Estimate and plan Human Resources for Projects

Managing resources is one of most difficult component in services based business. As they say, “Your product is your people”. In a service based environment, Profitability, Project Success and Client Satisfaction all rely on effective planning and staffing of resources. HR Management is not only tricky it is also misunderstood. It is one of the biggest headaches for those who do project based client work. It requires consideration of constant change. Bottom line relies on available resources with right capabilities, on the right assignments with right timeline.

Following is a way to define HR Management Life Cycle for services based business:

Plan –> Execute –> Analyze –> Optimize –> Repeat

Repeat factor is very important as hard part is not selling a project but to manage high degree of change that occurs once project starts.


Estimate HR for a Project

Estimation part happens before the project actually starts. At this point, spending just enough time and effort on a project is required to avoid big mistake in understanding project. Rather than going into very details, just get enough information to understand scope of work, technologies and skills required to do it, any third party services to be integrated as well as client’s sensitivity for price range.

Variables required to get a better estimate includes information for Budget, time-line, skills required, phases and high level scope of project. Insights and lessons learned from previous projects play important role in getting more precise estimate. Project is not yet confirmed at this stage, so all the estimates are just guess works. No point of spending too much time on estimate as there is margin for project not winning after all this work. Also, more time spent on estimate reduces chance to win the project.

Plan HR for a Project

First step to have a proper plan is  to divide project into small tasks and deliverables. Create a pool of resources and allocate suitable resources based on skills and experience. Consider project deadlines and profitability when considering resource allocation. Maintaining communication is very important between Project Manager and allocated resources about the project to be started so that they have ample time to sync in the project. Update resource pool after hard resource allocation.

Other projects in the organization that might over-lap or conflict with the project need to be considered while planning for a project.


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