Resource Management

PMKI Index
the PMKI
Location:  PMKI > PM Knowledge Areas > Resource Management. 
 The PMKI Library
This subject focuses the processes needed to identify, acquire and manage the resources, including human resources, needed to accomplish the work of the project or program.

Topics included in Resource Management:

- Resource overview
- Resource planning, acquisition & control
- Human resources & teams
- Personal attributes
- Useful External Web-links & Resources.

Other related sections of the PMKI:

- Competencies & Interpersonal Skills (more in-depth papers)
- Leadership & Motivation (more in-depth papers)
- Cost management (cost estimates are based on planned resources)
- Schedule management (duration estimates are based on available resources)

Resource overview

Resources include all of the elements consumed in the accomplishment of the project.  Resources include the people, equipment and materials required to complete the work of the project:

  • People form the project team (including its management) and undertake the work of the project. The project team has to be acquired, developed, managed and dissipated in a way that optimizes their ability to accomplish the project’s work.
  • People need tools and equipment to assist in the work of the project. Equipment may be purchased, hired, or owned and used by a team member. Each item of equipment has to be acquired, used, maintained and disposed of (or returned) at the end of the project.
  • Undertaking project activities also consumes materials of various types:
    • Some material items are physically built into the deliverables supplied to the client. For example, the paper that is bought and used to print training manuals for supply to the client
    • Other items are simply consumed as a consequence of undertaking work. An example is the electricity used to power the project’s computers and lighting
    • Others items are used and the residual materials require disposal after use. For example, lubricating oil purchased for the maintenance of equipment is a hazardous material and after it has performed its task and is replaced with new oil during equipment maintenance, the used oil requires special handling and disposal.

Resource management involves the acquisition of the right resources, at the right time, with the necessary skills, capabilities, or characteristics needed to efficiently accomplish the work of the project. This function is closely linked to project schedule management and procurement: 

  • The schedule defines when resources are needed and by implication the quantity required
  • Procurement is the process of acquiring required resources from outside of the performing organization (see more on procurement).

The process of acquiring and using resources drives the actual costs incurred by the project. A key consideration in resource management is optimizing the costs incurred by balancing performance and capability against the price to be paid (see more on cost estimating).

Whilst people are only one class of ‘resource’, they are key to the project outcome and are managed through these processes:



Resource planning, acquisition & control

Resource ManagementSignificant expertise is needed to be able to fully assess information on resource availability. Expertise is also needed to balance cost, resource allocation and duration. The number of resources assigned to an activity will influence its duration. Most activities have an ‘optimum crew size’ that is ideal for doing the work leading to the duration and costs outcomes being optimized. Increasing or reducing the resource levels from the optimum will change the overall duration, but not in direct proportion as inefficiencies creep in.

Monitoring and controlling processes focus on identifying and communicating the current situation, measuring variations from the plan and recommending ways to bring performance into line with the plan. The key elements within this overall function include:

  • Monitoring resource usage
  • Identifying and dealing with resource shortages and surpluses in a timely manner
  • Ensuring resources are acquired, used and released according to the plan and the actual needs of the project
  • Informing appropriate stakeholders if any issues arise involving resources
  • Influencing factors that can cause resource utilization change, and
  • Managing any actual changes that occur.



Human resources & teams

Resource ManagementNothing happens on a project without the active involvement of people. The ‘human’ aspect of resource management applies to the people engaged to work on the project, either as project staff, or on secondment from other parts of the organization, or as contractors acquired through the procurement processes (see more on HR below).

A key focus of this topic is the development and management of the project team. During planning expertise and know-how is required for all stages of the project to ensure the plan properly describes all of the work. Once the plan is agreed, the composition of the overall team (and their skill sets) should align with and evolve to meet the requirements of the plan. All of the people seconded to, or joining the project team and their managers are project stakeholders.

Art: Dealing with difficult people. Effective ways to manage a dysfunctional relationship with a difficult person.

For more on managing people see Managing People and Teams.


WP: Managing Meetings. To make meetings effective, careful thought has to be given to the choice agenda, attendees and the specific purpose of each meeting.

