Need a hand preparing a resource management plan? This comprehensive guide and resource management plan template will jumpstart your efforts. You can depend on both to align with widely recognized good practices in project planning.
At the end of this guide, you will also find links to relevant project documents for planning resource management. Let’s get a couple definitions out of the way, first.
What Are Project Resources?
Project resources include everything and everyone that is required to complete the project. You can expect project resources to vary, project to project.
One thing is for sure. Project resources include more than human resources. Project resources also include the necessary project funding, the required equipment, materials, supplies, facilities, and so forth.
What Is Resource Management?
Resource management is about ensuring the project manager and project team have the resources they need to complete the project.
Project resource management includes:
- identifying project resources,
- obtaining resources,
- monitoring, and controlling resources,
- making the resources available at the right place and the right time, and
- releasing the project resources.
The project manager may have to negotiate for the resources; decide whether to make, buy, or lease the resources; schedule maintenance tasks; warehouse and insure the resources; ensure the resources meet regulatory requirements; provide rewards and incentives; and evaluate resource performance.
Examples of Resource Management
Imagine a project to construct a new office building. When the project manager schedules the clearing and excavation of the land, she:
- orders a bulldozer to be delivered to the construction site,
- schedules the bulldozer operator to begin work at 8:00 AM, and
- requests an appropriate release of funding for this project phase.
All three of these actions by the project manager represent examples of resource management.
What is a Resource Management Plan?
According to Project Management Institute (2021) Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK guide) (7th ed.), a resource management plan is defined as “..a component of the project management plan that describes how project resources are acquired, allocated, monitored, and controlled.” (p. 186)
What is the Importance of a Resource Management Plan?
The resource management plan:
- is an input to several subsidiary management plans,
- is an important component of the project management plan,
- identifies resource needs,
- enables prioritization of organizational resources,
- helps managers balance resource demands,
- promotes efficiency, and
- improves productivity.
What Are the Benefits of a Resource Management Plan?
Resource management plans benefit projects, programs, and organizations. From a project perspective, the resource management plan is an input to several subsidiary management plans. This makes it an important component of the project management plan.
For example, the resource management plan is an input to the schedule management plan. Without knowing the availability of project resources, we can’t determine activity start dates. Without that ability, we cannot generate an accurate project schedule.
Likewise, the resource management plan in an input to the cost management plan. We cannot prepare accurate project budgets if we do not know whether we must procure assets from outside sources.
Resource management planning also benefits programs and other organizational objectives. This is especially true where there are competing demands for the same organizational resources. It is through resource management planning that we identify resource demands, identify organizational capacity, and prevent resource overloading. Resource management plans make it possible to prioritize organizational resources, balance their demands, promote efficiency, and improve productivity.
How Do You Create a Resource Management Plan?
To create a resource management plan, implement these 11 steps:
- Secure a well-drafted Resource Management Plan template.
- Identify roles and responsibilities, as they pertain to resource management.
- Identify the resource management method and the location of project resources.
- Estimate resources.
- Specify how resources will be acquired.
- Describe how human resources will be secured, onboarded, and developed.
- Identify how resource will be managed.
- Specify how resources will be controlled.
- Document assumptions, issues, and risks that are identified while planning resource management.
- Include relevant project documents.
- Obtain plan approval.
Step 1. Secure a Well-Drafted Resource Management Plan Template.
You can save a lot of effort by starting with a quality template. A well-drafted Resource Management Plan template:
- can be easily edited to fit the needs of your project,
- is prepared in alignment with widely recognized good practices in project management, and
- is designed to work with the other plans and documents within the project management plan. This feature may help prevent gaps in project planning.
The best templates are editable and designed to work together in alignment with widely recognized good practices in project management.
Step 2. Identify Roles and Define Responsibilities as They Pertain to Resource Management
When roles and responsibilities are clearly identified, people are empowered to perform in a more focused manner. It reduces confusion and redundancy and supports efficiency.
