What is a ‘Resource’ in Project Management?

what is a resource

One of the quotes that introduces this topic like no other is by Tony Robbins,

tony robbins on resource

“It’s not the lack of resources, it’s your lack of resourcefulness that stops you.”

Resource Management or Human Resource Management?

In the World before PMBOK 6, the Resource Management knowledge area was known as Human Resource Management. With PMBOK 6, probably it was realized that there are many other resources that needs to be managed in addition to Human Resources for successfully managing a project. Thus the name change.

With your Network Diagram created in the Sequence Activities process, you now know all the tasks that need to be carried out and in what order (or sequence). But is that enough? Don’t you need to know who is going to do what? Also, what are the things required to get the job done?

Welcome to the topic known as Resources!

So what is a resource?

In project management, resources are important assets required to carry out the project tasks. Resources can be people – both a person or a team, equipment, tools, facilities or capital. Basically, you depend on resources to get the work done. It should be obvious that most projects require different type of resources to be successfully complete.

For example, in an IT project the resources could be – project team, IT infrastructure or the equipment, software, project management methodology etc.

What if you don’t have a resource?

Are you able to think further and realize that lack of even a single resource can harm the progress of the project? Resource planning is thus the key here. For example, while working on gathering requirements, as a Project Manager, you need to ensure that the resources required for coding shall be available when required.

Lacking a resource has the potential to cause cost and schedule overrun.

3 critical resources for every project

These 3 are critical because most projects require all three of them. Careful planning and allocation is thus extremely important.

  1. People – Human resources will always be required to get the work done. Even if it’s just you. If its not just you then you need to plan their availability for the allocated tasks. Basically, you need to know who all are needed at what times and account for this while creating the project schedule
  2. Capital – All projects need money. Generally, as a Project Manager, you will be working on an assigned budget. You definitely need to keep track of how much money you need and have spent to keep the project on track. Note that the budget funds the work and when it runs out the work has to stop
  3. Material – You can also call them tangible resources. However, software is an exception to this. But here are some more examples,
    • Facility
    • Equipment, machinery or software
    • Hardware like IT infrastructure
    • Software licenses

A project will never have unlimited resources and thus it is very important for the Project Manager to be resourceful. Can you name a project and list its resources?

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