What is Resource Breakdown Structure in Project Management?

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May 10, 2022

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Preparing an efficient project plan accounts for several crucial factors, and a work breakdown structure tops them all. Work Breakdown Structure is where it all starts, as it enables project managers to set different tasks and their corresponding dependencies.

After that's done, Project managers should analyze every skill and resource that is needed to take care of each task. All of these resources also cumulate specific costs. Thus, it's crucial to select those that fit the scope of the project while maintaining the predefined deadline and budget.

This is where the resource breakdown structure starts to show its importance. Resource Breakdown Structure assists the project managers in formulating, planning, and undertaking huge-scale resources to address the needs of the project. As the name suggests, it involves "breaking down" every resource that is needed for different tasks before any project even starts.

These resources can be anything from a piece of equipment or the overall workforce, as long as they are needed for the project. While the prominence of RBS in project management is a given, many organizations still fail to recognize it. The article will shed light on everything to learn about Resource Breakdown Structure And its importance in every organizational project.

Definition of Resource Breakdown Structure

A Resource Breakdown Structure refers to a categorized overview of every resource required to conclude a project. Usually, a project manager utilizes it to define every cumulated resource during the calculation of timeframes and costs. Calling it the project's blueprint in terms of financial and human resources won't be a lie.

Depending on a project manager's needs, an RBS can be an independent or collaborative effort. It can also take references from existing documents curated during the planning procedure.

Seeing how crucial RBS in project management is, project managers, keep improving their knowledge with various project management certifications. Out of them, PMP certification is a golden standard for anyone working in project management. This certification helps them gain specialized industry knowledge and experience which in turn simplifies their work as a project manager.

The Importance of RBS in Project Management 

The foremost goal behind the establishment of a resource breakdown structure is to unify the tasks of a project manager. That's why it is created before the project begins, making it a pivotal part of the framework. It accounts for crucial factors, like:

  • Accounting for every resource that is needed for the project delivery
  • Assessing any risks associated with the resources
  • Minimizing the costs to manage the budget
  • Identifying any missing resources and developing sourcing strategies for them
  • Ensuring that every defined deadline for the project is met

With such use-cases, RBS in project management stands among the most pivotal aspects in the domain.

Project Managers' Guide to Developing a Resource Breakdown Structure

Merely comprehending the fundamentals of RBS will not assist project managers in articulating a seamless strategy around them. That's why there is a viable guide to creating a resource breakdown structure. Implement the given tips to develop a robust Resource Breakdown Structure:

Base the Resource Breakdown Structure on a Robust Resource Management Strategy

Managing resources becomes simpler if there is already a prepared resource plan. Merging the resource planning with Resource Breakdown Structure provides a more precise idea about interrelated resources along with their utilization in the project.

Seeking inputs from the team is also crucial, as they will also possess inside information about the required resources. It keeps the expectations of the project realistic, establishing transparency throughout the procedure.

Monitor Human Resources Efficiently

Working with human resources can be more challenging than working with machines due to their complex nature. The issue becomes even more grave when assigning specific personnel for particular tasks.

Thus, project managers must ensure that no personnel stays overloaded. It is crucial for them to work on only one task at a time with the right set of tools available for them. This can be done by assessing the roles and the employees' prior experience. Factors like current position, expertise, seniority, and cost should be considered during the decision.

Monitor the Availableness of the Resources

Ensuring a project's timely delivery cannot be achieved with a one-time establishment of a resource breakdown structure. Every skilled PM must monitor the resources and their respective accessibility to different members.

When assessing the readiness of the resources, considering the benefits and drawbacks of choosing in-house personnel is vital. Going for fresh talent or new materials is not always the answer, especially for only one project.

Consider Resource Risks

Risks in project delivery are not uncommon. Resource risk emerges with an absence or scarcity of the resources needed to produce the deliverables. Thus, creating a resource risk plan for the same is a viable step.

Finding these risks earlier and mitigating them minimizes the chances of unplanned events during project implementation.

Consider Choosing Dedicated Resource Breakdown Structure Software 

When the project has a vast scope, PMs can consider opting for dedicated RBS tools. Such tools facilitate automation in key areas, keeping the process smooth at every turn. In addition, it proffers an insightful overview of the entire project in one space.

Closing Words

Resource breakdown structure stands midst the most integral parts of a project management strategy since it lets project managers ensure the project meets its deadlines. However, establishing an efficient Resource Breakdown Structure can be highly challenging but it definitely worth it. 

Project managers who wish to rise beyond the average project managers can opt for PMP certification to get PMP Certified and gain more skills and knowledge.

However, they must remember that despite being a crucial factor, the Resources Breakdown Structure is merely the starting point of project management. It acts as the foundation since it only defines the required resources and their application throughout the project delivery. 

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