Project Resource Management – Basics and Methods for Beginners

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The issue of project resource management is increasingly gaining importance – and becoming ever more complex. Why is this so? For one thing, it’s because generally the demand for suitable staff is greater than the supply currently available. Additionally, the list of required qualifications these people are expected to have is evolving ever more rapidly.

The complex challenges of resource management can only be truly mastered by having the right processes and a professional IT solution.

Having both of these – proper procedures and a suitable tool – will certainly facilitate your work going forward. Within your company, it will:

  • Enhance communication between the project managers and team leaders
  • Optimally utilize the available resources
  • Proactively identify any new roles and qualifications needed and find suitable candidates for these

Want to find out how to achieve these objectives? This article explains how. In the following sections, you’ll learn about:

Let’s now take a look at the issue of resource management as it relates to project management.

Definition: What Is Resource Management?

Resource management is a key element of project management. It ensures that a project has access to the necessary resources (staff, facilities etc.) at all times. It is very closely related to the development of schedules and cost plans.

Why Is Project Resource Management Important?

The goal of every company is to reach its objectives with as little effort as possible. “Resource planning in project management”, or simply “project resource management” (we’ll use these two terms synonymously in this article), helps companies achieve this goal.

Knowing what resources are required for current and future projects helps you plan more effectively. You can use the available resources more economically without overburdening them, and you can proactively procure any missing resources (think: skills) ahead of time.

What Are the Benefits of Resource Management?

Here are some of the key benefits of project resource management:

  • More reliable planning: It’s easier to avoid bottlenecks if you identify your resource needs early on. You can also calculate and plan the availability of people with the necessary skills. Doing so provides greater reliability at all levels.
  • Fewer overloads: Individuals and teams that are in high demand often suffer from an excessive workload, and having a clear overview of your resource utilization helps avoid this problem. This leads to greater job satisfaction and employee retention, as this article in German explains.
  • Well-documented: If your project fails due to missing resources, having good documentation can help you prove that your resource management made the best possible use of the available resources. It provides a valuable lesson for future projects.

Areas of Project Resource Management

Gartner divides project resource management into five distinct areas as shown in the following graphic.

Project Resource Management – resource management responsibilities by Gartner

Types and responsibilities in project resource management according to Gartner (Source: Gartner)

TPG The Project Group, on the other hand, identifies only three levels in project resource management:

  • Strategic
  • Tactical
  • Operational

Here we explore the differences.

Strategic Resource Management / Capacity Planning

  • Encompasses the long-term planning of staff qualifications and capacities
  • Ensures that current and future projects representing the company’s strategic focus can be accomplished
  • Identifies what resources, and how many of these resources, are needed for upcoming projects and general operations
  • Identifies what resources must be procured and what competencies are missing. Someone – generally a portfolio manager – also needs to obtain up-to-date information from the project managers on what qualifications (skills) are currently needed and ask the team managers about the availability of people with the necessary qualifications.
Three levels in project resource management

The three levels, and the roles involved, in company-wide project resource management

Tactical Resource Management / Coordination Project + Operations

  • Encompasses the medium-term establishment of project teams, which requires ongoing coordination between the project managers and team leaders on the availability of staff for project work and general operations.
  • Team leaders provide project managers with the requested resources having the necessary qualifications for their projects.

Banner-Resource-Planning-eBook-E

Operational Resource Management / Work Planning

  • Encompasses the project manager’s ongoing detailed planning of the allocated resources to the individual projects at the task level

These tasks, and their interdependencies with regard to roles, are depicted in the following graphic:

Level-interplay in resource planning & project management

The interplay between the levels in project resource management

Special Download: Resource Planning Software for the Roles Involved (PDF file)

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Further Articles with Detailed Information and Tips on Project Resource Management

Here are some additional brief descriptions of further articles on project resource management.

  1. Capacity Planning in Project Management
  2. Providing the Right Degree of Detail and Planning in Resource Management
  3. Resource Planning Processes
  4. The Keys to Successful Agile Resource Planning
  5. Skills Management – Benefits, Challenges, and Applications
  6. Resource Planning Software Requirements in a Project Environment
  7. Good Reasons for Having an Optimum Resource Planning Solution
  8. The SharePoint Solution for Resource Planning
  9. Resource Requests in Microsoft Project
  10. Customer Solutions for Resource Planning

Article 1: Capacity Planning in Project Management

This article explains the four key steps to introducing successful strategic capacity planning.

