transparent and efficient the project will be

  1. Resource leveling:

This technique helps you identify the resources that are overused or underused in your project. E.g. An IT project manager with the knowledge coding skills helps the software team in correcting errors. This can help the project reduce external hiring if they want some advice on coding errors.

3.Resource forecasting:

Resource forecasting allows you to predict the amount of resources required before a project begins. While planning the project, this technique determines the scope of the project, constraints, unexpected costs, and risks.The project manager must have a thorough knowledge of the project and objectives to make these predictions. The manager should also be aware of the resources available in the organization for resource forecasting.

Related Article: 4 critical things to keep in mind when planning a project in a consulting firm

Conclusion:

Having accurate resource plans with detailed information of people and material included in a project is key for successful resource planning. Don’t give your resources more than three tasks to do simultaneously. It could hamper their efficiency. Since all projects are unique, schedule changes are bound to happen. The work assigning structure will change. Try to minimize confusion in resource allocation to produce better results.

Create a prioritization of tasks; without priority, people tend to work on tasks they are comfortable with and not on tasks that are important to complete first. Have a realistic view of your task force on how soon they complete a specific task, what they require to complete a task, and how this adds up to the goals, objectives of organization and stakeholders.

Over the years, resource planning has changed a lot. You don’t need spreadsheets or whiteboards to plan. Project management tools like Stafiz can help you maximize your team’s time, tacking your budgets and deadlines efficiently.