Resource planning and management are essentially crucial to the successful implementation of a project. If you’re preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, understanding this aspect will aid you greatly in earning your certification. In this article, we’ll delve into what it means to plan and manage resources and how to employ practical strategies to guarantee streamlined operations.

Table of Contents

Understanding Resource Planning

Resource planning is the process of identifying the necessary resources, such as people, materials, equipment, and finances needed to execute a project. This involves not only identifying the resources but also when and how they’ll be used and their potential costs.

A proper resource plan should distinctly map out:

  • The required resources to be allocated per task.
  • The duration each resource will be engaged in the project.
  • The overall cost of each particular resource.
  • Possible alternatives if a resource becomes unavailable.

Without effective resource planning, it becomes easy for costs to escalate, deliveries delayed and overall project objectives missed.

The Process of Resource Management

Resource management is the process of using a company’s resources in the most efficient way possible. These resources can include both tangible and intangible resources.

The key steps include:

  1. Resource Identification: The first step is establishing what resources are needed and in what quantity. Everything the project needs to be completed.
  2. Resource Acquisition: Once identified, the next step is to acquire these resources. This can involve hiring new staff, purchasing equipment, or setting aside the necessary finances.
  3. Resource Allocation: Assigning the resource to the appropriate tasks within the project. This step involves determining who or what is required where, and when.
  4. Resource Utilization: The effective use of the resources. This process ensures that they are used optimally and as intended.
  5. Resource Maintenance/Release: The final step involves taking care of the resources during the life of the project and releasing them upon project completion.

Tools and Techniques For Resource Management

The PMP exam covers the key tools and techniques used in resource management. These include:

  1. Expert Judgement: This method draws on the experience and knowledge of experts in the field or those who have executed similar projects in the past.
  2. Data Representation: Tables, graphs, and charts are used to illustrate the allocation of resources and their utilization to aid in making informed decisions. One such tool is the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS), a hierarchical representation of resources by category and type.
  3. Interpersonal and Team Skills: Communication, negotiation, and leadership are essential skills in managing resources effectively.
  4. Project Management Software: Software tools such as Microsoft Project, JIRA, or Asana can also be beneficial in simplifying resource management.


Understanding the concepts of resource planning and management is vital to the successful completion of projects irrespective of their size or complexity. As you prepare for your PMP exams, a mastery of these skills will not only facilitate your passing the examination, but also equip you for real-world project management situations.

Practice Test

True/False: Resource planning involves determining what physical, human, and technical resources the project will need.

  • True

Answer: True

Explanation: This is part of the project management process. Resources may include people, equipment, materials, and technical assets.

Multiple Select: Which of the following are key aspects of resource management in a project?

  • a) Estimating resources
  • b) Acquiring resources
  • c) Developing the team
  • d) None of the above

Answer: a), b), c)

Explanation: All these options are part of resource management in a project.

Single Select: The process of forecasting the amount and type of resources necessary to carry out project tasks is referred to as ________.

  • a) Resource-leveling
  • b) Resource smoothening
  • c) Resource estimation
  • d) Resource slicing

Answer: c) Resource estimation

Explanation: Resource estimation is a process of estimating the amount and kinds of resources needed to perform each project activity.

True/False: In project management, resource allocation and planning do not have any impact on the project’s cost.

  • False

Answer: False

Explanation: Proper resource allocation and planning help create an efficient and realistic project schedule, which will directly impact the cost of the project.

Multiple Select: Resource leveling and resource smoothening are?

  • a) Techniques to optimize resource allocation
  • b) Techniques to calculate cost
  • c) Techniques to determine project timeline
  • d) Techniques to assess risks

Answer: a), c)

Explanation: Both resource leveling and smoothening are techniques to optimize resource allocation and determine the project timeline.

Single Select: Resources that are assigned to activities and whose use is required for the execution of the project are known as _______.

  • a) Critical resources
  • b) Conditional resources
  • c) Implicit resources
  • d) Reserved resources

Answer: a) Critical resources

Explanation: Critical resources are resources that are essential to a project and can affect its timeline if not carefully managed.

True/False: Apart from personnel, software, equipment and supplies can also be considered as resources in a project.

