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Detailed planning – Constraints - Resource

Limited personnel

For all projects there will only be a limited amount of personnel with the correct skill set to carry out the tasks or work packages. There will be other projects that will drain resource. Priorities may change causing a potential diversion of resource.

Can’t do two jobs at the same time at 100%

While it is very common for individuals to be responsible for more than one task an individual can only work on one task at one time. Hence, in practice many people will have to manage their time between multiple tasks.

Most people are not 100% available (80%)

People are not at their best 100% of the time. Personal pressures, illness and tiredness are just some reasons why most people will not be able to focus their effort all of the time.

Other obvious reasons will include holidays, sick leave or being on training courses.

In addition, if the working environment is poor, distractions and other aspects can lower efficiency. All materials and procedures will need to be readily to hand to make sure lost time is minimised.

Tasks are assigned using fixed durations

Some tasks, as we have mentioned previously, will be of fixed duration because they are independent of the level of resource attached to it. For example, waiting for concrete to dry, one person writing a report. Even in these circumstances management should look for ways to reduce the duration to a minimum.

Project management team

Assigning personnel resource to tasks should take into account the above. In practice a manager will be very aware of many of the above issues and will need to maintain flexibility to ensure tasks stay on track. Having personnel to cover particular skill areas is very important.

There are many advantages to assigning a person from the project management team to the tasks in the schedule as opposed to those who actually carry out the task.

  1. Accountability is clear and more easily managed at a project management team meeting.
  2. All those involved in actually doing the tasks could not be at the meeting.
  3. It is faster to associate resource on this basis.
  4. Resource flexibility is maintained as it is the responsibility of the project management team member to get the tasks completed. In practice, it doesn’t matter how the manager organises the resource provided the tasks are completed. However, the manager must still calculate the individual task resource required and the total resource utilised so that costs can be determined.
  5. It is still possible for the software to calculate project costs on this basis with a little bit of thought on costs per man hour for each department.
  6. It encourages the people charged with deriving their parts of the schedule not to go too far in terms of sub levels. It may be more convenient to roll up several tasks into a higher level task. The resource for this task can be allocated more easily this way. However, careful thought is needed as you wouldn’t want to get carried away with rolling up tasks too much.

In practice, it may not be project management team members who are assigned to tasks but managers at a lower level. However, it is the principle that the manager will be responsible for a list of activities and delegate resource accordingly.

Non - PRINCE2 information