This is a question that has been asked by many project managers and one that may be of interest to you. It is vital, therefore, for any organization embarking on strategic objectives with the use of project management tools to ensure that they have in-depth knowledge on this issue. Resource constraints are sometimes so obvious while at other times almost invisible but all the same very much present. How do we identify where resource constraints exist?
We need to look at the following primary areas:
What does it take from us? How can we minimize it? Why do we want to avoid it in the first place? What ways are there available for us to stop or lower its impact on our projects?
The most common causes of resource constraints are:
Lack of specific resources in the right time frame. It’s a fact that we simply cannot do some things with fewer resources than are required to achieve them. This may be because there is not enough people, too much work or just not enough time to spend on those activities to which our organization has assigned value. A constraint can occur due to deadline dates for when something must be done such as finishing up engineering design by a certain date and you know you will need more time than what is available. Personnel (human) resource constraints Your human resource pool might get affected if an employee gets sick from the flu and requires bed rest over the weekend or maybe someone takes off for a few days to attend to an urgent personal matter. Money (financial) resource constraint A lack of funding for something that is required by your project is a sure sign you have this type of constraint. With no money, you can’t buy anything and if you want the item bad enough, maybe even borrow it from someone but then what does that mean in regards to how successful your project will be?
There are several ways in which we can overcome resource constraints:
Reduce the need for resources – if something doesn’t need doing, don’t do it and don’t include it in the plan! Obtain additional resources – If there is not enough time frame or not enough people available within your organization then it may be necessary to involve sources outside of your organization. Collaborate with other organizations – If you can work together with another organization, ask them if they have the resource pool available to assist in your project as a team effort. Eliminate all non-vital activities – Whenever possible remove any activity that is not vital or has been deemed unnecessary to achieve overall project success.
Increase the efficiency of current resources – This might be done by improving internal communications, streamlining processes and reducing bureaucracy while also eliminating all wasteful practices during this process. Use technology and automation for completing tasks instead of using people – As an example, let’s say you are required to develop a new system that will drastically improve how things are currently being done within your organization but before doing so you need to find, hire and train employees to develop it. In this case, it might be more effective if you purchased some software packages instead of adding personnel since using the former involves fewer time frame constraints.
The best way by far to avoid having resource constraints in your project is to not put too much pressure on resources while planning a new project. This implies that all activities should have buffer times allocated for any unforeseen risks or delays which may occur during the life cycle of the project enabling additional time for any unplanned actions that need doing.