6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 9.3 Acquire Resources: Inputs

Okay, now that we have estimated the amount of physical and team resources needed to do the activities on the project, it is time to actually acquire them.

Here are the inputs to process 9.3 Acquire Resources.

9.3.1 Acquire Resources:  Inputs Project Management Plan

The components of the project management plan that are inputs to this process include the following:

  • Resource management plan–the output of process 9.1 Plan Resource Management, it includes guidance on how to acquire team and physical resources for the project.
  • Procurement management plan–if there are procurements from other companies which are used as resources on the project, this plan includes information how procurements will be integrated with other project work and stakeholders involved in procuring resources.
  • Cost baseline–this gives the overall budget for the project activities.  Project Documents

  • Project schedule–the project schedule shows the activities with their planned start and end dates which helps determine when the resources need to be available and accepted.
  • Resources calendars–these document the time periods each resource needed for the project is available for the project.   This schedule depends on having a good understanding of each resource’s availability and schedule constraints (like vacation time).
  • Resource requirements–these identify the types and the quantities of resources that need to be acquired.
  • Stakeholder register–this may give information on the stakeholders’ needs and/or expectations for specific resources to be used on the project. Enterprise Environmental Factors

  • Existing information on organizational resources including availability, competence levels, and prior experience for team resources.
  • Marketplace conditions
  • Organizational structure (affects the negotiations you may need to do in order to acquire resources) Organizational Process Assets

  • Policies, procedures and guidelines for acquiring resource to the project (should be contained in the resource management plan)
  • Historical information and lessons learned repository from previous similar projects

6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 9.2 Estimate Activity Resources: Outputs

This post covers the outputs of the process 9.2 Estimate Activity Resources. Resource Requirements

This document identifies the types and quantities of resource required for each work package or activity.    It is distinguished from these two other documents that have the word “resource:

  1. Resource breakdown structure (see paragraph below)–this is a preliminary document that is an output of 9.1 Plan Resource Management which just lists the types of resources required for work on the project in general.   The process 9.2 Estimate Activity Resources takes this further in two ways:   it lists not only the types of resources, but also the quantity needed.
  2. Resource calendar–This is a calendar that identifies the working days when each specific resource is available.    This can be done at the level of the project in general, or it can be updated as a result of the process 9.2 Estimate Activity Resources to the level of the work package or activity.

So the resource breakdown structure answers the question of “what” when it comes to resources required for the project, the resource requirements adds the answer to the question “how much”, and the resource calendar adds the answer to the question “when”. Basis of Estimates

Just like for the other two estimating processes, 6.4 Estimate Activity Durations and 7.2 Estimate Costs, it is important to keep track of how the estimation came about so that it is clear how the resource estimate was derived.   That can include items like:

  • Methods used to develop the estimate (bottom-up estimating, analogous estimating, parametric estimating, etc.)
  • Resources used to develop the estimate, particularly information from previous similar projects
  • Assumptions associated with the estimate (these will go in the project document called the Assumption Log–see paragraph
  • Known constraints (from other knowledge areas, such as schedule, budget, scope, risk, etc.)
  • Range of estimates (usually expressed in terms of a plus or minus percentage)
  • Confidence level of estimates (for example, a 90% probability of being able to obtain the resources within a given cost estimate)
  • Documentation of identified risks influencing the estimate (these will go in the risk register) Resource Breakdown Structure

This is a preliminary document that is an output of 9.1 Plan Resource Management which just lists the types of resources required for work on the project in general.   The process 9.2 Estimate Activity Resources takes this further in two ways:   it lists not only the types of resources, but also the quantity needed.   These two documents will be used to acquire and monitor resources in the upcoming processes, starting with 9.3 Acquire Resources. Project Documents Updates


  • Activity attributes–the activity attributes, a description that gives information about each activity, are updated with the resource requirements.
  • Assumption log–updated with assumptions regarding the types and quantities of resources required
  • Lessons learned register–as with a lot of planning processes, the lessons learned register is updated with techniques that were found to be efficient and effective in developing resource estimates



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 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. 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. 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 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. 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. Project Management Information System (PMIS)

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

6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 9.2 Estimate Activity Resources: Inputs

In this process, you estimate the team resources and the physical resources (materials, equipment, and supplies) needed to perform the project.   This process is coordinated with other planning processes, such as Estimate Costs and Estimate Schedule.

