Join Bonnie Biafore for an in-depth discussion in this video Assigning resources that are available, part of Project Management Foundations: Schedules.
Task duration, work and resource availability are intertwined. Which means that resource assignments are the final piece of the task scheduling puzzle. For many projects, the people assigned to your team aren't identified until planning is well under way. So you have to build your initial schedule based on some guesses, like how many resources are available and their level of experience. To handle this situation, start by assigning resources only by the roles or skills required.
For the sample project, some roles and skills include Training lead, Instruction designer and content developer. How you assign these generic resources, depends on how you estimate your tasks. If you estimate hours or days of work, assign the number of resources you expect to get, then you can calculate the task duration. If you estimate the task duration instead, assign the number of resources you'll need to finish in that duration. In this case, the number of resources is based on an average level of experience or skill.
Bear in mind that the assumptions you make in these estimates introduce risk. You might not get the number of resources you expect, they don't have the skills or experience you need. Or they're new to your team and need more time to get up to speed. With these assumptions, there's a risk that your scheduled duration will increase. The next step, is to replace those generic resources with specific team member names. Before you replace generic resources with specific people. You need three pieces of information.
First, ask the resource managers about peoples level of experience. Second, find out when they are available to your project. Third, find out how much of their time you're getting. For example, someone is assigned to work half-time on your project. Now you know how many people you're getting, their experience and availability. Create or adjust resource assignments to reflect reality. Here are some examples from the sample project.
Say you plan for four content developers, but only got two. In this case, replace the generic resources with the people you got. When you replace the four generic resources with your two team members, the rate content task duration doubles, from two weeks to four weeks. What if one of the content developers is less experienced than you planned for? In this situation, increase the work hours for the task, because it will take more for that person to get their work done.
For example, you might increase the assignment hours by 50% for a junior level person. And remember, those additional work hours, also increase the task duration. Finally, adjust assignments to match when and how much people are available. Suppose you planned for one editor and that's what you got. However, she's assigned to your project half-time, and she has a one-week vacation planned. In this case, assign four hours a day, each work day, for the edit-content task.
If her vacation occurs while she's editing content, break the task into two pieces. As you learn more about the resources assigned, you can adjust assignments and increase the accuracy of the schedule. Once you've assigned resources to tasks, you can see whether you need to fine-tune the schedule.
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- Identifying the work that needs to be done
- Adding milestones
- Delaying or overlapping tasks with lag and lead time
- Assigning resources
- Balancing workloads
- Adding buffers and baselines to the schedule
- Uncovering and correcting out schedule problems<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.