  • True

Answer: True

Explanation: Any asset that is utilized in a project can be considered as a resource.

Multiple Select: The resource management plan should include information on:

  • a) Role and responsibilities of resources
  • b) Resource calendars
  • c) The estimated cost of resources
  • d) Resource leveling

Answer: a), b), c)

Explanation: The resource management plan should cover responsibilities, resource availability, and cost estimates.

Single Select: During what process group in project management is resource planning primarily conducted?

  • a) Initiating
  • b) Planning
  • c) Executing
  • d) Monitoring and Controlling

Answer: b) Planning

Explanation: Resource planning is an essential activity conducted during the project planning phase.

True/False: Resource calendars are used to identify when project resources are potentially available.

  • True

Answer: True

Explanation: Resource calendars help project managers understand when resources will be available and can be planned for use in the project.

Multiple Select: Resource overallocation may result in

  • a) Delays in project deliverables
  • b) Increased project risk
  • c) Increased project cost
  • d) None of the above

Answer: a), b), c)

Explanation: Resource overallocation can strain resources, cause delays, increase project risk and elevate costs.

Interview Questions

In project management, what does resource planning entail?

Resource planning in project management typically involves identifying and documenting what resources are needed — like people, equipment, and materials — estimating when they are required, and determining from where they can be secured.

What is the purpose of resource leveling?

The purpose of resource leveling is to address resource conflicts and overallocation. It ensures that resources are used efficiently and effectively throughout the lifespan of the project and primarily modifies the project schedule based on resource constraints.

Which tool is used during the process of estimating activity resources in Project Management?

An important tool used is the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS). It provides an hierarchical breakdown of resources by category and type.

Define the process of resource management in project management.

Resource management encompasses the planning, allocation, utilization, and control of resources to effectively complete a specific project in a timely and cost-effective manner while meeting predefined objectives.

What are the outputs of the Plan Resource Management process in Project Management?

The outputs of the Plan Resource Management process include a Resource Management Plan and Team Charter.

What is the resource calendar in project management?

The resource calendar in project management is a calendar that reflects the availability and capacity of resources. It helps determine what resources are available and when they can be used for project work.

What is the purpose of a “Responsibility Assignment Matrix” (RAM) in project management?

A Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) is used in project management to associate the roles and responsibilities for each task in the project. It helps to ensure all tasks have assigned resources, hence removing ambiguities and clarifying responsibilities.

What role does a project manager play in resource management?

A project manager is responsible for planning, organizing, and managing resources throughout the project cycle. They handle resource allocation, ensure the most effective use of resources, and manage changes to resource requirements as they occur.

In project management, what is ‘Resource Smoothing’?

Resource Smoothing is a technique used when the time constraint is flexible and resources are not permitted to be over-allocated. It involves adjusting the project schedule without extending the project duration, ensuring resources are not over-utilized.

What is a ‘resource histogram’ in project management?

A resource histogram is a graphical representation of the use of resources over the course of a project. It provides an overview of resource usage and helps in identifying if resources are over-allocated or under-utilized.

How does project risk management interact with resource management?

Project risk management involves identifying potential risks that can impact project resources. These might include risks of resource availability, resource performance, or other resource-related risks. Once identified, the project manager must establish risk-mitigation strategies based on resource management.

What is the primary reason for developing a resource management plan in Project Management?

The primary reason for developing a resource management plan is to effectively estimate, allocate, and control project resources ensuring they are utilized effectively and efficiently to achieve project objectives.

What is a dependency in project management and how does it relate to resource management?

Dependency in project management refers to a task or an activity that is reliant on another task or activity being completed before it can be started or completed. It relates to resource management as it impacts when and where resources need to be allocated.

What is Human Resource Management in Project Management?

Human Resource Management in Project Management is the process of planning for, acquiring, managing, and releasing project team members. This also involves developing and managing the project team in order to enhance overall project performance.

What steps should be taken when a project experiences resource shortages?

When project experiences resource shortages, the project manager should identify alternative resources or adjust the schedule to meet the demands of the project, while communicating about the resource shortfall with the project stakeholders. They also might need to revise the Resource Management Plan accordingly.

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