Resource Control deals with keeping track of all the resources assigned to the project—specifically, the human resources. This is accomplished by looking at the resources from two directions simultaneously:
- The tasks to which the resources are assigned (task usage).
- The project resources used (resource usage).
As part of the ‘task usage control process’, verify that all non-milestone and non-summary tasks are assigned sufficient resources to allow their completion. Correspondingly, verify that those resources are available at the time they are most needed. This type of control is undertaken on a periodic basic and is applied to short-term tasks.
The “Task Usage” table will display under each task all the resources allocated to it, the scope of their allocation and the start and end dates that each of them is working on that task.
When it comes to resource usage control, ensure that all (human) resources are assigned to tasks based on their availability and skill level. Additionally, resource usage control must verify that the resources are working to advance the project according to plan. Finally, identify any hidden downtime and lack of focus and respond to these problems by establishing task priorities and focusing on clear, short-term targets.
The “Resource Usage” table will display below each resource all the tasks to which that resource is assigned, the scope of its allocation and the start and end dates of each task.
In order to avoid delays when working on project tasks, verify ahead of time that any resource necessary for task completion is available or will become available on time. Otherwise, tasks and priorities might need to be reorganized in order to make sure that the project is not stalled; rather it remains on track to be completed on time.
In order to guarantee that work on the project progresses well, it is necessary to make sure that every resource knows and understands the short-term tasks in his responsibility. Every resource must confirm this understanding and must also continuously evaluate and, when necessary, re-work the planned schedule for the tasks in his responsibility.
The project manager and team leaders must monitor continuously the progress being made by those under their supervision. Whenever progress on a task falls short of what is expected, the team leader and resource allocated to a task should work together to analyze the reasons for the gaps between plan and execution and identify any challenges facing the resource that might prevent him from completing the work as planned. Both the team leader and the resource must take this process seriously so that the resource will be committed to the new target completion date and to providing ongoing reports on his progress in all of his tasks. Consequently, the team leader must hold regular meetings with all those he supervises, while all supervisees must arrive at these meetings with up to date data reflecting their progress. The work plan must be updated based on the information provided by the resource and the decisions reached by the resource and team leader. An interim work plan that includes all changes in task start and completion dates should be kept for tracking purposes.
Special emphasis must be placed on tracking the most expensive resources in the project—those who should have been identified as such at the planning stage. As part of resource control, it is necessary to ensure that these resources are continuously busy and working productively on deliverables that advance the project. The project manager must make sure that these resources are not facing any delays; that is, the project manager must work to avoid a situation where an expensive resource must remain idle while waiting for another task to be completed.
In many cases, the more expensive resources are allocated to tasks that lie along the critical path of the project. Therefore, each meeting with a team member should focus on the team member’s assigned tasks, beginning with those tasks that are due imminently and are on the critical path. Then, later in the meeting, the discussion can shift to the rest of the tasks assigned to him.
It is particularly important to pay special attention to any resources that are provided to the project by subcontractors or outside suppliers. Such resources may well be an integral part of the project resources and may well work side by side with the internal project team. However, it is likely that these resources will do their work offsite, which will make controlling their work more complicated.