Resource Scheduling Methods in Project Management

Resource scheduling refers to the process of organizing project resources and activities into specific sequences, duration, and design (Larson & Gray, 2011). The objective of completing projects within their stated timeframes and budget limitations is the main motivation behind resource scheduling methods (Lock, 2007). Resource definition, allocation, aggregation and leveling are the four main components of resource scheduling. Resource definition involves identification of the important resources required to achieve the project objectives (Larson & Gray, 2011). The resource definition stage includes the identification of the requisite resources, such as workforce and equipments for accomplishing the project. Resource allocation calls for mobilizing the identified resources to guarantee their timely availability for the different project activities (Larson & Gray, 2011). This enables the project manager to provide the necessary amount and the recommended quality standards of the resources needed to complete different project activities.

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Resource aggregation is the estimation of the cumulative resources required to complete scheduled project activities within the given periods (Larson & Gray, 2011). Such time durations may be expressed in terms of hours, days, weeks, months, or years. When project estimation is in the process of accomplishing, it takes into account the different types of the project tasks at hand. The tasks are presented in the form of either fixed units or fixed duration. Fixed units are based on the availability of resources and facilitate the determination of project’s completion date (Larson & Gray, 2011). Fixed duration is implemented, when seeking to complete project activities within their stated time limits. Resource leveling, on the other hand, involves the balancing act of ensuring that supply of the resources caters for their demand. This provides mitigation against the uncertainties associated with different project resources and activities (Lock, 2007).

Benefits and Challenges Gained from Resource Scheduling

There are various benefits gained from resource scheduling. For starters, it allows enough time to evaluate various alternatives that are at the disposal, making it possible to adjust the costs, timeframe, or even priorities for a given project (Larson & Gray, 2011). It also allows proper determination of budgets and timeframes required for different project activities. Moreover, it ensures that the project manager can determine the flexibility levels for various project resources. This is because some resources, such as manpower, may fluctuate in number, especially, during the times of uncertainties that characterize life cycles of the projects.

Scheduling has various challenges associated with it. For example, problems may arise from overreliance on specific skills and knowledge which shortages may cause the delay in the progress of certain project activities. The probabilistic nature of scheduling is also susceptible to a wide range of uncertainties that may render the allocated resources insufficient to complete different project activities in time.

Methods of Resource Scheduling

Resource-driven scheduling, fixed duration scheduling, and Critical Path Method (CPM) are some of the commonly used resource scheduling methods (Larson & Gray, 2011; Stelth & Roy, 2009). Resource-driven scheduling is based on the resources available. This means that resources determine the starting date and the overall duration of a given project. If the resources are available at the moment when they are needed and appropriate for the project, then resource scheduling effectively takes place. Construction projects are the ones for which resource-based scheduling would be appropriate because they are capital intensive in nature.

Fixed duration scheduling involves strict adherence to specified time limits, regardless the availability of resources or the scope of project activities (Larson & Gray, 2011). This means that starting date should be determined before the commencement of project activities. Information technology projects are those where fixed duration scheduling would be needed because they are required to be implemented over specific time durations.

CPM, on the other hand, involves the use of sequenced durations of project activities so that the particular activities with the longest durations determine the shortest duration over which an entire project can be completed (Stelth & Roy, 2009). CPM scheduling basically provides a framework through which appropriate durations for different project activities are established for purposes of generating activity schedules that meet the overall project expectations (Stelth &Roy, 2009). Manufacturing and supply chain management activities are such projects in which CPM scheduling would be implemented. This is because they involve multiple complimentary and competing activities that must be completed in their prescribed sequences to ensure the project’s success.

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As such, a look at all the three examples of resource scheduling method shows that the resource-driven scheduling would be more appropriate for a retail expansion project. This is because hotel expansion falls within the realms of construction projects that can be undertaken within the pace of the availability of resources. Indeed, for the resource scheduling to be effectively implemented, the requisite resources must be available. According to Lock (2007), the homogeneity aspect of resource-driven scheduling is to ensure that some resources are not duplicated, especially if they have some similarities, such as common goals, similar time duration, resources, or technologies.

References

Larson, E. W., & Gray, C. F. (2011). Project management: The managerial process. (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Lock, D. (2007). Project management. (9th ed.). Hampshire, England: Gower Publishing Company.

Stelth, P., & Roy, G. L. (2009). Projects’ Analysis through CPM (Critical Path Method). School of Doctoral Studies (European Union) Journal, 1, 10-51. Web.

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