Estimating the Resources Required

This step involves making an estimate of the resources required to complete each activity. The previous processes described what is to be done and in what order. This process describes who will do the work.

Don't spend too much time worrying about factors that you simply don't know. Remember, the key word here is 'estimate', whilst you should try to be as accurate as you can, remember that any figures you come up with can and will be revised during later processes. There are a number of tools that can be used to estimate the required activity resources.

Estimate Activity Resources: Tools and Techniques

Expert judgment can be provided by members of the project team or by a team leader. However, it often requires an expertise that is not present within the project team and an external group or person with a specific skill set or knowledge is brought in.

You may be able to make use of estimating data published by other organizations, which can provide regularly updated unit costs of a wide range of human and material resources. In this technique, the activity is compared to the activities for which data exists and the actual cost or durations of the closest comparable activity is selected from the data and used as the estimate.

The advantage of this technique is that it is accurate when the project conditions match the conditions under which the published data was generated.

The disadvantages are that data does not exist for many activities and that the published data that does exist is based upon the characteristics of the organizations that compiled and published it, which may not correspond to your own.

Bottom-up estimating involves further decomposition of the component tasks can be individually resourced. It is basically an iteration of defining and sequencing the activities in which each task is broken down into smaller components. Then, individual estimates are developed to determine what specifically is needed to meet the requirements of each of these smaller components.

The estimates for the smaller individual components are then aggregated to develop a larger estimate for the entire task as a whole. As a general rule, the smaller the scope of a task, the more accurately you can estimate it. The disadvantages of this technique is that it is very time consuming, and it may be impossible to decompose activities that cannot be easily defined.

Estimate Activity Resources: Outputs

The main purpose of the activity resource estimating process is to determine the resource requirements for each activity, and therefore this is the major output item from this process.

You identify the types of resources required to perform each activity and estimate the required quantity of each identified resource. If a work package in the WBS has multiple activities, the resource estimates for those activities can be aggregated to estimate the resource requirements for the work package.

The requirement documents may also include information such as the basis for each estimate, the assumptions made for the estimate, and the availability of the resources.

You may also be interested in:
Managing the Project Schedule | Defining the Project Activities | Sequencing the Project Activities | Estimating the Resources Required | Estimating the Time Required | Developing the Project Schedule | Controlling the Project Schedule.

Key Points

  • Estimating the resources required aims to describe who will do the work.
  • There are five tools that can be used including: expert judgment, alternative analysis, published estimating data, software and bottom-up estimating.

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