Managing resources is a key part of project management—things like people, materials, and equipment are required for executing deliverables and tasks. Understanding what a resource is and how they play into your overall project is key to ensuring the proper planning of your project.
So what is a resource in project management? A resource can be any kind of asset that helps complete a task.
There are seven main types of resources in project management: services, labor, equipment, materials, money, time, and space. Each type has its own unique characteristics and must be effectively managed to ensure a successful project.
Read on to learn what types of resources are applicable to your projects and why they are so important.
What Is A Resource?
In project management, a resource is defined as anything needed to complete a project successfully. This includes raw materials, operational supplies, funding, personnel, technology, and any other items or services required along the way.
Resources come in various forms that can be split generally into seven key categories: Labor, equipment, materials, money, space, time, and services.
It’s important to accurately assess all of the resources necessary for the successful completion of a project plan and deliverables before the work begins, so appropriate budgeting and allocations can be made for each aspect.
There are a number of helpful resource scheduling software platforms available to help streamline the entire resource management process.
Resources can be project specific, or they can be general and be used across multiple projects. Resource scheduling ensures there are available resources at the time needed for the project.
Without sufficient resources allocated across each stage of the production process, a project will ultimately fail—this is why understanding what constitutes a resource in project management is so vital.
The 7 Types Of Resources
In project management, a resource is any entity involved in the completion of a project task which can be material, financial, or personnel-related. There are 7 key types of resources to know: Labor, equipment, materials, money, space, time, and services.
Labor covers all personnel needed to complete a project. A project manager will allocate which type of labor is needed and when to complete tasks for any given project. Not everyone involved in the project will be needed for each and every task.
This includes everyone on your project team, and keeping track of their availability will help prevent overallocation and burnout on their end.
This covers a wide range of anything needed for the project and can include computers, servers, manufacturing equipment, and more. Equipment as a resource can be used for multiple projects, however as the number of projects grows, so will the need for equipment.
These are resources that are used up during the completion of a project. In an office setting, this includes paper and other stationery supplies, while in construction it can include all building materials.
Any project manager knows that budgets are essential. Money is the resource that is used to acquire all others. Budgets are imperative to avoid shortages and other pitfalls. Check out our guide to project budgeting to ensure you stay on target.
Office areas, equipment storage, and other areas are space resources. These should be mapped out for phases of the project and usually need to be allocated well in advance.
Outside vendors are a resource for many projects. If a company does not already have staff to provide a service, going to a third party for that service may be necessary.
The amount of time you have to complete a project will determine how your project will be completed. Understanding that time may be limited when problems arise is key to being agile and keeping the project on schedule. You can also use the resource leveling strategy to build out an efficient schedule.
These seven types of resources are the backbone to completing any project. Proper resource utilization of each of these types is essential to a project’s success.
Project Resources Examples
In project management, resources come in all shapes and sizes.
Examples of materials could include raw materials for a manufacturing process or building supplies like bricks for construction projects. Equipment examples could range from tools to vehicles used during the course of a project.
Personnel types can include employees of the business or external contractors hired for certain tasks or functions. Vendors are outside entities that provide goods or services utilized in the project; these might include an IT professional or graphic designer when those skills are needed but not present within the company itself (read about vendor management here).
Space refers to physical locations rented out or used at a team’s discretion; these may include office premises shared with a previous tenant or any site specific to the requirements of a given job.
Finally, services might entail paperwork processing and legal assistance sometimes necessary for major jobs where liability is involved. Each resource type has its own distinct purpose in keeping operations running smoothly and efficiently during the course of a project’s duration.
What Is Resource Management?
Project resource management is a critical element of successful project management. At its core, resource management is simply the process of acquiring, utilizing, and tracking the resources needed to complete any given project from beginning to end. Resource management tracks the life cycle of consumables in real-time.
Tracking resources can be done through simple spreadsheets or with project management software or project management tools depending on the complexity of the project.
Knowing resource availability in real-time is essential for successful resource management. Tools like Gantt charts, work breakdown structures, and other timeline visualizations can help you keep track of overall availability and relative project progress against milestones and objectives.
Having a resource management plan and sticking to it will keep RMs aware of resource availability. They can then use resource forecasting to keep current and future projects well-supplied with the tools they need for success.
Understanding each type of resource is essential to balance all of the components necessary for a successful outcome.
Resources can be tracked using resource management software or resource management tools to keep team members and managers aware of company assets. Software often also includes features for tracking task dependencies and metrics like utilization.
Smart resource allocation helps ensure that project requirements are met on time and on budget while also making sure the right resources are available whenever they may be needed and not working on different projects. Learn more about how to master resource allocation here.
Why Are Resources Important In Project Management?
Successful project management requires detailed planning, and one of the most important parts of that process is managing resources. Without having access to a significant collection of resources, it can be difficult for a project manager to complete their objectives within the project schedule.
Different types of resources are necessary depending on the type of project in question—you might need one or all of human capital, money, materials, technology, information, time, and space. Each has its respective role to play in ensuring a successful outcome.
Resources become even more important when you consider that without them there can be delays, shortages, or even worse, failed projects due to inadequate preparation or lack of strategy.
Excellent resource management sets projects up for success by allowing project teams to be properly equipped for tackling challenges as they arise throughout the process.
Read more about why resource management is important in project management here.
What Is Your Resource Plan?
Now that you know the different types of resources and why they are important, how will you incorporate them into planning your next project?
Understanding and managing resources in project management is crucial for success. Resources come in many forms—human resources, physical resources, technological resources, financial resources, and intangible or intellectual property.
Each type has its own characteristics and assessing the costs associated with each can help ensure effective resource management.
Ultimately, efficient and effective resource management helps ensure projects are completed on time and keep stakeholders happy.
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