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What is resource management?

Resource management is acquiring, allocating and managing the resources, such as individuals and their skills, finances, technology, materials, machinery and natural resources required for a project. Resource management ensures that internal and external resources are used effectively on time and to budget. Resources may be obtained internally from the host organisation or procured from external sources.

The APM Body of Knowledge defines resource management as 'the acquisition and deployment of the internal and external resources required to deliver the project, programme or portfolio’.        

The project professional must identify the resources required to deliver the work, as part of planning, and determine when the resources will be required, through scheduling. This forms an essential part of the project management plan.

What are resources?

According to the APM Body of Knowledge, ‘the resources needed to deliver a project, programme or portfolio include people, financial resources, machinery, materials, technology, property and anything else required to deliver the work. Resources may be obtained internally from the host organisation or procured from external sources’. They can also be consumable and/or re-usable.

Why is resource management important?

Defining of resources and their availability, linked with planning of resource demands and related reporting, allows for effective use of limited resources. Standardisation of procedures and processes also saves resources being wasted and finances being spent on the wrong things – a significant cost-saving factor. All of the above contribute to the overall success of the project.

What is the best way to manage project resources?

The best ways to manage resources effectively is to follow the three step process set out below:

  • Allocation
  • Aggregation
  • Scheduling

Allocation involves identifying what resources are needed to complete the work, ie. the quantity required or the amount of effort required. Aggregation of resources on a daily, weekly or monthly basis shows the total amount consumed at any point in time. Resource scheduling is used to calculate the resources required to deliver the work and when they will be required.

Once you know the resource allocation and understand the consumption, you can then manage the schedule more effectively. In some instances you may need to apply specific scheduling techniques to ensure the project meets its objectives. These include: resource smoothing (used when time constraints take priority) and resource levelling, which is creating a balance of the resource stock, ie. reducing excess and shortages when the availability of resources. Sometimes both techniques may need to be used. The fully-resourced schedule has to be achievable and have the support of the management team.

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  1. Dan Ryder FCIOB FCABE C.Build E MAPM
    Dan Ryder FCIOB FCABE C.Build E MAPM 19 July 2018, 07:16 AM

    Very true, as it is imperative to start the scheduling process by identifying what resources are needed to complete the work, including the quantity required or the amount of effort required including any specific skills. Also agree that monitoring of resources on a daily, weekly or monthly basis determines the total amount used at any point in time. Good exercise in using resource scheduling to anticipate and project the resources required to deliver the work and when they will be required during the programme. Agree with all your points. Dan Ryder

  2. Bongani Dlodlo
    Bongani Dlodlo 21 November 2018, 08:33 PM

    Excellent post. I would also add that risk management is crucial in managing resources. Risks should be identified at resource scheduling phase to assure that appropriate resources are available at the right time to avoid the project falling behind schedule, e.g. machine or equipment breakdown, staff absences, external constraints like; suppliers going burst or failing to deliver on time and so on. Identifying risks allows PM to formulate contingency plans to mitigate or minimise such risks impact on the project schedule. Likewise, opportunities should be identified that could benefit the project.