Arranging project resources

How to Schedule Human Resources and Other Project Needs

Having a solid resource schedule process is vital for every project management office (PMO), in order to facilitate the smooth delivery of projects. Knowing how to schedule human resources and other project needs will ensure your project managers can keep their projects on track.

We’ll be covering the steps of creating a full project resource schedule in our next post, but first, we wanted to cover the range of resources that need to be considered. You need to make sure that your project managers consider and plan for everything they’ll need, so there are no surprises later.

We’re going to look at:

  • Scheduling human resources for projects
  • Understand equipment needs for a project
  • Having the right software capabilities
  • Organising the right space for a project

Plus, we will cover how to plan consumables for larger projects, so you can ensure that your PMO offers the proper support for the projects you oversee.

How to schedule human resources for a project

Human resources are the least predictable resource in a project and present a significant project risk. Having a robust human resource schedule will mitigate some of the risks and smooth out issues that many arise.

The first thing to do is to understand the skills that are available to projects. Every manager will need to plan this themselves, but your PMO can maintain a central database of FTE, freelancers, and contractors who can be called on and what their current availability is.

It’s important to ensure that no single worker gets more work or more responsibility than they can handle. This can lead to burnout and will be counterproductive in the long run. Your PMO can provide past data on productivity and the volume of unplanned absences.

Next, the project manager will need to define the roles and responsibilities within the project. Using a RACI matrix will make this process easier, and it’s a template that your PMO should offer to help with planning and so you have an easy way to monitor performance.

With this information at hand, the human resources will be ready to be entered into the overall resource schedule for the project.

Scheduling equipment for a project

The equipment used in a project tends to be much easier to plan and schedule than people; unless you have a photocopier or printer on the project, maybe.

It’s still important to have a plan for equipment which can be anything from:

  • Computers
  • Servers
  • Vehicles to deliver items
  • Machinery to produce goods
  • Tools to facilitate tasks

Make sure that the availability of hardware isn’t assumed. Your PMO should keep an inventory of all project kit and run a schedule to ensure that it’s not overbooked and is properly maintained.

Software scheduling for projects

Having the right software capacity can be a reasonably simple consideration in terms of project resources. However, it’s possible to have bottlenecks, and your PMO can have processes to ensure smooth procurement.

During the project planning phase, managers should identify what software tools will be needed. It’s important to check that the company has the right licensing for the software and has access to enough seats to match the need.

Cloud storage space is also becoming more important, and not just for software projects. There needs to be a plan to scale up and scale down cloud storage when needed.

Since there is a cost involved, having a procurement and accounting procedure to get software resources in place when they’re needed is vital for successful resource scheduling.

Scheduling the office space needed for a project

It should be relatively easy for your PMO to have a record of the office and storage space available. A booking system can be implemented so that project managers can reserve the space they need.

Having this process available across the business can also ensure assumptions about space availability aren’t made.

Consumable resource scheduling for projects

Every PMO will have a process in place already for ordering consumables and incidental items like office supplies and keeping the break room stocked. For larger projects, this process needs to be scalable.

Having lead-in times for suppliers and simple ordering processes available to projects through your PMO will help to keep ordering consumables easy and prevent project roadblocks.

The resources that need scheduling for projects

Your PMO needs to know how to schedule human resources and other projects needs so it can support this process in projects. There are lots of ways your PMO can help make resource scheduling easier, such as maintaining schedules for owned resources and having processes to bring in other resources when needed.