A resource is any item or person required for the execution of the project.
This covers many things-from paper clips to key personnel – and it is unlikely that we would wish to itemize every resource required, let alone draw up a schedule for their use! Stationery and other standard office supplies, for example, need not normally be the concern of the project manager – ensuring there is always an adequate supply is the role of the office manager. The project manager must concentrate on those resources where there is a possibility that, without planning, they might not be sufficiently available when required.
Some resources, such as a project manager will be required for the duration of the project whereas others, such as a specific software developer might be required for a single activity. The former, while vital to the success of the project does not require the same level of scheduling as the latter.
Individual programmers, for example, might be committed to working on a number of projects and it will be important to book their time well in advance.
In general resources will fall into one of seven categories:
Labour: The main items in this category will be members of the development project team such as the project manager, systems analyst and software developers. Equally important will be the quality assurance team and other support staff and any employees of the client organization who might be required to undertake or participate in specific activities.
Equipment: Obvious items will include workstations and other computing and office equipment. We must not forget that staff also need basic equipment such as desks and chairs.
Materials: Materials are items that are consumed, rather than equipment that is used. They are of little consequence in most software projects but can be important for some – software that is to be widely distributed might, for example, require supplies of Optical disks to be specially obtained.
Space: For projects that are undertaken with existing staff, space is normally readily available. If any additional staff (recruited or contracted) should he needed then office space will need to he found.
Services: Some projects will require procurement of specialist services – development of a wide area distributed system, for example, requires scheduling or telecommunications services.
Time: Time is the resource that is being offset against the other primary resources – project timescales can sometimes be reduced by increasing other resources and will almost certainly be extended if they are unexpectedly reduced.
Money: Money is a secondary resource – it is used to buy other resources and will be consumed as other resources are used. It is similar to other resources in that it is available at a cost – in this case interest charges.