Project Management

What You Need To Know About Individuals For A Resource Pool

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A blog that looks at all aspects of project and program finances from budgets, estimating and accounting to getting a pay rise and managing contracts. Written by Elizabeth Harrin from GirlsGuideToPM.com.

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An enterprise resource pool is a great way to track and manage the people available to work on projects. It’s often set up by the Project Management Office and used to work out who is going to be a good fit for the skill needs of a new project.

Setting one up doesn’t have to be a big job or particularly complex, and many project management software tools will do this for you. Dan Lefsky, speaking at the PMI Global Congress EMEA in Barcelona, talked about the things you need to include in your resource pool data set in order to get the most use out of it.

Categories of Resource

He explained that a resource pool includes two types of resources:

  • Generic resources (these could actually be non-people resources like meeting rooms, although he didn’t cover those)
  • Named resources (these are your potential project team members).

The Data Needed For Your Resource Pool

He gave examples of the 8 things you need to consider and record for each named resource in order for you to be able to usefully draw on the data to select team members for upcoming projects. These are:

1. The Type of Resource

Is the person a Business Analyst, a Project Manager, a Quality Analyst, a User Experience expert, a Tech Writer, a Developer? Or something else? This is typically their job title and doesn’t necessarily reflect their particular skills.

2. Skillset

This is where you record their skills. You’ll probably want to set up a drop down list or categories that you can tick from as searching free text fields is going to be too difficult once you’ve got all your resources on there. Skills can include programming languages, Agile/waterfall/hybrid PM methodologies and so on.

3. Experience

It’s worth noting the experience of each individual. This could include the departments they have worked on, the category of project they do, the number of years they have been at the company, or years’ experience overall in their role, the key relationships they have within informal networks etc.

4. Cost

Cost of resource is a factor. Are they charged at time and materials? Or fixed price? What’s their internal day rate when working on projects? You might not have costs for some resources because it’s moving ‘wooden dollars’ around the organisation and that’s fine, but if you intend to charge clients for resource time then you’ll need to know what each person costs.

5. Location

Where is the resource based? For some projects it might not matter because they can work virtually, but for others it might have a significant impact. You could categorise these, Lefsky said, by onsite, offshore, onshore, nearshore or remote. Or you could list the city where they work (or do both).

6. Maximum Availability

This could change depending on their other commitments but it’s definitely a useful piece of information to have for some resources. For example, where an individual also works as a team manager, they will have certain management responsibilities that take up some time. These are things, speaking from experience, like approving timesheets, managing team’s expenses, team-level reporting, 1-to-1 meetings and performance reviews, dealing with sickness absence and so on.

You can’t allocate these people to your project 100% of the time. In fact, it’s not sensible to allocate anyone to your project 100% of the time. Note down what time they have outside their normal responsibilities that can be allocated to project work.

7. Manager

Knowing their line manager is helpful for resource requests.

8. Resource Breakdown Structure

Lefsky talked about positioning resources in the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS) as this lets you see their security permissions, areas of control and similar. If you have a formal RBS then this could be worth doing but if you don’t, you could just as easily create another categorisation for security clearance if that was important to you.

Gather all this information and start to populate your enterprise resource pool. When you get started you’ll probably just focus on the people who spend a lot of time working on projects, but it’s worth expanding this if you can, and if you are going to take an enterprise-wide view of portfolio management. It’s a big job, and you have to reconcile the fact of treating individuals as ‘resources’ who can be put into little boxes and categorised, instead of the unique individuals that they are, but in large organisations particularly it can be incredibly successful.

Note that you’re going to have to continually review this. While someone’s job title might not change that often they could gain new experience through projects or develop new skills after training. Don’t let your resource pool data get out of date or you won’t benefit from being able to develop individuals or from letting them use new skills.

Do you use a resource pool? Let us know in the comments if it has been successful for you or whether – as I suspect it might be in many companies – it was set up as a one-off exercise and then not developed further, thus falling out of use very quickly. I look forward to hearing your experiences!

Posted on: May 20, 2016 02:10 AM | Permalink

Comments (7)

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Thank you for sharing. I wonder what would be a recommended software to use. And if it is Microsoft Excel, whether a template is available.

Network:4579
Great post. Thanks for sharing.

Network:4579
Benyamin, you may consider these -

1. Pdware http://www.pdware.com/why-pdware/
2. Clarity http://www.ca-clarity.com/

Thing are way different in some highly secure project areas.

Awesome read thanks for sharing. Von

Very useful post. This is my first time I visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. Really its great article. Keep it up. 




Yes, your sayings are very true. Proper management can help us to achieve goals of business. 




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