The cave that you are exploring is barely lit by the dying flickering of the torch that you are holding. Your travelling two companions are a few cautious steps ahead of you. What seemed like a good idea in the bright sunlight an hour ago doesn’t seem as well-planned now. Suddenly you hear a rustle that you haven’t heard before. At that moment your torch goes out. Everything is black. You start to dig around in your backpack as you hear your companion ahead of you gasp…
What happens next all depends on what you have in your backpack.
Know What You Have to Use
When we start a project, we often begin by defining the schedule and scope. Equally as often we haven’t done a good inventory of the energy, money, capabilities, and knowledge that we have to complete the work. Starting without understanding what we can do, and where our weaknesses lie can mean trouble, and even death, for the project later on.
Start each project by understanding the resources that are available to you. These resources can be broken into four categories:
Human (people) resources
- These are the people who will be doing the work. What skills and expertise do you have within your organization? What skills can you quickly access by hiring someone else?
- Do you know that the Human Resources that you identify will be available when needed during the project?
- Do you have the raw materials to build the result you are planning?
- Physical resources could include tangible materials. It can also include resources like a software development environment that will support the creation of a new digital product.
- Do you know how you will make the change you are planning?
- Even if you haven’t done it before, do you know the steps that you will have to take to gain the knowledge you need?
- Intellectual Resources are slightly different than Human Resources. Sometimes you have the people with skill and expertise, but they still may need to have additional knowledge before they can complete the project. (For example a licence to use training materials.)
- Do you have enough money to cover the project expenses? This will include salaries, materials, acquiring intellectual resources, and any other needed resource.
Inventory, Then Execute
You may do an inventory of your resources and find that you lack something for a project. You will need to acquire the resource or find another way to produce the result that the resource would have provided. With an inventory, you are prepared for anything because you know what you can deal with, and what you can’t.
Knowing your energy, money, and experience helps identify current strengths and areas where you need to build strength.
A Tool For Resource Inventory
We have created a Resource inventory template for your projects. Download the Resource Inventory template here.