Resource Allocation: Exploring 7 Types of Resources in Software Project Management
A resource is defined as any person or item that is required for the execution of a project. There are generally seven types of resources in project management. In this article, we define and discuss these different resource categories and provide relevant examples.
Seven Category Types of Resources in Project Management:
A project may benefit from, and often require, hiring third-parties for certain tasks. Making the right choice requires careful consideration from the project manager. Forbes explains:
One of the best ways to decide whether or not to outsource a task is to perform a cost/time calculation. You may have tasks that you could conceivably do in-house with the right amount of time and money – for example, perhaps you eventually plan to hire in-house developers to increase your software design flexibility. But in the meantime, you still need to update your website and your back-end systems. In the short-term, you can outsource this work to a contractor, with the long-term goal of recruiting in-house developers.
This outsourcing falls under the services type of resource in project management.
Along with the cost/time consideration, the in-house team may lack the expertise and practical capacity for certain tasks. For example, a construction company may hire a cartage company for disposing debris. Or a florist will outsource deliveries to a reputable courier firm. In software project management, data storage and backups can be contracted to a cloud services provider such as Amazon Web Services or the Google Cloud Platform. Human-computer interaction experts can be procured to conduct user testing and heuristic evaluations. Hiring an external IT company for help desk support is another example of a services resource type in project management.
The labor resource concerns the staff involved in a project.
Every staff member will not necessarily be engaged for the entire duration of a project. Whilst the project manager will be engaged from start to finish, the involvement of others can vary. Staff availability is also a factor. An individual might be involved in another project at the organization or an earlier activity may have taken longer than planned.
As a resource, equipment covers a range items of varying uses. There are computers, monitors, servers, keyboards, telephones, interactive whiteboards and a number of other mundane computing and office items. Desks, chairs, filing cabinets, office furniture and vehicles are also in the equipment resource category.
Equipment is generally purchased once and used over multiple projects. However, as a company expands, the need for more staff and space necessitates more monetary allocation to this resource. Equipment also has an effective life-span. Is the current hardware too old for efficiently completing this project? Is it worthwhile to invest in purchasing new servers to improve render times?
Materials are a consumed resource. They are used up in the completion of a project and may also form part of deliverables.
Office stationery is common example of this type of resource in project management. Nails, cement and screws are materials in the construction industry; Fuel is a primary material for courier and transport companies.
Concerning the material resource type in software project development, Software Project Management notes that:
[Material resources] are of little consequence in most software projects but can be important for some – software that is to be widely distributed might, for example, require supplies of disks to be specially obtained.
Money is a secondary resource type in project management. It is used to purchase, acquire, and maintain all other resources in a project.
Space should be already available for projects that do not require hiring new staff. More space may be required when adding new staff (permanent or temporary) to the team.
Space requirements may also vary during different stages of the project. For example, developers for Quality Assurance may only needed at a later stage of development. Similarly, user testing and user interviews (which may require special facilities) are not done continuously. Management should plan and adjust for space as required for each stage of the project.
Hiring remote and/or semi-remote staff is also an option to save costs on the space resource. Automattic, the web development company behind WordPress, employs more than 700 remote staff.
Software Project Management explains the time type of resource in project management as follows:
Time is the resource that is being offset against the other primary resources – project timescales can be reduced by increasing other resources and will almost certainly be extended if they are unexpectedly reduced.