Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Planning Resources Using a Resource Pool Description

Before you begin working on a project, you need know if you have the resources to support it. This is where a resource pool description comes in. A resource pool description is a report that gives details about the people, materials, and equipment necessary to complete the project work.

To keep track of the human component of your project, you should compile a list of potential human resources. This list should include:
  • the person's name
  • whether she is an internal or external resource
  • her resource type
  • her skills
  • the company or division she works for
  • her supervisor
  • her pay rate
  • the anticipated project start and end dates
  • her availability
  • any vacation she may be eligible or already scheduled to take
  • additional comments
Your human resource requirements may change as the project progresses and so may not have all the spreadsheet information at project inception, but you should strive to fill in as much information as possible before you begin assigning resources.

Equipment and materials
The information you need for your equipment and materials spreadsheet varies only slightly from your human resource spreadsheet. You would need to know:
  • the resource name
  • whether the resource is internal or external
  • the supplier (source of the resource)
  • the rate or cost per unit
  • the resource location
  • the resource availability
  • a contact name
  • the resource type
  • specifications
  • comments
Your resource pool description is not static. The different phases of a project may require different resources. That's why your list of possible resources may change as your project progresses.
You may need a large number of people working on your project to start with. As the project progresses, you may need fewer people, but with highly specialized skills. Or the opposite could happen. This means that you will constantly have to adjust your resource pool description.

Similarly, your project could require completely different equipment or materials, depending on which phase of the project you are working on. Your resource pool description should reflect this.

In addition to keeping track of what resources are "available," you should also keep track of the resources once you use them. This information is needed for accounting purposes and can also be used to estimate future resource requirements for future projects.

Your project plan outlines the type of work your project requires. Your resource pool description allows you to match the right resource to a specific task. As such, a resource pool description is an invaluable tool for the project you are planning now and for those you will plan in the future.

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