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What exactly 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. 

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 can be project specific, or they can be general and used across multiple projects. It’s important to accurately assess all of the resources necessary for the successful completion of a project plan and deliverables before work begins, so appropriate budgeting and allocations can be made for each aspect.

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.

There are a number of helpful resource scheduling software platforms available to help streamline the entire resource management process.

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:

1. Labor

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. 

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2. Equipment

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.

3. Materials

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.

4. Money

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.

5. Space

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.

6. Services

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.

7. Time

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 resource leveling to build out an efficient schedule. 

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.

Best Practices in Managing Resources

Project resource management is 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.

Here are several 3 best practices to follow when managing resources:

  • Knowing resource availability in real-time is essential. Tools like Gantt charts, work breakdown structures, and other 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 resource managers 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.

Why Are Resources Important In Project Management?

Resources are important because without them, it can be difficult for a project manager to complete their objectives within the project schedule and they'll face delays, shortages, or even worse, failed projects.

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.

Read more about why resource management is important in project management here. 

What's Next?

Start tracking your resources using resource management software or resource management tools.

By Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedpm.com. I've been in the industry for more than 20 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony. I'm a Certified Scrum Master, PRINCE2 Practitioner and productivity nut!