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Resource procurement – part 1

The schedule

Every task that you identify in the work breakdown structure must have some resources attached to it.

These will fall into 3 categories of either Materials, Equipment or Labour.

For each task you will need to list all of the resources that must be in place when the task begins.
This will be the Earliest Start Time (EST).

resource scheduleresource schedule large

The resources will include, raw materials (bricks, cement, nails, chemicals etc), equipment (that needing installation for the task, or that required for the use of particular raw materials etc) and labour (both skilled and unskilled, also consider specialist consultants, inspectors etc).

Once the resource for each task is identified the project manager will need to provide a specification for the resource, identify the potential supplier and then order the resource.

The supplier may need to carry out development work with drawings or prototypes etc before producing the item. It will them require some form of quality control prior to release and shipping to the contractor (yourself as the project manager).

Procurement is a specialist job and requires dedicated focus to make sure all items arrive on time at the beginning of tasks.
It is therefore useful to employ a person to do just this.

In the main the procurement for any resource will go through particular stages.
These are:

Document preparation

Here the contractor (procurement specialist) draws up the appropriate documentation that any supplier will need to be able to fulfil an order. This is mainly the item specification but may involve other aspects. For many projects the resource requirements may be the same. Hence, the documentation is likely to be already there.

Order preparation

This is the domain of the supplier. Based upon the contractor documentation the supplier will begin to produce the item.
This may be straight forward or may require the need for development before production.
Once the product is complete and passed internal quality control it will be ready for shipping.

Order delivery

The supplier must then arrange for delivery of the item to the contractor.

Resource preparation

Once the item is on site it is very likely that some preparation must be carried out before it can be used in the assigned task.

Each of these activities can be broken down into particular milestones that reflect the start and completion of each stage.
In the above example we have 5 milestones of ‘Approval given’, ‘Supplier ready’, ‘Shipping ready’, ‘Resource delivery’ and ‘Task begin’.
The task of the specialist procurement manager will be to contact suppliers at the due date of the relevant milestones and confirm progress or encourage it as necessary.

Resource list

There will be a lot of individual resources for any given project.
These will require listing in tabular format. Using a spreadsheet like Excel is ideal.
The simple example below is one of many ways you may wish to choose.

resource tableresource table large

It shows a list for Task ‘A’ (2) which has been designated as task number 21 (1).
Within this task there are sub tasks (3) given as ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, and ‘d’.
For each of these subtasks we can then identify specific resources.
Under ‘material’ we have identified materials that can be obtained easily [Available (4)] and require no special consideration e.g.
‘aa’, ‘bb’ etc. others may be less easily obtainable and require separate planning [Plan (5)].

Then there will be equipment either that requiring possible installation (6) or used for support work (7).

The labour needs will be the ‘team’ that will actually carry our the work (8), for example, electricians and plumbers etc.
It will also require supervisors and managers and other specialists, for example consultants, inspectors and administrators etc.

Once you have this full list the procurement manager can approach each resource need in a methodical manner and begin to consider the stages in the procurement process to get the item on site.
That is, he or she must consider the ‘Document preparation’, ‘Order preparation’, ‘Order delivery’ and ‘Resource preparation’.
The next level is attaching durations for each of these tasks and thus appropriate dates for the particular milestones based upon the Earliest Start Time (EST) of the task.

Under PRINCE2® 2009 planning is covered by the Plans theme.
The purpose of the Plans theme is to facilitate communication and control by defining the means of delivering the products (the where and how, by whom, and estimating the when and how much).
[see Plans - Purpose]

A plan can only show the ultimate feasibility of achieving its objectives when the activities are put together in a schedule that defines when each activity will be carried out.
[See Plans - The PRINCE2 approach - Prepare the schedule]

PRINCE2 2009 [see ‘The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2’] describes resource availability.
The number of people who will be available to do the work (or the cost of buying in resources) should be established.
Any specific information should be noted (for example, names, levels of experience, percentage availability, available dates).
[see Plans - The PRINCE2 approach - Prepare the schedule - Assess resource availability]

PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.