Resource Management

Location:  PMKI > PM Knowledge Areas > Resource Management. 
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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 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. The performing organization may own the equipment or may decide to purchase or hired it, or the equipment may be 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 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. Human resources require leading and motivating (see more on leadership and motivation), by effective managers (see more on the competencies and interpersonal skills needed by a manager).



Resource planning, acquisition & control

Resource ManagementSignificant expertise is needed to be able to fully assess the resource requirements of a project and balance this against the information on resource availability. Expertise is also needed to balance cost, resource allocation and the duration each resource will be required for.

Both the number of resources assigned to an activity and their capability will influence its cost, and 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 this optimum will change both the cost, and 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 resource considerations 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.

These functions are closely aligned with developing and maintaining the project schedule (but it is not necessary to include all of the resources in the schedule), see:
Resource and Cost Analysis
Authorizing & Maintaining the Schedule


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. Expertise and know-how is required to develop the project plan. 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
(see more on stakeholder engagement).

Specific capabilities required of the project leadership include:

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).

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.

Managing Teams

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’.

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.

For more on advanced team management skills see: Competencies & Interpersonal Skills (teams)

Managing Meetings

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.

For more on managing meetings see: Managing people and teams (Meetings).

Managing Conflict

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.

For more on managing conflict see: Conflict 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. 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.

Effective managers are socially aware and make effective use of their time.

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

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

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

See more on the personal attributes of an effective manager.

Project Manager Competency & Qualifications 

Resource ManagementWP: Competency. This white paper defines 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.

See more on project management competencies

Visit our training and qualifications page.

Leadership and motivation

Effective managers are effective leaders, they can lead and motivate the people working for them. 

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.


But to be an effective leader you have to be seen an ethical and reliable.

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

Visit our personal ethics page

Communication skills

Effective communication is the only way to influence the actions of othere - see our communication page.

Negotiation is a critical subset of communication:

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!

See more on negotiating and mediating.


Useful External Web-links & Resources

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator


Risk Management Plan

Project Charter Template

Work Performance Management

Easy EVM

Easy Stakeholder Management

EVM Work Sheet

Easy CPM

Stakeholder Work Sheet

Stakeholder on a Page

Communication Plan

Risk Register

Work Performance Management

Risk Management Plan

Project Charter Template