Resource breakdown structure
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In project management, the resource breakdown structure (RBS) is a hierarchical list of resources related by function and resource type that is used to facilitate planning and controlling of project work. The Resource Breakdown Structure includes, at a minimum, the personnel resources needed for successful completion of a project, and preferably contains all resources on which project funds will be spent, including personnel, tools, machinery, materials, equipment and fees and licenses. Money is not considered a resource in the RBS; only those resources that will cost money are included.
Assignable resources, such as personnel, are typically defined from a functional point of view: "who" is doing the work is identified based on their role within the project, rather than their department or role within the parent companies. In some cases, a geographic division may be preferred. Each descending (lower) level represents an increasingly detailed description of the resource until small enough to be used in conjunction with the work breakdown structure (WBS) to allow the work to be planned, monitored and controlled.
In common practice, only non-expendable (i.e., durable goods) resources are listed in an RBS. Example of hierarchies of resources:
1. Engineering 1.1 Mr. Fred Jones, Manager 1.1.2 Ms. Jane Wagner, Architectural Lead 1.1.3 Software Design Team and Resources 188.8.131.52 Mr. Gary Neimi, Software Engineer 184.108.40.206 Ms. Jackie Toms, UI Designer 220.127.116.11 Standard Time Timesheet (timesheet and project tracking software) 18.104.22.168 Microsoft Project (project scheduling) 22.214.171.124 SQL Server (database) 1.1.4 Hardware Architecture Team and Resources 126.96.36.199 Ms. Korina Johannes, Resource Manager 188.8.131.52 Mr. Yan Xu, Testing Lead 184.108.40.206 Test Stand A 220.127.116.11.1 SAN Group A 18.104.22.168.2 Server A1 22.214.171.124 Test Stand B 126.96.36.199.1 SAN Group B 188.8.131.52.2 Server B1
Both human and physical resources, such as software and test instruments, are listed in the example above. The nomenclature is a numbered, hierarchical list of indented layers, each level adds an additional digit representing. For example, the numeric labels (1.1, 1.1.2) make each resource uniquely identifiable.
Use in Microsoft Project
The RBS (also known as the User Breakdown Structure) fields in a Project file are specifically coded by the administrator of that project, usually the Project Manager. Sometimes a PM Administrator is designated in larger project who will manage the Project tool itself. This field is called the Enterprise Resource Outline Code and it falls into one of two categories, RBS (resource field) and RBS (assignment field). These are high-level fields that require managers who know what these will be used for in terms of the organization.
- Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) – Fourth Edition, page 145. Project Management Institute, 2008.
- Rad, Parviz F. Project Estimating and Cost Management, page 33. Management Concepts, 2001.
- Define Resource Breakdown Structure, Project Team Blog, posted June 26,2012, http://www.projectteamblog.com/index.php/define-resource-breakdown-structure-rbs/
- RBS Fields, Microsoft Office Support page, https://support.office.com/en-au/article/RBS-fields-5d08f8c1-be86-4ea7-b93e-27ba5112427b (retrieved 3/13/2015)