Blg: Meeting Management - strategy and tactics. If your job involves arranging meetings then you need to get both your strategy and your tactics right to create a short, effective, useful and enjoyable experience for everyone!

Art: Wiser Group Decision Making. If ‘two heads are better than one’ why do so many committees make bad decisions? this article suggests some practical solutions.

WP: Facilitation. Facilitation is the effective deployment of the processes and tasks needed to run a productive and impartial meeting.

Blg: Are you a workshop leader or facilitator? Four different approaches to facilitating or leading a workshop depending on its purpose.


Effective team development is vital to enable the project to meet its objectives. This includes enhancing the ability of each stakeholder to contribute to the team, and enhancing the ability of the team to function effectively. Team development is enhanced by:

  • Co-location (being in the same place at the same time) - virtual teams needs more work to become effective
  • A common and clearly defined objective for the whole team
  • Time spent doing things together. The project manager is responsible for maximizing team performance through leading, mentoring, training, and motivating team members, and encouraging the team to move through its development cycle to become a ‘performing team’.
For more on advanced team management skills see: Competencies & Interpersonal Skills (teams)

Blg: Developing your team. You are responsible for building the team you lead! One of the key stakeholder management roles fulfilled by effective team leaders and project managers is helping their team members grow and improve.

Art: Team Harmony. The McKinsey 7-S framework defines seven internal aspects of an organization or team that need to be aligned if it is to be successful.

Art: Rewarding you team. The SCARF model of thinking about what happens in the brain during social situations, and can provide a useful insight to the way motivation works

WP: The Art of Delegation. Delegation is when you assign responsibility to another person to carry out a specific task, and is a key management and team building skill.

WP: Effective Explanation. Effective delegation requires effective explanation of the work being delegated the art of explanation is outlined in this White Paper.

WP: The Value of Trust. Trust is a key element in the effective management of project teams and contracts. High levels of trust speeds up decisions and lowers costs.

Blg: Credit, Trust and Emotions. There is no credit without trust because there is always asymmetrical information in every transaction. But how much trust someone is willing to invest is driven by emotions as much s by logic.

Art: Eliminating the fear factor. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company. If people are people are fearful of being ‘blamed’, the last thing they will do is pass on accurate information about an issue or a problem.

Art: Fairs Fair - Process & Procedural Fairness. Process fairness is quite distinct from outcome fairness. When you have to deliver bad news to a person, the processes you use are at least as important as the decision you have made.

Art: The power of Happiness. The role of happiness and fun in developing a motivated team, but which comes first?

Art: Is a happy team a motivated team? What is happiness, and the importance of happiness to team performance - unhappiness demotivates, but the role of happiness is far from clear.It would appear that leadership and motivation are interconnected and in combination can create a happy, healthy and productive workplace.

WP: Conflict Management. The ability to deal with conflict effectively is directly related to overall management success and is a key aspect of relationship management.

Art: Why are they (you) fighting? Emotions kick in quicker and are far more powerful than rational thought. Fight or flight is one of the most basic of survival strategies and has to be managed to reduce conflict.

HR Management

Organizations are defined as social units of people that are structured and managed to meet a need, or to pursue collective goals. Organizational theory is a branch of management science focused on understanding how organizations function and the factors to be considered in developing and managing and effective organization at the corporate level, at the project level and at the individual team level. Some of the key concepts include:

  • Span of Control: The number of subordinates that a manager or supervisor can directly control. This number varies with the type of work: complex, variable work reduces the span to six or less, whereas routine, fixed work increases it to twenty or more. Too many direct reports creates ineffective supervision.
  • Unity of command means that each person operates under a single manager with the requisite authority to direct that person’s work. If a person is reporting to two or more managers communication and motivational issues arise.

The function of managing an organization has traditionally involved the five functions of management and leadership: planning, organizing, staffing, coordinating and controlling. More modern thinking including Contingency Theory views organization design as a constrained optimization problem, meaning that an organization must try to maximize performance by minimizing the effects of varying environmental and internal constraints - there is no best way to organize a corporation or a project team (see more on general management).


