Identification of types and quantities of resources

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Once the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) has been applied and the project activities have been identified, you are ready to identify the types (labour, equipment, material) and quantities of the resources needed to implement the project. 

In order to identify the resource requirements the following steps should be followed:

1.Review the project scope and activities/ tasks list in order to identify the project’s requirements for people, equipment and material resources.
2.Gather historical information from old project files, databases and from people who have worked on similar projects, regarding what types and numbers of resources were required for performing similar work on previous projects, as well as the duration of the relative tasks.
3.Consider how resource quantities, capabilities and quality affect the duration of the activities/ tasks. The duration of most tasks is influenced by the number of resources assigned to them. In most cases, particularly for production tasks, two resources can complete a task in half the time it would take for a single resource. Similarly, a resource working half time on a task will typically take about twice as much time as the same resource working full time. However, in other instances, for example for design tasks, adding resources does not guarantee that the duration will decrease. The duration of most tasks is also influenced by the capabilities and experience of the resources assigned to them. For example, a team member with five years experience can typically be expected to complete a task in less time than one with two years experience.

As you collect information about the project in hand and other similar projects, continue to refine the duration estimates for the project tasks (refer to The accuracy of the duration estimates is closely related to the accuracy of your resource requirements.

4.Identify the resource types and quantities needed. Once you have collected all the necessary information, identify the types of resources and the quantities needed for each. Generally the resources are distinguished in three main categories:
Labour (or Human Resources): It is not necessary at this stage of the project to be identified by name, but the professional qualifications and the type of skills required for carrying out an activity/ task should be identified. For example, there is no need to specify that Mr. X will be used to elaborate the detail design for the construction of a bridge, but you could say that one civil engineer with relative experience in bridge construction projects is required. Do not forget to identify the necessary resources required to perform the project management tasks, such as the Project Manager, Quality Manager, etc.

Usually the quantity of a labour resource is measured by using the term Full Time Equivalent (FTE). One FTE indicates one person that will work 8 hours per day for 5 days per week. Respectively 0,5 FTE indicates one person that will spent half of his full time in the project. Another frequent measure of labour usage is the man-months (mm) or the man-days (md) or the man-hours (mh) that the resource is going to be used. For example, if you determine that for the implementation of a specific task 3 mm of an architect are needed, it means that this person will spend 3 months x 20 (or 21 or 22) days = 60 md = 480 mh for the implementation of this task.

Equipment: You have to list the equipment that will be used for the performance of works (e.g. excavators, cranes), the delivery of services or supplies (e.g. classrooms for the conduction of training seminars,  lorries for carrying supplies and warehouses for storing supplies), as well as for carrying out supportive actions like project and procurement management (e.g. computers, software packages, photocopiers).

The quantity of equipment resources is defined either by the number of units (e.g. 3 computers, 1 projector, 2 classrooms). In case of external equipment resources and especially when these will be leased or rented, it is important to define their usage time (e.g. rent an excavator for three days, rent a special machine tool for some hours, book a classroom for one week, etc.).

Material: You have to list the material that will be used for the production of the deliverables. For example in case of a building construction project, materials like bricks, cement, steel, cables, paints will be used. Or in case of a training delivery project, materials like paper for printing the training material and blank CDs for distributing the training material to participants will be used. In addition, material that will be used for project management and procurement management activities should also be listed (e.g. paper for printing the tender documents, posters to be used for publicity actions of the project, etc.)

The quantity of material resources is defined using the appropriate measurement units for each material. For example, 50 m of cable, 5 tn of cement, 50 kg of plastic paint, 5.000 sheets of printing paper, 100 blank CD-Rs, etc.        

5.Ask for an experts judgment. Once you have identified the types and quantities of resources you should present the resource requirements to an individual expert or a group of experts in order to assess them and advise you for their suitability and appropriateness. Such expertise and specialised knowledge may be acquired either from other units within the agency (e.g. technical unit, HR unit) or/and by external consultants or/and by professional and technical associations or/and by industry groups.  
6.Examine the adequacy of resources. Regardless of whether the project will be implemented with own resources (in-house production) or it will be contracted out to an economic operator through a tendering process, you have to examine the sufficiency of the internal resources, because even in the second case (outsource production) you will need to involve internal resources for performing the project management tasks in order to monitor and control the contractor. The sufficiency of internal resources (i.e. those resources owned by the Implementing Agency) should be examined both in terms of quantity, as well as in terms of skills, experience and expertise with relation to project requirements. Taking into account the result of adequacy examination, as well as the organisational policies regarding staffing and the rental or purchase of supplies and equipment you should decide whether there is a need to acquire external resources. If for example there is a need to use a legal advisor in performing some activities and there is not such an expert in the Agency’s staff, you will need to hire an external advisor, or if for example there is a need of classrooms for conducting training seminars and the Agency doesn’t own any classroom or the classrooms it owns are used for another project that given period, it will have to rent them either from another agency or from a private entity.    



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