How to approach resource analysis within project delivery

What is resource analysis and why is it important?

Resource analysis is a strategic method that identifies the resources required to support and achieve the delivery of a project successfully.

Resource analysis involves understanding and considering how the given project resources are managed and used throughout the project delivery to achieve a successful outcome.

Some key involvements are:

  • Review the resource available to you at the given time period

  • Understand the key skills and strengths required.

  • Consider a management approach

  • Set budget

How should you approach resource analysis?

Success

Success is key to any project, so it’s important early on to understand what success looks like. This can be multiple things but as a project manager you need to know what those are. It could be the profit margin, deadlines or even wider business success.

Break the delivery down into phases

Resource analysis can be a tricky task to master especially if the project is fairly large and to a strict deadline. Something I found that helps me is breaking down the delivery into different phases.

For example:

  • Project Initiation

  • Product / Technical Specification

  • Development

  • Quality Assurance

  • Customer Testing

  • Sign Off

Once you have broken down the different phases of the project, you can systematically work through and identify resource required through the estimates provided.

Create success criteria for each stage

Breaking down the delivery into phases helps guide you to what resource is required and the skills needed. But, you must also make sure that each phase has success criteria.

A good way option for this is ensuring that each phase has provided estimates on how long it will take for each given project task to be completed.

This way, the success criteria is to achieve that deadline set in the estimate. 

3 recommendations for understanding the resource required

  1. Understand what success looks like for all stakeholders involved. Make sure you have the correct level of details and engagement before scheduling resource.

  2. Regularly measure the performance against success criteria set out for each individual phase. This will help you see if more resources are required and if you are on track with key deadlines.

  3. Always make sure that you learn from your mistakes in past projects. If a project has been delayed or required more resource during a key phase, analyse why that was and ensure to do a retrospective so that these mistakes can be mitigated going forward into new projects.

Examples of what could happen if you underestimate the resources needed

Delays

This is the most common result if you underestimate the resources needed on a project.

If you do not have the required amount of resource at each phase of the project it is likely that the deadlines set will not be achievable, meaning the project will be delayed and the stakeholder(s) unhappy. 

Commercial implications

Cost is often a top priority when working on a project. If resource analysis is not done correctly, this can cost money and significantly affect your budget.

For example, if deadlines are pushed back as work is still outstanding this will have commercial consequences as the resource is required for longer.

Disengaged stakeholders

Disengaged stakeholders will come as a result of the project being delayed or delivered to a poor standard, both often caused by underestimating the resource needed in the first place.

It is incredibly important to NOT underestimate the resource analysis. Making sure all stakeholders are engaged with positive updates is key to success and the key to positive updates is the perfect amount of resource needed. That is done through resource analysis.

Example of resource analysis I have used in a past project

As a Project Manager responsible for delivering digital solutions of all sizes, I am regularly tasked with onboarding new customers once the platform has been delivered.

When I come around to complete the resource analysis I breakdown the project into clear key phases, for example:

  • Technical set up for Single Sign-On

  • Product knowledge for training and presentations

  • Design/UX expertise for IA and navigation

  • Service Designer for live service

Once I know the key phases, I have a better understanding of the types of activities that will be required as part of each stage, I then map this across to the team or individual that has the expertise to complete this.

From here, it’s always a good idea to bring together everyone that will be involved in the project for an initiation meeting that sets timelines, dependencies, and accountability end to end.

Once all involved are agreed on their responsibilities for the project, and the deadlines assigned to each, we all sign an internal agreement that binds us to delivering the project as agreed, keeping us on track and within budget.

By doing so, everyone is accountable for their tasks, and I as the project manager have made it very clear what is expected of each person, and when it is expected if we are to deliver the project successfully.

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