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Resource planning within limited time frame and budget

Hi, This was a question asked during an interview process and it would really be helpful if you could let me know how to go about answering such questions.

how do you determine a team size for a $8m project with a delivery span of 9 months?what are all the various options you bring in to the table if your project is running short of resource.How do you choose a project methodology for a $8mn size project and need to complete in 9 months?
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Vinusha -

There's not enough information to provide any definitive answers. You have provided a cost & schedule ceiling but not indicated what the scope of the project is or how that budget is allocated.

In general, if you have insufficient people to complete work within a fixed timeline and cost constraints and if automation can't be leveraged to substitute for human beings, cutting scope might be your only option.


Since it's an interview question, you're not expected to write a dissertation. I would break that question down into multiple questions and it helps if you can take notes during the interview.

The team size can actually depend on a lot of things like specialty skills required and functional vs. project based org structure, but again since you're not providing a definitive work on how to plan staffing, keep your answer simple, easy to follow, and demonstrate your knowledge of the subject.

You have a cost so that assumes the work is understood. First separate out labor vs. non-labor costs, and then develop a resource profile based on when the work needs to be done within the time-frame. (Level loaded, bell curve, larger effort early or late, etc.) The ideal team size could be the planned level of effort required at any time, although you could have a team running 80% efficiency to account for the peak effort and contingencies, or use overtime account for surge capacity. If you know the planned cost curve, the burdened labor rate tells you how much each person costs for an hour of work, so you can back into the number of people required.

If the project is running short of resources, you could add resources (crashing), reduce scope, extend the time-frame (opposite of fast-tracking), or find a way to be more efficient.

Methodology is the justification for a selected method, and not the selected method itself. Different problems are better suited to different methods so you would want to define the attributes of the project to select the appropriate methods. Is it a new project or a change to existing work? Can it be handled in an iterative approach? You would also want to understand what skills and expertise you have in house. The justification for the solution (methodology) would then be how to select the best method, base on what skills you have vs. what skills are required using different methods, and how those methods would fit with the project type.

Besides the great comments above I will say what I will answer. Cost and Time are constraints. From product/service/resource the project must created I will define all the other taking into account the constraints. Short of resouces? Is not a fact until I calculated the resources. Project methodology? I will decide it from the input rececived about the environmental conditions as the input from business analyst.

Thank you all very much for the replies.

good discussion....two things popped into my mind....1. there are some who have called calendar driven projects death marches (I think Grady Booch was one) and 2. consider The Mythical Man Month

Also.....I think if you used 'agile' anywhere in ur response you would not go wrong

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