How to Control Resources

control resourcesControl resources is the new process introduced in PMBOK 6th version.

This is all about controlling and monitoring the consumption or usage of physical resources on the project. By physical resources we mean servers, tools, equipment, infrastructure, machinery, materials, facilities and so on. For taking care of people we have Manage team process.

This is pretty straight forward and performed on a regular basis. We have planned resources based on estimation figures during planning phase. Now while the project work is being carried out we look for any changes against the plan  for,

  • availability of resources required when they are needed, and ensuring there is no shortage
  • allocation of planned resources for the activities at the right time
  • release of resources when they are no longer needed
  • maximum utilization of resources to optimize the cost
  • proactively managing any changes in the planned resource requirements

What do we need?

We need those project documents that impact or influence resources.

Resource requirements tell us how much of which resources are needed.

Physical resource assignments tell us whether resources are procured internally or from outside, their location of arrival and usage, and so on.

Project schedule gives us clarity about when resources are needed for which activities.

Resource breakdown structure show us interdependencies between resources so we can proactively look for issues about their availability.

Risk register shows any potential risks related to resource availability, supply, resource utilization, resource usage, or shortage.

Issue log has information about any issues identified regarding resources, and they need to be addressed before any of them threaten to impact schedule.

Lessons learned register is an important source of information to proactively look for issues related to resources and how to address them if similar issues as in the past surface.

We get to see the type and quantity of resources used on the project from work performance data.

If the project has to procure materials from vendors or suppliers then those agreements need to be studied.

And how exactly we control resources?

We are using work performance data, so we are going analyze them to the core. 🙂 Few techniques are –

Alternatives analysis are used if there is resource utilization variance, and we need to weigh in the impact and benefit from each of available alternatives.

Trend analysis is used to forecast whether we end up needing more resources for the planned work in near future. We can see if current resource utilization has been acceptable or not.

Cost-benefit analysis comes into picture when we have some deviation in resource utilization and need to put some corrective plan in place. We look at the cost of each possible alternatives and the benefits they bring.

The project manager needs to be adept at problem solving because things usually don’t go as per plan, and she needs to take quick decisions to solve problems. Thus negotiating and influencing skills are also required to get required resources on time, or in case of corrective action, in short span of time.

The outcome

Since we analyzed data, we of course have useful information such as resource shortage, forecasts, availability gaps, and trends.

When work is being churned out against the plan, various aspects impact the progress and the project manager needs to manage changes as required. Thus she raises change requests and address them through change control process.

All the plans and project documents used as input can potentially be updated based on changes made during project execution.

That’s the last process in project resource management knowledge area.

Congratulations if you’ve made it till here! Treat yourself to your favorite beverage.

The next knowledge area is where the project manager spends 90% of effort – Communication management. Let us begin with the first process.. any guesses?

Yes, the planning process. Plan communications management process. Let us get started with it!

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