Clearly defined roles and responsibilities can boost productivity.
Step 3. Identify the Resource Management Method and the Location of Project Resources
Resources will be managed differently on a just-in-time manufacturing project than they will be on a waterfall software conversion project. Identify and/or describe the resource management method.
Identify the location of the physical resources and the human resources. If applicable, include a copy of the Team Charter for your convenient future reference.
Identify a resource management method that supports the project management method.
Step 4. Estimate Resources
Develop the Resource Breakdown Structure and the Basis of Resource Estimates. Then, identify and include the Human Resource Requirements List and the Physical Resource Requirements List.
The best way to estimate project resources is at the activity level. Begin there by preparing a Resource Breakdown Structure.
Step 5. Identify How Resources Will Be Acquired
Some resources may come from within the organization while others may come from external sources. There might also be different procedures for acquiring each resource. For example, the organization may require that all external resources be included on an approved contractors list. If so, it’s important to meet these requirements before the resource is needed on the project.
Identify resource acquisition strategies so the intended strategies and resources become approved before they are needed.
Step 6. Describe How Resources Will be Secured, Onboarded, and Developed
In many organizations, there are prescribed processes for securing, onboarding, and developing project resources. If so, identify those processes. If not, describe the plans for this project. Don’t forget to specify how human resources will be mentored and trained, if applicable. Plan motivational and team building activities. Plan rewards and recognitions.
Identify organizational requirements before securing, onboarding, and developing project resources.
Step 7. Identify How Human Resources Will Be Managed
Plan how assessments will be performed, feedback will be provided, issues will be resolved, and time will be tracked.
Step 8. Specify How Resources Will Be Controlled
Describe the processes for ensuring that the physical resources assigned and allocated to the project are available as planned. Describe the processes for monitoring the planned versus actual use of resources, and the process for performing corrective action, as necessary.
Controlling resources is about managing the resources assigned to the project.
Step 9. Document Assumptions, Issues, and Risks That Are Identified While Planning Resource Management.
Throughout project planning, it is a good practice to document assumptions, issues, and risks when they are identified. Later, all assumptions, issues, and risks will be documented in the Risk Management Plan.
Document assumptions, issues, and risks when they are identified.
Step 10. Include Relevant Project Documents.
By including relevant project documents in the Resource Management Plan, they become subject to review and change. Once the Resource Management Plan is approved, the relevant project documents will be approved.
(Examples of project documents that might be included in the Resource Management Plan are provided at the end of this guide.)
Step 11. Obtain Plan Approval.
Some organizations require approval of each subsidiary management plan while others require approval of the Project Management Plan only. Consider the organizational and project needs, then obtain all approval necessary.
Obtaining Plan approval is important because:
- it increases stakeholder engagement which contributes to project success,
- it provides for the input of others which may help uncover risks,
- it authorizes the application of resources to the project, in accordance with the Plan.
There should be no assignment of resources without Plan approval.
Good Practices Lead to Development of Effective Plans
By starting with a well-drafted Resource Management Plan template and following the 11-steps identified above, you will be well on your way to developing an effective plan that aligns with widely recognized good practices in project management.
Start Planning Now
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Select the button on the right to learn more about our e-book. It includes the Resource Management Plan template and numerous other subsidiary management plan templates, project document templates, and a Project Management Plan template. All templates in our e-book are designed to work together.
Other Resource Management Project Documents
Below you will find links to project document templates that regard resource management. If they will be used on your project, consider including them in the Resource Management Plan.
Basis of Resource Estimates
Human Resource Attributes Log
Human Resource Availability Calendar
Resource Commitment Form
Human Resource Requirements
Human Resources List
Physical Resource Assignments
About the Author
Kimberlin R. Wildman, JD, PMP is a former attorney, a PMP certified project manager, a federal proposal manager, and the founder of MyPM. She has two decades of experience managing people, managing projects, and managing expectations. Author Bio