Thursday, February 28, 2008

Detailing Supporting Data and Resource Requirements

Have you ever had so much to do that you needed a little extra help? Or have you ever overlooked something that was very important?

Supporting detail and resource requirement updates are two essential outputs from project schedule development that can help you effectively manage your time.

Supporting detail includes all identified assumptions and constraints. Included as part of a project schedule's supporting detail are:
  • times when resources are required
  • best- and worst-case scenarios
  • schedule reserves
  • schedule risk assessments
The amount of additional detail depends on the project. If you were to look at the supporting detail for a large construction project, you might see items such as a resource histogram (a graph that shows the amount of project resources), cash flow projections, and an order and delivery schedule.
Whereas, if you looked at the supporting detail for a small electronics project, you might only see a resource histogram.

Have you ever heard the saying "There are no guarantees in life"? Well, the same is true for the life of a project. For this reason, updating the project's resource requirements is a very important component of the project schedule development process.

Throughout the course of your project, events may arise that require the project's resources to be adjusted or activity lists to be updated. Adjustments of this nature will likely have a significant effect on preliminary estimates of resource requirements. Therefore, in order to maintain a degree of accuracy, the resource requirements will need to be monitored and updated to reflect the changing demands of the project.

Vinyl-Win is developing its project schedule for the production of a packaging machine. The project team has been notified by senior management that its client would like two machines instead of one, produced in the same time frame. This change requires the project team to update the resource requirements for the project.

The original schedule includes the resources to develop one machine. The amount of resources is not enough to produce two machines in the same time frame, so the resource allocation will have to be changed. Then the schedule needs to be updated to include the resources needed to produce two machines.

Since change is constant, it is virtually impossible to complete a project without having to make adjustments to the plan. However, understanding the importance of detailing all the project's supporting information will eliminate the need to make changes to your project. This will also reduce the need to update your requirements.

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