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Articles - Getting & estimating resource requirements

By Manjeet Singh (based on excerpts from the free ProjectMind's quick guide to project management)

After you have identified the activities involved in a project, determined the sequence of these activities, and established a schedule, you are ready for the next step – determining the resources that you need to accomplish your project activities.

You will need resources such as people, material and other supplies. For example, in a website design project you would typically need graphical designers and programmers, access to rooms to hold your meetings, software, computers, and so on.

People first

Let’s begin with the most important resource – people. You will need to determine the skills required for accomplishing the activities of your project. After this phase, you need to match people to those skills. A good way to do this is to create a skills sheet that matches skills to activities. Also keep columns for the name of people, their start dates, their cost – this information can sometimes be obtained at the same time. Here is an example of a sheet that you can use to accomplish this:

WBS

Activity

Skills needed

Name of person

Skills level

Deliverable

Effort days

Start date

End date

Cost

2.1

Write marketing content

Marketing

JJC

Expert

Marketing content for website

10

May 7

May 20

9,500

2.2

Write HR content

HR

AFH

Intermediate

HR content for website

8

May 10

May 30

7,600

2.3

Edit all content

Document editing

KDM

Expert

Edited content for website

5

April 4

April 20

4,000

The above table goes beyond simply matching activities and skills – it also contains columns for the names of the people who will execute an activity, their skills level, the deliverable that they are expected to produce, the date on which they can start and finish, and their cost. Fill in these columns as soon as you can. Often the managers of the people that you need will be able to commit the availability of these people for your project. However, it is recommended that you always cross-check this information with your project team members, and pay particular attention to the following:

The functional managers should be able to tell you how much their people cost. The more detail you go into when estimating the costs, the more accurate your cost estimates will be. So be detailed when it comes to costs as this frequently becomes an issue later on in the project.


TIP: Establish a level of signing authority for the project’s budget. If you have to get multiple approvals for spending money, you will waste a lot of time thus impacting your ability to get your project done on time.

Nonperson resources

You may also need to factor in the availability of nonperson resources such as supplies, equipment and facilities. To do this, create a nonperson availability sheet similar to the example below:

WBS

Activity

Resource needed

Time in hours

Date (s) needed

4.1

Design brochure

- Computer
- Color Printer

80

4 to 29 April

4.2

Brochure review meeting

- Meeting room with computer connected to projector

3

4 May

4.3

Make copies of draft brochure

- Color Photocopier

2

5 May

Now that you have an idea of your resource requirements and their availability, go back to your Gantt chart. You might need to re-adjust it in order to take into account your team members’ or other nonperson resources’ availability.

Send your comments on this article to msingh@projectminds.com

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