9.2.1 Estimate Activity Resources:  Inputs Project Management Plan

The components of the project management plan that are inputs to this process are:

  • Resource management plan–output of process 9.1 Plan Resource Management.  The plan will include methods for identifying and quantifying team and physical resources needed on the project.
  • Scope baseline–identifies the project and product scope need to meet the project objectives.   The purpose of this process is to estimate the resources needed to complete the scope of the project. Project Documents

These are listed alphabetically in the PMBOK® Guide, but I am grouping them based on the knowledge area they were created in.

Integration management

  • Assumption log–this may contain assumptions relating to resources, such as the availability and productivity level of the resources.

Schedule management 

  • Activity attributes–this will be where the estimates will go for the resources required for each activity on the activity list.
  • Activity list–this identifies the activities that will need resources.

Cost management

  • Cost estimates–these may affect the selection of resources depending on the cost of resources with various skill levels.

Resource management

  • Identifies the organization’s schedule so that the availability of specific resources can be identified.

Risk management

  • Risk register–this may contain risks relating to resource selection and availability.  Enterprise Environmental Factors

  • Resource location, availability
  • Published estimating data regarding resources, marketplace conditions
  • Organizational culture Organizational Process Assets

  • Policies and procedures regarding team resources
  • Policies and procedures regarding physical resources
  • Historical information regarding the types of resources used for similar work on previous, similar projects.


6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 9.1 Plan Resource Management: Outputs

The Plan Resource Management has its main output the Resource Management Plan, following the pattern of all other knowledge areas.   The contents of the Resource Management Plan are guidelines and procedures for doing all of the other processes in the resource management knowledge area.


9.1.3 Plan Resource Management:  Outputs Resource Management Plan

The PMBOK® Guide simply lists all of the elements of the Resource Management Plan in alphabetical order.   Here I will list them based on the process of resource management that they support.

Process 9.2 Estimate Activity Resources

  • Identification of resources–methods for identifying and quantifying team and physical resources needed on the project

Process 9.3 Acquire Resources

  • Acquiring resources–guidance on how to acquire team and physical resources for the project.

Process 9.4 Develop Team

  • Roles and responsibilities–listing the roles, authority levels, responsibilities, and competencies of various members of the project team
  • Project organizational charts–this graphically displays the reporting relationships among project team members
  • Training–training strategies for team members
  • Team development–methods for developing the project team from a collection of individuals into a cohesive group working towards the same objectives

Process 9.5 Manage Team

  • Project team resource management–guidance on how project team members should be defined, staffed, managed, and eventually released
  • Recognition plan–which recognition and rewards will be given to team members, and when they will be given

Process 9.6 Control Resources

  • Methods for ensuring adequate physical resources are available as needed.  Includes management of inventory, equipment, and supplies throughout the project life cycle. Team Charter

A charter is a document that establishes the team values, agreements, and operating guidelines for the team.   In my humble opinion, I think the term “charter” is a misnomer, because it implies that a higher authority is granting permission, like the case of the project charter, where the project sponsor is giving authority to the project manager to carry out the project.

The team charter is more like a “covenant” or agreement between members of the team.  For one, it is best when the team itself develops it, or has an opportunity to contribute to its development.  The project team members share responsibility for ensuring the rules documented in the team charter, and by signing on to the charter, they agree to abide by those rules.

The team charter therefore establishes clear expectations regarding acceptable behavior by project team members, either in individual communications or in group settings like meetings, stand-ups, etc. Project Documents Updates

  • Assumption log–this is updated with any assumptions regarding the availability of physical resources and any logistics requirements for getting them to the project at the right time.
  • Risk register–this is updated with risks associated with availability of team and physical resources.

The next post will cover the second planning process for resource management, that of 9.2 Estimate Activity Resources.


6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 9.1 Plan Resource Management: Tools and Techniques

What are the tools and techniques you use when you are creating the Resource Management Plan?   Remember, this planning process creates guidelines that will help in doing all of the other processes for this knowledge area.

