In Time Management knowledge area, the fourth process is Estimate Activity Resources Process. The Estimate Activity Resources Process belongs to the Planning Process. Do you know what is the objective of Estimate Activity Resources Process? If you are enrolled in a PMP certification training, you will get all the details about the Estimate Activity Resources Process. As being one of the PMP exam requirements, understanding Estimate Activity Resources Process is as important as understanding any other processes.
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In this article, we are going to explore what Estimate Activity Resources Process is and give an example of this process. If you like, you can also test your knowledge about this process with the help of a PMP exam simulator.
What is it?
Estimate activity resources process briefly helps to assign which resources in the project will do which project activities. Estimate activity resources process is the process of estimating the type and quantities of:
- Human resources,
- Supplies required to perform each activity.
In order to complete a project activity, you will need performer of the task, for instance, a software developer for a software project or civil engineer for a construction project. Materials that will be used to produce the project deliverable. For instance, cement, wood, steel etc. will be used during construction. Equipment will be used such as trucks, cranes to lift and place the materials. Estimate activity resources process provides the estimation of all these in a project. Once the activities are sequenced in sequence activities process, the type and quantity of needed resources are determined.
For instance, how many construction workers, how many civil engineers you will need for the construction project and the amount of the cement, steel, wood etc. that will be used during the project are determined during the Estimate activity resources process.
What is Involved?
There ara 13 steps involved this process. Let’s explain them one-by-one.
- Reviewing resource availability: Some of the needed project resources might not be present in your company. For instance, for a niche software development project requiring a specific set of skills, your company might not have any software developer meeting the requirements. In this case, alternatives such as outsourcing the required resource or hiring a new software developer must be planned.
- Reviewing WBS and activity list: Since activity resources will be estimated for the project activities, and these activities belong to the WBS and part of activity list, WBS and activity list must be reviewed during the Estimate Activity Resource Process. And necessary resource estimations will be done for each activity in the activity list respectively.
- Identifying potentially available resources: If it is possible to allocate who will do a specific project activity, these must be identified.
- Reviewing historical info about reuse of resources: If there had been a similar project in the organization, that would be very useful for you to check what kind of resources have been used. Because, most probably, you will use similar resources in your project as well.
- Reviewing organizational policies on resource usage: There might be policies and guidelines on how to request a resource, how to assign a task, how to monitor etc. For instance, many corporate companies use PPM tool of HP. This tool helps to monitor project phases, assign activities to project team members and time reporting. These kinds of organizational policies on resource usage must be followed during the estimate activity resources process.
- Expert judgment on what resources are needed and available: Based on the project activities, what kind of competence and experience must be looked in the project team member candidates can be obtained from subject matter experts. And the outputs of the experts will guide you on how to form project team respectively.
- Analysis of alternatives whether they are better to utilize resources: For instance, if you will need a graphic designer for your project and this team member will work only 2 days a week, it won’t be a good solution to dedicate this resource completely on the project. This can be outsourced to a vendor and required work might be acquired from them respectively. This will be less costly than hiring a new graphic designer or dedicating a resource 100% on the project.
- Make or buy decisions are taken: Let’s assume that you need a crane for your construction project and you will need this only for 2 months and this is not a tool that your company uses in other projects. If the cost of the crane is $500,000 and rental cost of the crane for 2 months is $100,000, it will be a good decision to rent the crane. These kinds of make or buy decisions are taken during estimate activity resources process.
- Breaking down the activity further if it is still complex to estimate: Although WBS is created and activity list is composed, some activities might be still large enough to estimate. In this case, a further breakdown of an activity can be done during the Estimate Activity Resources process.
- Quantify resource requirements by activity: If you are managing a software project, you know that you will need analysts, software architects, software engineers, testers etc. But do you know how many from each of these roles you will need? Estimate activity resources process will help to quantify resource requirements by activity.
- Create a hierarchical structure of resources: Actually, this is Resource Breakdown Structure and abbreviated as RBS. For instance, if you have 4 software engineers in the software project and 3 of them are reporting to one lead software engineer, this must be highlighted during.
- Develop a plan as to what type of resources will be used: As we expressed already, roles you need in the project team, their hierarchy, skills, and competence must be highlighted.
- Update project documents: As in many other processes, activities done in the estimate activity resources process require an update of project documents as well.
An Example for Estimate Activity Resources Process
Let’s go over a billing system project example and show you how estimate activity resources process can be for this sample project. There are 4 activities determined in invoicing screen project: analysis, design, development, and test. During Estimate Activity Resources process, these activities are assigned to project team members, their role, experience, and skills are mentioned as well.
As you see in the table above:
- The analysis of the invoice screen is assigned to David Sea and he is Analyst in the project team. He has over 10 years of experience.
- The design of the invoice screen is assigned to Emily Lee and he is a designer in the project team. He has more than 5 years of experience.
- Development of invoice screen is assigned to Jon Huyton and he is a software developer with more than 8 years of experience.
- Finally, test task is assigned to Ed Liu, a test engineer with over 7 years of experience.
Note that, this sample shows only human resources. Normally, if there would be any tool, equipment or material that will be used during an activity, these must be placed in the plan as well. For instance, if test engineer will use a test automation tool, this must be planned during estimate activity resources process as well.
Review by: Erik Spencer