When you start your project you need to consider what resources are required to get it done. It’s always best to ask for the things you need at the beginning, rather than getting stuck halfway through because you haven’t planned it out, and having to ask then for additional resources.
I’m going to show you the 3 types of essential resource that you should be considering for your project. I bet you are going to need all of them, so it’s worth taking a bit of time to work out exactly what that looks like for your project so you can request everything you need before you start work.
Projects can’t start without…
Human resources are required to get the project done. Even if it’s just you.
Normally a project team is a group of people and you won’t be working alone. The team management part is often the hardest part of the project, especially if you haven’t had to lead a team in the past. Managing their time and workload can be tricky too, as most of your project team members won’t work solely on your project. They will have day jobs and may be involved in other projects at the same time.
When you know what individuals you need it becomes a lot easier to do your resource planning, which should help you balance those peaks and troughs of availability in the team. Spend some time thinking through the different skill sets that you need and the kind of tasks that are required for the project, regardless of the project complexity and type. Even at this early stage, you can still get a good idea of who needs to be involved.
You’ll have to work out who is needed on the project at what times, based on your project schedule. You’ll need to bring in different types of subject matter experts at different times, and each one will have to know enough about the project’s objectives to get their part done successfully.
Your project needs money, because it will need to pay for things, even if that is only your salary (let’s assume that you aren’t working on this project for free, although I know that does happen as people often volunteer to put their project management skills to good use for charities, for example).
Generally, though, you’ll be managing a budget on your project and this is one of the core skills for a project manager. You need to be confident handling the numbers, even if you never get your hands on any real cash!
Talk to your sponsor about their expectations for the money that needs to be spent. It’s important that they have a realistic idea about how much the project will cost, and you can help them do that once you have undertaken some of the planning.
If you don’t have enough cash for your project then you won’t be able to get everything done. It’s that simple: the budget funds the work and when it runs out the work has to stop. If they want the project to be completed successfully then it needs to be adequately funded.
You’ll need to know how much money you are spending because it helps you establish whether you are on track or not. Project management software like Primavera Reader will let you easily see what tasks have been completed so you can link that back to your spending and work out if you are progressing as planned.
Projects also use up assets. Assets, or goods, vary from project to project but it’s highly likely that your project will need some kind of tangible resource. It’s normally what you use the project budget to buy.
- Software licenses
- Hardware like technical infrastructure such as cabling or switches for the IT equipment
- Equipment or machinery (which you might hire for the life of the project or buy)
- Property (again, it might be something you hire for the project such as a temporary cabin on a building site).
You’ll also make use of assets that the company already has although you may have to budget for borrowing them or schedule in the right time to use them so that you don’t clash with another project. An example might be a testing lab that you need to book in advance.
This type of resource is particularly important to get right because not planning to use it can create huge problems for your project. If you don’t get particular software elements, for example, they could take weeks to ship from the manufacturer and add considerable delay to the project.
Resources of all types are important to get your project off the ground and successfully moving in the right direction. The more effort you put into thinking through the types of project resources you need and requesting them far enough in advance to ensure that they are ready for you when you need them, the easier it will be for you to complete your project on time, on budget and to the required specifications.