This article was originally published on 24/01/2020
How can you use a cost and resource planning template using Excel to manage project resources and avoid scheduling conflicts? How can other tools like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software help business process management? This article covers these topics and guides users on the planning process to help determine resource requirements, allocate resources and adapt an action plan as needed.
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When carrying out a project, managers often ask themselves questions to ensure everything stays on track. How many employees do I need to complete the project on time? Am I on budget with procurement? What are the unplanned costs of my project? To be able to answer these questions, a cost and resource management plan is carried out in projects to determine the best actions to take.
First, let’s start with a definition of the term ‘resource’. A resource is a generic term that can refer to either employees, material or financial resources within a project. And precisely these resources need to be planned as efficiently and effectively as possible in the interest of project success.
To help your company, we have created a free cost and resource planning template in Excel for you.
What is a resource planning template?
A resource planning template is a document or spreadsheet that can help project managers and team leaders plan and allocate resources for a project. These templates usually include information such as the project timeline, the tasks and activities required to complete the project, and the resources that need allocating for each task. These resources include personnel, equipment, and budget.
Resource planning templates can help managers assign tasks within a project without creating scheduling conflicts or workload imbalances. Managers also get an overview of who is doing what within a project and the timeline for these activities. Furthermore, the template can be used to ensure that projects have the necessary resources available to complete tasks on schedule. Managers can identify potential resource constraints and bottlenecks and adjust the resource plan accordingly.
What is Enterprise Resource Planning?
Many businesses seek further help when it comes to planning resources and business processes. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a type of software that companies can use to manage and integrate business processes. A key feature of ERP software is that it can help businesses implement resource planning by integrating all the processes needed to run their companies with a single system.
ERP systems integrate and centralise data and processes across different functional areas of an organisation, including finance, human resources, manufacturing, supply chain, and customer relationship management.
ERP systems typically include a set of modules that can be customised to meet the specific needs of the organisation. These modules can include functions such as accounting, inventory management, procurement, sales and distribution, production planning, and quality control. The modules are designed to work together seamlessly, allowing information to be shared across departments and processes.
The benefits of ERP systems include improved efficiency, better data visibility, and increased collaboration across teams. By automating routine tasks and streamlining processes, organisations can reduce costs, improve accuracy, and make more informed decisions based on real-time data.
How do you create a resource plan?
Creating a cost and resource plan involves several steps. Firstly, a work breakdown structure needs to be made for the Gantt chart to help individual processes into a sequence. Here is a summary of the key steps when creating your resource plan.
1. Define the project scope and objectives
The first step in creating a resource plan is to define the scope of the project, its goals and the processing effort this entails. This will help you identify the resources required to complete the project successfully.
2. Identify the tasks and activities
After determining the project scope and objectives, the next step is to identify the tasks and actions required to complete the project. This will help you figure out what resources are needed for each task.
3. Determine the resource requirements
Once you have identified the tasks and activities, you need to determine the resource requirements for each task. This includes identifying the type of resources needed, the quantity required, and for how long these resources will be needed.
4. Choose the best tool for your resource planning
Project managers can use either project management software or Excel templates to plan for project costs and resources. While Excel templates are suitable for small projects, project management or project planning software is recommended for larger and more complex projects. One advantage of using software is that it can detect and resolve conflicts related to resourcing through data analysis. The software also generates a Gantt chart that includes all dependencies.
5. Allocate resources
With the resource requirements clarified, project managers can assign resources and team members to specific tasks. This can require a resource schedule to know when a resource is needed.
6. Monitor and adjust the resource plan
Once the resource plan is in place, you need to monitor it regularly and make adjustments as necessary. For example, what happens if a team member is over or under-scheduled? This may involve reallocating resources, changing the resource schedule, or bringing in additional resources if required.
Overall, creating a resource plan requires careful planning and coordination to ensure that the right resources are available at the right time to complete the project successfully. Capacity and availability of resources are crucial factors. If an employee is scheduled for more than 100% of their capacity, this is referred to as overload. If this overload occurs because the person is dispatched for two competing or parallel operations, it is a resource conflict. Resource plans should help managers prevent these issues.
How to create a resource plan in Excel
A resource action plan template in Excel is a simple way to give you a quick overview of the costs incurred in your project. But how do you use the delivery plan template available in this article? Let us show you how.
The template contains three tabs: Basic Data, General Plan and Analysis.
Managers can use the first tab to enter project-specific framework data. Here, you can enter the general project data and different cost types. Then you can assign the appropriate types, units and costs to project members, services and materials in the Resources box.
Under Types, you can differentiate between internal and external costs, whether the units are hourly rates or lump sums. While the hourly rates are fixed for the duration of the project, the flat rates differentiate between planned costs and change costs.
In the second tab, you can enter all the work packages of your work breakdown structure (WBS) and assign them to the corresponding resource. The resources available for selection are only those that have been stored in the basic data. The Planned costs area in green allows for the entry of forecast quantities, with the corresponding price calculated automatically. Any changes to costs can be noted in the “unplanned costs” area in red. The field ‘Release on’ only applies to unplanned costs.
The Analysis tab allows you to view representations of the plan and resources in pivot tables and charts.
In conclusion, resource planning is a crucial aspect of project management that requires careful planning and coordination to ensure that the right resources are available at the right time to complete the project successfully. Resource planning templates can help managers assign tasks within a project, avoid scheduling conflicts or workload imbalances, and ensure that projects have the necessary resources available to complete tasks on schedule. Additionally, ERP systems can help businesses implement resource planning by integrating all the processes needed to run their companies with a single system, improving efficiency, data visibility, and collaboration across teams.
You can find other free templates here: