Chapter 7 – Scheduling Resources and Budgets

7.3. Scheduling Resources, Benefits, Constraints

Resources are people, materials and equipment that come together to complete a project. Project Managers need to ensure all the resources required are available for the project. Constraints are when the resources are not available or limited. It is important to understand constraints as they can affect the outcomes of the projects. Project Managers need to balance the resources and constraints to ensure success.

People: Providing enough qualified people on a project is the most important resource.  Human Resources would be active in supplying or supporting the hiring of qualified people for the project.  People are hired based on the skills they bring to the project.

Materials: The materials required for the project need to be planned for in advance, ordered/brought in as needed in the project. As well, the delivery of products and timing of delivery need to be considered.

Equipment: Equipment needs to be purchased, leased, or rented for the project. It needs to be available when needed.

Once people, materials or equipment are placed on the schedule, it is important they are allocated as needed. Project Managers tend to classify resources and determine what and who they need, where they need the resource, and when it is needed. Much of this planning is done in advance. However, project resource schedules are critical.

Project Managers use a classification of scheduling in two ways:

Time-constrained resources: This would mean there is an imposed time frame for the project (the time cannot be changed.) Example: Planning a wedding. Once the date is decided, it will not change. Or planning a New Year’s Eve party. We must hold it on January 31st.

Resource-constrained: There is an assumption that all the resources will be available when and where they are needed. If the resources are not available or not adequate, the project could be delayed. Example: Two people are scheduled to paint a room. The contractor scheduled 8 hours with 2 people. One person was sick. Now, it will take 1 person 16 hours to paint the room. The cost is “time which is money,” and the contractor may need to pay the 1 person overtime.

Benefits of Scheduling People, Materials, Equipment

  1. If resources are time-constrained or resource-constrained, it is important for Project Managers to plan a schedule ahead of time. This leaves time to look at different options.
  2. Resource schedules allow time to prepare budgets and work plans (tasks, activities). Project Managers can then quickly assess if unanticipated events occur.
  3. Project Managers can predict how much flexibility they have with resources over a period of time. This would be helpful if team members are sick or need to removed themselves from the project for a period of time.