In the world of interactive Project Management, the definition of resourcing is the estimation and scheduling of appropriate team members, based on the project timeline, requirements and budget. Resourcing is one of the most critical elements of Project Management, with the potential to ultimately affect the final delivery to client. If resourcing isn't done regularly and methodically, it can impact the entire origanization.
The software market is flooded with applications that support resource allocation. As a PM, you may work at a company that utilizes this type of tool, but it's important to understand the mechanics of resourcing whether you use an application or not. In this entry, I will share my own approach, which you can and adapt and implement in your own environment.
Regularity: Regardless of the type of projects you manage, the number of resources that make up your team, or the size of your organization, it is crucial that resourcing occurs on a regular basis. Ideally, resource allocation is forecasted for many weeks in advance. In other words, each Project Manager will allocate specific resources to tasks on a given project as far into the future a possible. This allocation will be calculated based on the initial timeline, scope and budget of a project. Together, these elements must be utilized as the blueprint for the management of the project. If this is done correctly, a project will likely be delivered on time and on budget, the hallmarks of success for any Project Manager. Timelines are fluid and often change, so your resource plan may need adjusting and readjusting.
While extensive forecasting is ideal, in many cases, a Project Manager may only resource for a single week at a time. This scenario works best for smaller teams of resources that are shared among a group of Project Managers. The objective is this case is to ensure all projects are given equal weighting and attention through Project Manager concensus, so that one project isn't neglected for another.
Communication: Resourcing will likely be done among the Project Management group, but it's important that the plan gets communicated out to the larger team as frequently as possible. Because Project Managers are responsible for project delivery, they are inherently responsible for the resources that contribute to the project and their overall utilization. This means the Project Management team must communicate what resources will work on what initatives in advance. There are numerous methods you can use to communicate the resource plan to the team, as long as a few rules are adhered to-
1. Communicate regularly so that any adjustments to the timeline or resource allocation plan are flagged to the team.
2. Put it in writing! A paper-based or electronic calendaring system that details who is working on what is an absolute requirement. Verbal communication is needed, but it must be reinforced through documentation, to avoid any misunderstandings that could lead to delays or under-utilization.
Resourcing can be a very complex system affected by many factors. The size of your organization and the amount of overall work in the pipeline will determine the approach, but regardless of the details, the methodology must always be driven by project timelines and budgets. By taking these into consideration, you will be able to define a resourcing system that will support project profitability, fluidity and success.