6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 9.2 Estimate Activity Resources: Tools and Techniques


Like the other estimation processes in the planning process group, 6.4 Estimate Activity Durations and 7.2 Estimate Costs, the process 9.2 Estimate Activity Resources has certain “generic” tools and techniques that are used for planning processes, such as Expert Judgment, Data Analysis Project Management Information System (PMIS), and Meetings.   Then there are tools and techniques which are used specifically for these processes having to do with estimating:   Bottom-Up Estimating, Analogous Estimating, and Parametric Estimating.   Let’s go through all of them.

9.2.2 Estimate Activity Resources:  Tools and Techniques

9.2.2.1 Expert Judgment

Expertise should be sought during this process by those who have specialized knowledge in estimating team and physical resources, or who have done such estimation for similar, previous projects.

9.2.2.2 Bottom-Up Estimating

This estimation technique is bottom-up because it consists of estimation of the resources required for each activity and then aggregating all of these estimates into the level of work packages, control accounts, and then summary project levels.

9.2.2.3 Analogous Estimating

This estimation technique using information regarding resources from a previous similar project.   It is useful as a preliminary estimation when you have only completed the top few levels of the WBS, because you need to have a complete WBS in order to do the more accurate, but time-consuming Bottom-Up Estimating technique (see paragraph 9.2.2.2).

9.2.2.4 Parametric Estimating

This technique also uses information regarding resources from a previous similar project.   The difference is that there is a statistical relationships between historical data and other variables which can be used to apply to the estimation of resources in the current project.   Here’s an example:  if you are trying to complete an estimation of the resources needed to build a house in a subdivision, you can do it by looking at the data on the resources needed to build previous houses in the subdivision.   This would be an example of analogous estimating.    However, if you took all of the data regarding those previously-built houses and calculated how many resources would be required per 100 square feet, then you would have a statistical relationship or a parameter you could then use to calculate the resources required for the current project.

9.2.2.5 Data Analysis

The main data analysis technique used in this process is alternatives analysis.   There may be different options to accomplish a certain activity.   These options may include various levels of resource capability or skills, for example.   Alternatives analysis provides the best solution to perform the project activities within the defined constraints.

9.2.2.6 Project Management Information System (PMIS)

This is the software tool (like Microsoft Project) used to help manage the resources on a project.

9.2.2.7 Meetings

Planning meetings may be held with functional managers to help estimate the resources needed for each activity.   Others at the meeting may include project team members who are responsible for estimation, experts who have knowledge regarding estimation techniques or who have worked on similar projects, and the project sponsor.

The next post will cover the outputs to the process.

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