Once defined, a project manager assigns tasks using the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Each project task in the WBS will then have people assigned to it.
The assigned resource will either be a member of the project team or an external contracted resource.
In either case, an assigned resource becomes part of the project team, which means the project manager will track the assigned resource’s progress on the task.
The project manager assigns people to tasks in order to build out the project schedule. They also use the assignments to confirm that all tasks have adequate coverage by resources.
To create task assignments, the project manager uses a task chart, which displays the activities and their associated tasks from the WBS. The project manager can then link individual resources with the tasks. Some charting software even provides resource balancing, so you can see which resources have too many tasks to complete, and which have too few.
Activities may also be linked to people resources, for example, in the case where one person has oversight of an activity. But in most cases, the project manager will be responsible for the completion of the activities.
|TASK CHART||ASSIGNED TO:||TIME:|
|ACTIVITY: Prepare and install voicemail server||RESOURCE: Project Manager|
|TASK: Build computer server||RESOURCE: Eric Blair||2 Days|
|TASK: Connect computer server to network||RESOURCE: Ted Geisel|
|TASK: Install voicemail software||RESOURCE: Alice Sheldon (vendor)|
|TASK: Program functions of voicemail||RESOURCE: Mary Ann Evans|
|TASK: Test functions of voicemail||RESOURCE: David Cornwell|
Assigning tasks prior to creating the schedule also ensures that individuals can provide comments and estimates on their assigned tasks. This results in more accurate schedules and, more importantly, buy-in from those actually involved in the work.
Tasks are assigned to people before the schedule is created so that it is easy to identify tasks where the resources aren't available. Gaps can be filled with additional internal or external resources before the schedule is finalized.
A resource agreement is one method that project managers use to achieve buy-in from team members about their assigned tasks. It is an agreement between the project manager or management and a team member. The resource agreement includes:
Below is an example of a resource agreement related to preparing and installing a voicemail server:
|Eric Blair||Build computer server||100%||16 hours||May use IT intern|
|Eric Blair||Network Engineer||IT|
|Rodney Whitaker||Project Manager||PM|
This document would be formally signed by the team member to show the project manager that the individual is committed to the details contained within the agreement. The document also serves as management's approval of the duration of time the team member can spend on the project. This process of assigning people to tasks continues until all tasks are assigned.
Source: This work is adapted from Sophia Tutorial Author Jeff Carroll.