Resources and Cost – A Community Garden

We get asked a LOT what OnePager can provide in terms of displaying resource and cost data.  The question doesn’t come in a specific way.  It really is this generic: “Can you display resource and cost data?”

First, let’s answer the question:  YES.

OnePager can display resource data, but resource data is an attribute of the activities and milestones in your timeline or Gantt chart.  The charts that OnePager produces will always be items on a timeline.  But, resource data can be displayed on or around the activity and milestone markers, or be used to organize/group the markers into swimlanes, specific shapes, colors, etc.  Above is an example.

Second, let’s talk about the question, because usually the people asking it are in the process of figuring out how to tackle a problem the organization has presented to them: Get a better handle on resources and cost!


It’s sort of like saying you want a community garden without knowing anything about what that will entail.  It’s going to take a LOT of coordination, work and investigation to get it right, and a commitment to ongoing maintenance once it’s set up.  Without both, you will likely never have the homegrown yield you dreamed of, but rather a new patch of earth dedicated to growing native grasses and weeds.

Personally, I believe this has mostly to do with a broad lack of understanding of what it takes to set up, estimate, and manage resources and cost, combined with a desire to do so.  The biggest shock, in this case, will be that accomplishing it requires a significant investment.

Here are some considerations for Resources and Cost Estimating to help get the wheels turning:

  1. Will you need to track different types of resources (human, material, other)?
  2. Will you have multiple resources per activity?
  3. Will the cost per resource fluctuate over time?
  4. Will resource availability or allocation vary over time?
  5. Will the person responsible for managing resources need to estimate contours in resource assignments?
  6. What accrual method is needed?
  7. Will you need to track costs in multiple currencies?
  8. What reports will be necessary and how often?
  9. Is a comprehensive plan completed and has it been agreed to by the resources responsible for each activity?
  10. Is there a dedicated planning resource who will add and manage all the resource data?
  11. Is the organization committed from the top down to inputting data to assist with tracking and managing time/cost?

As you can see, there is a lot to think about, but the key is a commitment to generating and maintaining the data.  This is going to take a lot of time, both initially and ongoing.

WorkAvailability ReportIn our experience, when it comes to reporting and tracking, the out of the box items in Microsoft Project and most PPM tools, in combination with Excel (the far superior application for graphical reports) and OnePager’s visuals, will suffice for understanding resources and cost at any level and from any angle.  Above is an example.

We would love your comments or input, either here or on our OnePager LinkedIn User Group!

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