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Project Resource Requirements (#7 in the series Human Resources in Project Management)
By Joseph Phillips

Every organization, like every project, is different. Some companies’ management style is to shove a bunch of people in a room and then tell the project manager, “There’s your team. Good luck.”

Other organizations are more realistic and rely on the project manager, pros in the discipline the project is focusing on, and subject matter experts to identify what type of resources will be needed on the project.

With either approach, the project manager, experts, and stakeholders need to examine the nature of the work, the resource pool in the organization, and then identify any gaps between the two. Sounds easy, right? Of course it’s not.

Your resource requirements basically describe what types of competencies you’ll need and when you’ll need them. Lots of stuff can happen from here:

  • the project manager has the needed resources
  • the project manager doesn’t have the resources
  • the project manager has the resources in the resource pool, but the resources aren’t available when needed
  • the project manager has some of the resources, but not enough of them
  • the project manager has the boss’s son, an intern, and two guys from the mailroom

In all of the situations, save the first one, the project manager has to hire, train, or change the project to fit the resources he has. The point is you can’t do the project work without the needed resources. (Again with the “well, duh.”)

A Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) can help the project manager, the project team, and management visualize who does what and who makes the decisions within a project. A RAM is a table that identifies the phases, activities, or even the deliverables within a project compared with the people contributing to each phase, activity, or deliverable.

Joseph Phillips is the author of five books on project management and is a, PMI Project Management Professional, a CompTIA certified Project Professional, and a Certified Technical Trainer. For more information about Project Management Training, please visit Project Seminars.

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