Project management – scheduling, resources, and budgeting (u3db)

Importance of Resource Scheduling And Outsourcing in Multi-project Resource Scheduling First Last Dr. TeacherFirst TeacherLastname
Course CourseNumber
12 April 2008
Importance of Resource Scheduling and
Outsourcing in Multi-project Resource Scheduling
Resource scheduling, along with budgeting, is one of the most important phases of planning a project. The underlying reason for scheduling resources is to ensure availability of the right resource at the right time so that the task and project finish in an optimum timeframe. Amongst the several pre-requisites that form input to scheduling include resource identification and availability, human skills inventory and staff requirements, definition of activities to be performed during the project and their dependencies (Heldman, 2005, p. 261).
Resource scheduling helps to identify several constraints of the project. For example, when individual activities are assigned relevant human, material or other resources, they are treated independently and concurrency of resource usage is not assumed. It is only when resources are placed alongside activities inside the schedule that their over or under utilization becomes evident. Scheduling alternatives present varying levels of resource usage and optimization. In this phase, over or under-allocated resources can be identified and their usage smoothed out using techniques such as resource levelling (Heldman, 2005, p. 271).
Resource scheduling is also important in that it can determine whether the project can be completed within the specified end date in the schedule. The project manager may not have enough resources to finish tasks on the critical path in time despite optimization in allocation. Tradeoffs between costs and time of completing the project have to be taken using techniques such as crashing. Important budgetary and business decisions can be taken including hiring of additional sources, outsourcing or negotiating a reduction in the scope of the project (Richman, 2002, p. 117) .
Multi-project resource scheduling requires project management capabilities at a different and a more complex dimension. Lead project managers typically take an enterprise level view of the project rather than at each individual project within it. Project control also takes a new dimension with individual project managers taking larger responsibility for their own domains and coordinating through effective communication with the core group managing the project (Barkley, 2006, p. 62). For example, if 5 aircrafts are being manufactured for a single airline simultaneously in a manufacturing facility, each aircraft unit would be a separate project together forming one larger multi-project for that order.
Outsourcing can also take place in various forms. It can be inter-departmental outsourcing, to centres of expertise or to external entities. Bigger economies of scale can make outsourcing viable in multi-projects. For example, a software company writing software for various clients may have a component in each order to build an online presence for their clients. The software company may outsource the web development work to an external entity. Simultaneous allocation by outsourcing of same skill set helps alleviate internal resource constraints and also provides a single point of responsibility and communication to track progress. Such skill sets may have been available within the multi-project but not available simultaneously for each individual project within it.
For large multi-project environments, outsourcing also helps in getting on time deliverables when the company’s internal resources are strained. For example, in large projects spanning geographical boundaries, companies or suppliers with expertise in regions of activity can offer more cost effective solutions.
Heldman K. (2005). Project Management Professional: Study Guide (3rd Ed.). New Jersey:
Wiley Publishing, Inc.
Richman, L. (2002). Project Management Step-by-Step. New York: AMACOM,
a Division of American Management Association.
Barkley, B. T. (2006). Integrated Project Management. McGraw Hill.