Project Management Basics: Resource Management

Project Management Basics: Resource Management

As we have seen in network scheduling, the basic inputs to critical-path analysis are the individual project activities, their durations, and their dependency relationships. Accordingly, the forward-path and backward-path calculations determine the start and finish times of the activities. The CPM algorithm, therefore, is duration-driven. 

Activities’ durations here are a function of the resources that are required (rather than available) to complete each activity. The CPM formulation, therefore, assumes that all the resources needed for the schedule are available. This assumption, however, is not always true for construction projects. Under resource constraints, the schedule becomes impractical, cost and time are not accurate, and resources may not be available when needed. In order to deal with such issue, a proper management of available resources is required to adjust the schedule accordingly.

When a project plan is first devised it is likely that the plan will identify peaks of resource requirements. However, given the finite nature of resource availability, it may be impractical to meet such peak resource needs. Ideally, there should be an even demand for resources over the entire project duration, with a smooth increase at the beginning of a project and a smooth decrease at the end. Given the limited nature of resources, consideration should be given to the project resource requirements; the project plan should be refined when necessary so that it is practical.

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