There are certain tools and techniques which I call “generic”, meaning that they are used in all planning processes, such as “expert judgment” and “meetings.”   The other tools and techniques are those that are specific to this process of creating the Resource Management Plan. Expert Judgment

You will want to consult with experts who have expertise in the following areas:

  • Determining the resources needed to meet project objectives
  • Estimating lead times required for acquisition of resources, based on lessons learned and market condtiions
  • Negotiating for the best resources within the organization
  • Complying with applicable government and union regulations
  • Determining reporting requirements based on the organizational culture
  • Identifying risks associated with resource acquisition, retention, and release plans
  • Managing sellers and the logistics effort to ensure materials and supplies are available when needed
  • Talent management and personnel development Data Representation

The goal is that each work package in the WBS is assigned an unambiguous owner and that all team  members have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.  The data representation techniques are mainly charts that document these team member roles and responsibilities.

  • Hierarchical charts
    • Work Breakdown Structure or WBS (shows the project deliverables and the WBS dictionary is where you designate the team member assigned to be the owner of that deliverable, i.e., the person who is responsible for getting the work done)
    • Organizational breakdown structure or OBS–this shows the work packages and project activities assigned to each department within the organization
    • Resource breakdown structure or RBS–this is a hierarchical list of all team and physical resources used on the project.   This just lists the types of resources, but does not indicate which work packages or project activities they are being assigned to.
  • Assignment Matrix–A responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) shows the project resources assigned to each work package.   One useful form of this RAM is the RACI chart, where RACI stands for Responsible-Accountable-Consult-Inform.   You are responsible for the work package if you are one of the resources working on it.  You are accountable if you are the overall “owner” of the work package–there can only be one Accountable person for each work package, but there may be several people assigned to it who are Responsible for getting the work done.   Consult means that you are contacted before a decision relating to the work package in order to get your input.   Inform means you are contacted after a decision relating to the work package in order to let you know what is going on.
  • Text-oriented formats–most often used in position descriptions that indicate the resource’s responsibilities, authority level, competencies, and qualifications. Organizational Theory

Organizational theory is useful for gaining insight into how people behave in teams and organizations.   It is useful for learning how to motivate your team members.   There is a lot of information here that is on the PMP exam but is NOT included in the PMBOK guide.  For a review of this important information, see my previous article:

https://4squareviews.com/2013/06/29/5th-edition-pmbok-guide-chapter-9:  theories-of-motivation/ Meetings

This is a generic tool and technique used in ALL planning processes, not just the one for this knowledge area.

Let’s move on in the next post to the outputs of this process.


6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 9.1 Plan Resource Management: Inputs

This post covers the inputs of the first process in the resource management knowledge area, process 9.1 Plan Resource Management.

9.1.1 Plan Resource Management:  Inputs Project Charter

The project charter, the output of process 4.1 Develop Project Charter, contains the high-level description of the end product or result of the project and the requirements that this will have to fulfill.   It also contains a list of key stakeholders and occasionally can be used to list any pre-approved resources for the project.   So, a project sponsor can specify, besides the project manager, specific project team members that the sponsor thinks would work well on the project.    This gives the project manager a lot of leverage in obtaining those resources in process 4.3 Acquire Resources. Project Management Plan

The elements of the project management plan that are potential inputs to this process include the following:

  • Quality management plan–helps define the level of resources that will be required to achieve and maintain the quality metrics for the project.
  • Scope baseline–identifies the deliverables that will require the resources to be managed in this knowledge area Project Documents

  • Project schedule–this show the timeline on the project where resources will be needed
  • Requirements documentation–the requirements will drive the need for the type and amount of resources needed for the project
  • Risk register–threats and opportunities may impact resource planning
  • Stakeholder register–Identifies those stakeholders with a particular interest or impact on the resources needed for the project. Enterprise Environmental Factors

  • Organizational culture and structure (functional, project-oriented, or a matrix organization somewhere in between)
  • Marketplace conditions and geographical distribution of facilities and resource
  • Existing resources competencies and availability Organizational Process Assets

  • Human resource policies and procedures
  • Physical resource management policies, procedures, and templates
  • Safety and security policies
  • Historical information from previous, similar projects

The next post will cover the tools and techniques of this process.