The lack of resources in projects

The deadline is coming and you realize that you won´t have enough resources to complete your project. Every Project Manager experienced or will experience the lack of resources in one point of his career.


How to deal with the lack of resources?

Avoiding lack of resources (Prevention):

Prevent the lag or resources starts collecting the requirements, defining scope, analyze risks, defining and estimating activities, leads and lags to create a realistic schedule.

In projects where scope it´s not 100% defined we need to work with forecast and estimation based in previous projects

Resource Grid: It´s important to get the clear the picture of the resources available and needed. A grid where we have a quick view of the resources available and needed is a great tool to estimate and prevent the lack of sources

In the example below we have the resources need for 2 projects in the incoming 4 weeks and the resources available for the same time. We can see that in the week 2 we have more hours needed from a resource type 2 (50h between project 1 and 2) with only 40h available.




Monitoring & Controlling Progress: We need to control our progress to check if we are under or over schedule and re-estimate the resources needs to check if our initial estimations are updated.

Communication with the stakeholders: any lack of resources need to be flagged as soon as possible to try to implement actions to fix the lack of resources and manage the stakeholders expectations.

Fixing the lack of resources:

If the lack of resources impacts in tasks that are not included in the critical path, this will not impact in the final schedule. In this case we don´t need to do nothing because the dead line of the final deliverable is not affected

But the most common situation is that the lack of resources affects tasks that are involved in the critical path and will impacts in the schedule due date of final deliverables. In this scenario the proposed solutions are:

  • Shift resources between non critical tasks to the critical path (if we have)
  • Try to reduce the resources needed. This not means reduce the scope or the quality of the project. But sometime we can reuse work done in previous projects, like software modules, previous design or existing assets. Before to develop new assets we should ensure that this assets not exist in other department or other team of our company
  • Prioritize deliverables, split the project outcomes in phase. This solution affects the time (one of the triple constrain)
  • Get new resources: If you have budget you need to get new resources. Add a new resource takes time because there a knowledge curve while the new resources n need time to get involve in the project and get the necessary knowledge. This solution affects to the budget.
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