Resource planning is one of the most challenging tasks in project management. Especially when it comes to staff, planning is difficult to calculate clearly. After all, people are people - and they are rarely entirely predictable.
Nevertheless, it is helpful to draw up a "guideline" for human resource management in projects so that at least an orientation is given and conflicts can be avoided. The basis for such a guideline can be the category of the project. There are three different variants here: projects in development, contract projects and projects within the company.
Human Resource Management in Project Management
Resources for Projects under development are comparatively easy to calculate, as the project management itself defines the resources. Here, the responsibility lies entirely with the project management and its estimates. Still a challenge, but more plannable than with Contract projects. These can only be calculated vaguely, as enquiries, commitments or even cancellations remain dependent on the customer. Here, a flexible calculation of the resources which requires a comprehensive overview of these. It is easier again with Projects in the company. After all, resources are among the best to plan for one's own company. However, internally, when there is a lack of resources, those projects are often postponed.
Once the initial situation has been defined by the project type, the respective challenges can be worked with in resource planning. The following points should be considered here:
Calculate ONLY with resources that are actually available. In the case of employees, holidays, leave, etc. should also be included here. It is also important not to overuse any employee. The calculation only makes sense if the employee is able to fulfil his or her tasks. If necessary, also pay attention to other (ongoing and upcoming) projects.
Include the know-how of the resource staff in the planning. Are the resources realistically loaded? In addition, prioritise responsibilities. This helps to distribute responsibilities.
Make contingency planning. If there is a "human factor" and breakdowns occur, other staff members should be able to be entrusted with the tasks without their capacities being overstretched.
Big goals with many challenges and in project management actually, human resource management is never quite flawless to implement. Nevertheless, accurate planning tends to help stay flexible and weather major or minor disasters well.
One or two project management tools are helpful here (especially with regard to the overview). It is even more helpful if project management is fully anchored in the company via an integrated application. For example, MARIProject, the project management add-on for SAP Business One. More about that here.