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Key       Critical Resources

Not all project resources are created equal. Some are common enough and in plentiful enough supply to be defined by project requirements and acquired in "bulk". Others are scarce and provide services that are critical to the success of the project. These resources should be identified by name and reserved for the project during the planning phase. Failure to acquire these resources can severely impact your project's chances of success. Once you have acquired these resources, they need to be integrated into the project and have their work carefully planned so that their contributions are maximized.

These are just a few of the resources that may be considered critical to the success of a software development project:

The Build Master

The culmination of the software development team's efforts is the build. The Build Master is to software development as the steel worker is to construction. Steel works produce the girders needed for the building's frame but without the steel workers to assemble it on site there will be no building. The Build Master is also the traffic cop controlling traffic in the project's source library and figures prominently in the organization's configuration management efforts. Put the right Build Master in place and your builds will happen smoothly and on time. Your source library will be clean and all the right configuration items will be stored there. Failure to identify and utilize the right build master will add effort to builds, open your source library to chaos, and can derail your project. Click this link to learn the tricks of the trade for identifying the right Build Master for your project and some advice on how to manage their work.

Team Leads

The project manager of a large, complex software development project will find it very difficult to properly manage a large group of team members, especially if that group is made up of sub-teams. Team leads to the rescue. Because of their focus on delivery of results these people make ideal sub-team leaders. Properly identified, incented, and managed they can provide valuable project management administration help as well as leadership. Click this link to learn how to identify a need for team leads, how to engage them, what incentives to offer, and how to manage them to maximize their contributions.

Software Architects

Software Architects are known by a variety of titles. Some of these are: Chief Architect, Head Architect, and Solutions Architect, as well as Software Architect. The Software Architect is as important to the software development project as the Architect is to the construction of a building. They are both expert in choosing the materials and the form that will fulfill their project's needs. Software architects can ensure your system is a good fit with the organization's existing systems as well as providing the architectural drawing that defines the new system's infrastructure. Click this link for tips on how to acquire this scarce resource and how to plan and manage their work once they are on board with your project.

Database Architects

The business of building the software systems that support the organization's business is not called Information Technology without cause. Very few software systems do not involve the acquisition, management, storage, and retrieval of data in some form or another. Any system that depends on data must also have a repository to hold it and that's where the Database Architect comes in. Whether this person is the organization's Database Administrator (DBA) or someone especially chosen for the role, their job is to ensure that the database and data elements are defined to support the needs of the project. They are also critical in designing a database which will meet the project's performance requirements. It will be impossible to process an order from an existing customer in 10 seconds or less if it takes 15 seconds to retrieve the customer data from the database! Click this link for the tricks of the trade which will help you identify your project's database needs, acquire the right individual and manage their work.

These are just a few of the resources who can be critical to your project. Of course each project will have different needs. Larger, more complex projects will need a wider variety of critical resources and may need more of each. Smaller, simpler projects may not need to fill all of the above roles. It is up to you as the project manager to identify your project's needs. Treat this series of web pages as a resource once you've figured out who you need (and how many). The tips and tricks in these pages are meant to supplement the project management best practices described in the PMBOK. I would encourage anyone who has not yet certified by the PMI to identify a good PMP course, or PMP exam preparation training and then write the certification exam. You can find more information about the certification process on this web site on our
PMP certification page. We also offer a training product, AceIt, which has successfully prepared project managers all over the world to pass their exams.