Ever heard of the game, “Would You Rather?” Let’s play a quick round to help answer the question “What are Project Resources?” You’re responsible for transporting a huge boulder to the top of a steep hill (the boulder does not have to remain in one piece). So, would you rather:
- Be responsible for carrying the boulder all the way to the top using only your bare hands
- Be responsible for carrying a pebble to the top, after using machines to break down the boulder and assigning responsibility of each pebble to individual team members
Sure, the scenario is a bit silly, and the answer is definitely obvious, but this is the perfect conceptualization of the importance of project resources. You may not (literally) be moving boulders on a day-to-day basis, but I’m sure there are times you’ve done some heavy lifting when it comes to projects.
So, what exactly are project resources?
Project resources are the people, capital, and/or material goods required for the successful execution and completion of a project.
In a nutshell: project resources are what you depend on to get work done. They can differ depending on the type of project and department(s) involved.
For instance, according to Gartner, project resources related to IT architecture can include “equipment, software, communications, development methodologies, modeling tools, and organizational structures.” On the other hand, a film production team may rely more heavily on studio rentals, film equipment, designers, etc.
Why do project resources matter?
When thinking about project resources, many people may overlook the issues that can arise without proper planning—they may instead focus on the task at hand, rather than planning far ahead. If you are working on the second phase of a project, you must also be sure you have the right resources lined up when it comes time for phase seven. Don’t simply assume they will be available or “take someone’s word for it.”
Lacking necessary resources will most likely halt progress and cause a project to run behind schedule. If the resource was a rental space or unique piece of equipment, you may be left waiting months before the space becomes available again or the equipment can be shipped. Not ideal when you’re trying to meet deadlines and stay within budget.
How can you ensure resource availability?
Clearly, project resources are critical to success, but is there ever a guarantee all people, equipment, and capital will be available in the right amounts and at the right time? The following quote pulled from Project Management Tips offers a solid answer to this dilemma:
“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.”
There is always the risk that issues may arise, but if you are well-prepared, you will be better equipped to handle the situation and move on quickly. Plus, ensuring resource availability also means no one member of your team will be overworked or overbooked—you will have a clear understanding of everyone’s workloads and can plan accordingly.
To learn more about resource capacity planning, check out the 2016 State of Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study. You’ll find insights from more than 400 global leaders on how to use resource planning to achieve the greatest benefits for your organization.
What are some of your strategies when it comes to project resources? Do you define project resources differently than above? If so, share by leaving a comment below.
 “3 Types of Essential Resources For Your Project.” Project Management Tips, 18 May 2016, pmtips.net/blog-new/3-types-of-essential-resources-for-your-project.