Personal attributes

Personal attributes include, competency, qualifications, and personality types.

Personality types

Personality can be defined as an organized pattern of behavioural characteristics that are likely to be repeated in similar circumstances. Therefore understanding both your own personality type and the personality types of the people involved in the project team and stakeholder community is critical to developing effective communication and relationships. Diversity of personality type is important; if everyone is the same there is a very narrow band of input to decisions, limiting options. Additionally, people can use different personalities to help develop ideas, etc (see: Six Thinking Hats). However, it is important to ensure most of the team, most of the time, operate in in positive ways and respect the diversity of others. One of the oldest established models for personality typing is the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (1942) which describes personalities in terms of how energy is received and used (Introvert or Extrovert), how information is gathered and taken in (Sensing or Intuitive), how decisions are made (Thinkers or Feelers) and how lives are organized (Perceivers or Judgers) - see link to MB below.

Art: Six Thinking Hats. A thinking tool for group discussion and to assist individual thinking.

Useful personality traits to be encouraged include persuasiveness, predictability and participation. EQ Emotional Intelligence and SQ Social Intelligence are key attributes needed by successful managers.

WP: Social and Emotional Intelligence. Describes these measures and differentiates emotions from feelings. 

WP: Effective personal time management. Pragmatic that that can help achieve the maximum output from your valuable working time.

Art: Perspectives on time! People see time differently. For some, time flows from the future into the present and on to the past at a steady rate; our plans for tomorrow become the actions of today and then the memories of times past. Others see time as a river carrying them forward to an uncertain future. Understanding these perspectives helps deal with different attitudes to punctuality.


Project Manager Skills 

Topics focused around the personal role of a project manager, include leadership, ethics and general management skills are outlined here, with links through to the main pages focused on these topics.


WP: Ethics and Leadership. A strong ethical framework is vital for personal success. 

Visit our personal ethics page.

Leadership and motivation

WP: Leadership. Leadership is a strategic competence, providing vision and purpose, inspiring people to commit themselves to a course of action.

WP: Motivation. The ability to motivate team members and the wider stakeholder community is a skill required by all project managers.

Visit our leadership and motivation page.

Management skills

Communication - see our communication page.

WP: Decision Making. Making decisions is a central part of any management role - good managers make timely decisions, lucky ones get them right.

WP: Problem Solving. The ability to lead your team in the process of solving problems, generating alternatives, and finding better means, and cost efficiencies, is at the heart of effective project management

Blg: HPWP Lessons from Manufacturing (High Performance Work Practices). Applying HPWP in a project team environment to create success.

WP: Conflict Management. The ability to deal with conflict effectively is directly related to overall management success and is a key aspect of relationship management.

Art: Why are they (you) fighting? Emotions kick in quicker and are far more powerful than rational thought. Fight or flight is one of the most basic of survival strategies and has to be managed to reduce conflict.

WP: Negotiating and Mediating. Negotiating is a process designed to achieve a mutually acceptable outcome. Great negotiated outcomes are when both parties feel they have ‘won’; acceptable outcomes are when the parties can ‘live with’ the results.

WP: Win-Win Negotiating. A win-win approach to negotiation should be based on a risk/reward standpoint - this is not a soft option!

Visit our Competencies & Interpersonal Skills page

Project Manager Competency & Qualifications 

Resource ManagementWP: Competency. The important aspects of competency from the perspective of a project manager. Knowledge alone is not enough! To be effective in any sphere of life you need to be capable of applying knowledge effectively to achieve the desired outcome; this is competency.

Competency FrameworkPMI's Project Manager Competency Development Framework
is available free of charge to PMI members,

Blg: Learning from your Mistakes. Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.

Visit our Competencies & Interpersonal Skills page

Visit our training and qualifications page.


Useful External Web-links & Resources

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator


Communication TrainingTeam leadership for Project Managers. This one day workshop focuses on the needs of first-time team managers and will consist some theory, and a little practice, in aspects of team leadership (view course details).


A course in a book

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Risk management template

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Communication management template

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Communication management template