Resource Planning Capacity Planning in Project Management

>>> Here you can read the entire article Capacity Planning in Project Management

Article 2: Providing the Right Degree of Detail and Planning in Resource Management

In this article, you’ll learn about the role of specificity and completeness in resource planning for project management.

Resource Planning in Project Management_Specificity Resource Management

>>> Here you can read the entire article Specificity in Resource Planning

Article 3: Resource Planning Processes

This article deals with finding the best processes for ensuring good coordination between the project managers and the team leaders.

Processes for Resource Planning in Project Management & Requirements (2020 update)

>>> Here you can read the entire article Resource Planning Processes

Article 4: The Keys to Successful Agile Resource Planning

This article explains why tactful regular collaboration is the key to avoiding resource conflicts in project management.

Project Resource Management_Resource Conflicts in Projects

>>> Here you can read the entire article Resource Conflicts in Projects

Article 5: Skills Management – Benefits, Challenges, and Applications

Competency management and skills management are an advanced form of resource management. This article discusses their primary advantages from a strategic and tactical-operational viewpoint.

Resource Planning in Project Management_Header Skills Management

>>> Here you can read the entire article Skills Management

Article 6: Resource Planning Software Requirements in a Project Environment

The use of project plans for the planning of resources is increasingly being replaced by a combined plan involving the projects (rough planning) and operations (detailed planning). You’ll understand why after reading this article.

Resource Planning in Project Management: software for all roles

>>> Here you can read the entire article Resource Planning: Software for the Different Roles

Article 7: Good Reasons for Having an Optimum Resource Planning Solution

This article will give you a brief insight into anticipated trends in resource planning. In the course of the digital transformation, increasingly more people will be working on projects. This means that supervisors and their teams will need to develop strategic and tactical plans to handle this. Resource planning in project management will therefore grow in importance.

Resource Planning in Project Management_Header_Arguments Tactical Resource Management Solution

>>> Here you can read the entire article The Optimum Solution for Resource Planning

Article 8: The SharePoint Solution for Resource Planning

With an easy-to-use tool such as TPG TeamManager Resource Planning in SharePoint, small companies as well as large enterprises have a complete overview of the resources available in every team and department.

Resource Planning in Project Management_Using SharePoint for Resource Management

>>> Here you can read the entire article Using SharePoint for Resource Management

Resource Requests in Microsoft Project

In version 2016 and Project Online, a new feature was added to Microsoft Project: Resource Engagements. This feature provides a direct communication channel between project managers and the team leaders and/or department heads responsible for managing the resources. This article explains, step-by-step, how to use this feature to coordinate the use of resources between the projects and operations, and also the new feature’s limitations.

Resource Planning in Project Management_Header_Ressourcenplanung-mit-Microsoft-Project

>>> Here you can read the entire article Using Resource Engagements in Microsoft Project

Article 10: Customer Solutions for Project Resource Management

Case Study 1: Integrated Resource Management at KARL STORZ

Case Study 2: Integrated Project and Resource Management at SWISSGRID

Please send us your feedback.
What has been your experience with project resource management? Is there a critical aspect that you feel we have missed? Have these tips been helpful? Please let us know in the comment area below. We look forward to your feedback!


Achim Schmidt-Sibeth_Projektmanagement in KrisenzeitenAchim Schmidt-Sibeth (Senior Marketing Manager)

After earning his engineering degree in environmental technology, he gained many years of experience in project management through his work at an engineering office, an equipment manufacturer, and a multimedia agency. Achim Schmidt-Sibeth and his team have been responsible for marketing and communication at TPG The Project Group for many years now.

Read more about Achim Schmidt-Sibeth on LinkedIn or XING


Johann Strasser (certified engineer, has been a managing partner at TPG The Project Group since 2001)

Johann Strasser Certified engineer, has been a managing partner at TPG The Project Group since 2001. After many years as a development engineer in the automotive and energy sectors, Johann Strasser spent a decade as an independent trainer and consultant in the field of project management. During his tenure, he also served as project manager for software projects in the construction industry and provided scheduling and cost management support for large-scale construction projects. At TPG, he applies his expertise in product development and consulting services for international clients. His special focus is on PMO, project portfolios, hybrid project management, and resource management. For many years now, he has shared his knowledge through presentations, seminars, articles, and webinars.

Read more about Johann Strasser on LinkedIn and XING.

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