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Back To Basics – Project Management Guide: Project Resource Planning

Back2Basics Project Management Guide - Project Planning

Back To Basics – Project Management Guide: Project Resource Planning

In previous posts, we looked at project planning in terms of scheduling of activities, aligning those with project scope, cost, time and quality constraints. In this post, we are going to look at another vital aspect of project planning – i.e. resource planning.

You can jump to Project Planning | Project Scope | Delivery Schedule Planning | Resource Planning | Cost Planning | Quality Planning | Risk Planning | Communication Planning parts of this series.

Project Resources Planning

Project Planning - Project Resource Planning

It is the people who make the project work hence it is critical to plan for project team. But project resource is not just about the people to be involved in the project, rather materials, equipment required for successful completion of the project. Having mentioned this, generally resource planning tends to revolve about people/staffing management.

Human Resource Plan

This plan tries to answer following questions but rather precise details:

  1. What kinds of people are required to complete the project – necessary qty, competencies?
  2. What should they do – roles & responsibilities?
  3. Whom will they report to?

Thus human resource plan identifies and document the staffing requirements – skillset, roles, responsibilities and also establish the reporting structure of the project resources. It also provides the staffing plan which specifies timeline of acquisition & release of staff.

The staffing plan in last decade has become quite important for services based companies where these companies struggle with the pool of resource in terms of their availability, utilization; especially of the scarce resource having specialized skill-set or knowledge.

To arrive at human resource plan, project planner need to refer organization structure & figure out necessary changes and compliances required for project requirement. Companies may have following organization structure:

  1. Hierarchical Organization
  2. Matrix Based Organization
  3. Flat organization

What can we expect from human resource plan?





A Roles & responsibilitiesThis section of the plan broadly describes how resources should be & how they are expected to perform in order to deliver the project outcome.


For set of activities & work area, Roles are identified to make resource accountable e.g. business analyst to assess & process business requirements


This section documents clearly describes the work a project team member is expected to carry out to perform project activities


If project team does not have necessary competencies, project outcome remains uncertain. To assess competency requirement – this section describes the skill set, experience & capacity requirement concerned about the completion of project activities. Based on resource competency requirements; company can undertake hiring or training activities.


Authority is what marks the difference between steering committee and working committee. This section of the document, describes who has what kind of authority to perform/approve/reject, etc. e.g authority to approve resource movement, the right/authority to approve project schedule, quality gate checklist, etc. Widely known secrete – Team members operate best when their individual levels of authority match their individual responsibilities
B Organogram for projectThis can be formal or informal chart to indicate team members involved in the project with reporting/working relationship. It may help project sponsors to take into account organization designs already in place.
C Staffing management planThis is an important section which if implemented can have cost implication to the organization. This section describes staffing & training requirement, resource calendars, release plan, rewards & recognition, etc.

Resource acquisition

This section tries to answer following questions:

  1. Do we have resources of specified competencies & experience?
  2. Should we move internal resource to given project or hire new ones?
  3. If new resource is to be hired, should he be on the co. roll or contract?
  4. Will team work in a co-location or discrete places across geographies?
  5. What is the cost-benefit analysis for decisions made for above aspects?
  6. How staffing activities will be synchronized with HR department?

Resource calendars

This section talks about following points

  • The duration of each kind of team members required for project
  • Timeline for hiring (internal/external) – when should these be started
  • Depicting resource requirement in calendar of the project team during the entire lifecycle of the project

Staff Training & release plan

This plan provides details of the training to be provided for project team so as to make them competent to perform project activities. These could be in house training, external trainings, and certifications as necessary for sponsors’ compliance requirements.The project resources need to be released based on project activities & progress made. This section describes the approach to be taken in releasing resources underlining the cost, quality & timeline implications.

Incentive Program

This section to document clear objectives & unambiguous conditions for nominations & reward process underlining the cost-benefit analysis.

Table 1 : Project Human Resource Plan

For other kind of resources such as material, equipments, etc one need to plan in similar manner i.e. grade of equipment, capabilities available, duration & schedule of availability, acquisition plan, etc. Though this is also one of the important factor in project planning, we have observed in service industry human resource planning plays a vital role within resource planning.

What do you think of this post? Let me know your feedback & comments.

Back2Basics Project Management Guide - Project Planning

You can jump to Project Planning | Project Scope | Delivery Schedule Planning | Resource Planning | Cost Planning | Quality Planning | Risk Planning | Communication Planning parts of this series.

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I am a co-founder of Zilicus Solution and I write about project management, collaboration, productivity, project management software, cloud computing, requirement management and business empowerment.