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Resources Gap and Project Team Definition

A frequent reason for difficulties or failure in projects is to underestimate the importance of the project team.

Frequently, projects are executed with teams of inadequate size and composition. The reason behind is a poor comprehension of the nature and amount of the work to be done, and a superficial or inexistent analysis of the required skills in the team members.

To engineer the project team is an important process to be done carefully. To do that, it’s fundamental first to have a clear understanding of the nature of the scope of the work. A good requirements elicitation, a correct project scope definition and a detailed work breakdown structure are key process to ensure the comprehension of work that the project involve.

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Once the work breakdown structure is clear, is the moment to meditate on the preassigned human resources to the project team. ¿It is suitable in quantity and quality? The organization has a fixed staff, or the organization hire people to create a dedicated team for the project? Probably the answer will depend on the organization and in the particular project.

To define the team, the first step is to assign to each activity or work package, the required number of people with their associated qualifications or expertise. Once finished this exercise, it’s necessary to check the timeframe of the execution of the tasks. For instance, if several activities that requires the same specialists can be done in sequence, the number of persons to consider in the team are few than in the case if the activities should be executed in parallel.

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This optimization it’s only be possible when the problem is quantitative (number of people), but not in the case in which the resource gap is qualitative. For instance, if the project requires a doctor in robotics, you can’t do the same job with people who don’t have knowledge in robotics, even if sponsors give you the double or the triple time. This is obvious, but frequently is forgotten.Here there is a degree of freedom: you can trade off the number of people with the execution time. The same set of activities can be executed slower with less people or faster with more people. Therefore, there is an optimization analysis to be done. Off course, this analysis is constrained in certain limits. For example, a task originally planned to do with three people can be accelerated if you introduce two additional persons, but if you add ten persons, they will obstruct the fluid development of the task. In this case you are only producing entropy, and the task will not be finished early.

An instrument or tool to identify the gap of skilled people in the project team is the resource gap table. A resource gap tablet looks like that:

Skills or Qualifications




Risk & Consequences

Dr. in Robotics




Conceptual engineering can’t be done properly

Mechatronics Engineers




Work Overload

Possible Delays





Work Overload

Possible Delays

Being conscious of the project team resource gap is important in the planning process. It is useful for ask for resources, time or, in the worst case, at least to be conscious of the risks and communicate them opportunely to stakeholders.

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