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Getting and Estimating Resource Requirements – People (#8 in the Hut A Quick Guide to Project Management)
By Manjeet Singh

Now that you have a better overview of the activities and schedule of your project, you have to determine the resources that you will need to execute the 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.

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:

  • Check up the availability of your project team members by taking into account their vacations, sick days and the other projects that they are already working on.
  • Ask the functional managers of your project team members to asses the skill set of their people, and the effort days that will be required by them to accomplish the activities assigned to them (always cross-check the effort days with the person who will executing an activity).
  • 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.

Next in the Hut A Quick Guide to Project Management:

Getting and Estimating Resource Requirements – Non-Person Resources

Previously in the Hut A Quick Guide to Project Management:

Project Planning Process – The Gantt Chart

Manjeet Singh has over 17 years of experience acquired in a wide variety of industries with a focus on project and program management at Software Makers and Global IT Services companies throughout the world. Manjeet has an Executive MBA from the HEC Management School, and is the author of the website that provides a free guide to project management, and offers other project management-related resources.

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