Managing Resources – People, Equipment, and Material

A successful Project Manager must effectively manage the resources assigned to the project. This includes the labor hours of the designers, the builders, the testers and the inspectors on the project team. It also include managing any labor subcontracts. However, managing project resources frequently involves more than people management. The project manager must also manage the equipment used for the project and the material needed by the people and equipment assigned to the project.

People – project employees, team management, vendor staff, subcontract labor;
Equipment – cranes, trucks, backhoes, other heavy equipment or Development, test, and staging servers, DVD burners or Recording studio, mixers, microphones and speakers;
Material – concrete, pipe, rebar, insulation or DVD blanks, computers, jewel cases, instruction manuals.

Managing the people resources means having the right people, with the right skills and the proper tools, in the right quantity at the right time. It also means ensuring that they know what needs to be done, when, and how. And it means motivating them to take ownership in the project too.

Managing direct employees normally means managing the senior person in each group of employees assigned to your project. Remember that these employees also have a line manager to whom they report and from whom the usually take technical direction. In a matrix management situation, like a project team, your job is to provide project direction to them.

Managing labor subcontracts usually means managing the team lead for the subcontracted workers, who in turn manages the workers. The equipment you have to manage as part of your project depends on the nature of the project. A project to construct a frozen food warehouse would need earth moving equipment, cranes, and cement trucks.

For a project to release a new version of a computer game, the equipment would include computers, test equipment, and duplication and packaging machinery. The project management key for equipment is much like for people resources. You have to make sure you have the right equipment in the right place at the right time and that it has the supplies it needs to operate properly.

Most projects involve the purchase of material. For a frozen food warehouse, this would be freezers, the building HVAC machinery and the material handling equipment. For a project to release a music DVD by a hot new artist, it would include the DVD blanks, artwork for the jewel case, and press releases to be sent to deejays. The project issue management with supplies is to make sure the right supplies arrive at the right time (we’ll talk about the right price later).

All your skill in managing resources won’t help, however, unless you can stick to the project schedule. Time management is critical in successful project management.

This is Part 2 of the “What is Project Management?” article.

  1. Project Management Scope
  2. Project Resources – People, Equipment, and Material
  3. Managing Time and Project Schedule
  4. Project budget: Managing Costs, Money, and Profits