What is one of the most critical factors in delivering successful projects? It is managing the resources you have in an efficient manner. In other words, resource management not only includes proper planning of required resources for a project but also monitoring them closely and measuring utilization and productivity on a regular basis. You also need to have the agility and flexibility to acclimatize to the dynamic environment and manage any schedule conflicts and resource gaps.
Therefore, as a resource or project manager, you should create a resource breakdown structure (RBS) to manage your projects and resources seamlessly. But the first step to that is understanding what is meant by a resource breakdown structure and what is its impact on your project and resource management. Read on to find all this and more.
Defining Resource Breakdown Structure
A resource breakdown structure (RBS) is typically a list of all the resources that may be required for delivering a project. It includes everything that is needed to complete a project like finances, people, equipment, tools, machinery, materials, facility, and time.
The list of RBS is then broken down by type and function and includes the employees required to execute and complete a project successfully. A resource breakdown structure is not just a list and is much more than that. It can be termed as a hierarchical chart that enables project managers to organize their resources and create a comprehensive resource plan.
A resource breakdown structure also ties to the budget because when you create a thorough list of resources for your project, it becomes easier to calculate what a project will cost you overall. It also helps project managers to stay within the established budget and avoid any cost overruns.
Importance of a Resource Breakdown Structure
Creating a comprehensive resource breakdown structure before you start working on any new project entails many advantages. Other than illustrating what is needed for your project, what you already have, and what you need to acquire or hire, an RBS enables you to find and categorize the resources in a manner that promotes efficient use of resources throughout the lifecycle of the project.
Some other key advantages of a resource breakdown structure are as follows. An RBS:
- Enables you to maintain a single source of truth regarding the types, quantity, or number of resources being used at a particular time during the lifecycle of a project.
- Identifies resource overlaps and dependencies to prevent future bottlenecks.
- Helps in coordinating between cross-functional teams and has a balanced workflow from beginning to end.
- Offers a quick snapshot of resource allocation and workload distribution.
- Helps to plan efficiently for the needed resources to deliver a project successfully.
- Identifies any resource gaps and finds resolutions such as hiring new resources.
- Identifies any probable risks involved in resource hiring.
- Manages budget efficiently because you would accurately know the money that is being spent.
- Acts as a repository of data on resources allocated and utilized in completed projects.
- Provides confidence to stakeholders in your ability to meet the schedules and deliver quality projects.
- Fosters documentation and robust internal systems that help in informed decision-making.
How to Create an Effective Resource Breakdown Structure
Project managers must devise a logical and well-defined RBS before starting work on any new project. The steps to create a methodological RBS are as follows:
1. Determine the project’s end deliverable
Though the first step is to create a project plan, as a project manager, you should gain clarity about the expectations that your client has and what is the end deliverable. This includes defining clear project objectives, defining the scope, and end deliverables, and then choosing a format for your RBS. Some people use a spreadsheet, a tree diagram, or some format depending on the industry, business requirements, types of resources needed, etc. You can also select one of the pre-made templates that are usually available for each industry. Therefore, after gaining insight into the end deliverable and finalizing the template, you can proceed ahead to define the tasks and sub-tasks in a project, resources required, schedule, etc., to get a starting point.
2. List all the tasks and sub-tasks at each project milestone
Now, you are ready to create a WBS or a work breakdown structure. A WBS is different from an RBS as it categorizes your project into logical phases and enables you to list all the tasks that should be completed in each phase. For example, the key objective or scope of a marketing campaign is to raise the number of leads. According to that, the project manager creates a list of all the tasks and sub-tasks in different milestones of the marketing project. For instance, the first phase may be content creation, where tasks could be writing the initial draft, reviewing, editing, and then finalizing it. In the second milestone or phase, the tasks could include designing, and creating illustrations, graphics, videos, etc. Finally, the next phase could include tasks such as promoting the content, selecting the right target audience, opting for the platforms or channels, and then running the ads.
3. Calculate and categorize resources for all project activities
After detailing all the task categories and tasks and sub-tasks under it, you can proceed ahead to identify the resource requirements as per the demand. Here, you need to consider the skills and how many resources are required to complete each task. For example, what are the various competencies or roles needed for a project? Then, you also need to identify how many people are needed in each role. For example, two developers, four content writers, one editor, two graphic designers, etc. Then, start identifying resources as per the skills required. A resource management tool helps to estimate the number and type of resources needed to complete a project with ease.
4. Check resource availability
Finding the right resources for each task or project is not an easy job. Especially if your organization has distributed teams and people are operating from various locations. How will you check which resources have the needed skill set and bandwidth for a new project? This is where resource breakdown is crucial. And if you do it with the help of a resource management tool, then it becomes a lot easier to check resource availability and create your project and resource plan accordingly. If you choose the right tool such as eResource Scheduler, you can pull out detailed availability reports and find the best people for a job.
5. Finalize with key project stakeholders
The next important step before your resource breakdown structure is complete is to seek feedback and inputs from all main stakeholders in the project. This will enable you to update or amend the RBS structure before you implement it. You will also be able to find if there are any probable bottlenecks or challenges that may crop up in the near future. In addition, along with the resource breakdown structure, you can send other crucial documents such as scope documents, WBS, etc. to your stakeholders. This helps them to gain an insight into the overall project and determine the priorities.
6. Consider the resource risks
Resource risks can occur when the demand for specific resources is more but there are a lesser number of skilled people available to execute the project. To solve this challenge, it is recommended that you create a resource risk plan and include it in your resource breakdown structure.
Identifying any such risks early in the process will enable you to find solutions and assess the impact that those risks may have. You can also create a risk mitigation plan well ahead of time and reduce or control any unforeseen events or challenges during project development.
7. Select a leading tool to create a resource breakdown structure
If you are seeking the best-fit software to create your resource breakdown structure, you should select the one that has more benefits to offer. For instance, choosing a cloud-based tool can help in both resource and project management.
Some leading AI-enabled tools have in-built time-tracking features too that help; in optimizing utilization and productivity and save time and cost. The top resource breakdown structure tools can also provide you with an organization-wide view of all your projects and resources in a snapshot.
Implement eResource Scheduler to Create a Resource Breakdown Structure and Streamline your Resource Management
Categorizing your resources into a resource breakdown structure helps you achieve effective resource and project management. So, implement a top-rated resource management tool, eResource Scheduler to monitor your team’s utilization, performance, the status of projects, and a lot more in a few clicks.
This leading time-tracking and project and resource management software acts; As your single online repository for all key data such as your projects, resource information, etc. It can be easily accessed from anywhere, at any device, and at any time.
That’s not all. This tool also provides real-time visibility and helps improve coordination and communication in your organization and among employees. Integrate this award-winning resource management software very easily with other current software in your organization. To understand what all eResource Scheduler can do for your business besides creating a resource breakdown structure, take a free trial now.