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What Is Project Management?

A project is an undertaking by one or more people to develop and create a service, product or goal. Project management is the process of overseeing, organizing and guiding an entire project from start to finish. Here are more facts about project management.

Project Management Helps Teams Work Together

A competent project manager pulls together all of the people involved in a project to ensure that tasks are done cooperatively and with regard to the tasks’ effects on other people’s project outcomes. For example, when a new building is being constructed, a project manager will schedule electrical wiring installation before scheduling installation of light fixtures and electrical equipment. If the lighting crew is scheduled before the structure is wired, the lighting crew wastes time arriving on site only to find they can’t perform their work.

Project managers also schedule meetings between various teams to foster cooperation and increased communication about projects. In the example above, the project manager may schedule a meeting during which the electricians explain the wiring, wall-switch operation and receptacle layout to the lighting contractors. Both teams communicate their needs and concerns to help the project move forward without delays.

Project Management Performs Vital Processes

According to the Project Management Institute, five main management processes are used to see a project through to completion. The five processes are:

At the initiating phase, key individuals share ideas about a proposed project. In the planning stages, the project is defined and schedules are created to complete the project in a defined time frame. Execution of the project requires organizing and scheduling supplies, materials and workers to complete the project. Monitoring and controlling in project management is the process of inspecting work, crunching budget numbers and keeping track of deadlines. Closing the project involves site cleanup, turning over the project to the owner, collecting payments and scheduling meetings to discuss the lessons learned from a project.

Project Management Focuses on Key Areas of Knowledge

Project management draws on a diverse set of skills. While project managers don’t need to have in-depth knowledge of all key skill areas, they do need to have a basic understanding of the limitations and concerns of each knowledge area. Project managers need to view a project in its entirety and understand the relationships between costs, quality, supply procurement, human resources, communication, risk management and stakeholder management.

Project Management Requires Document Management

A competent project manager organizes all documentation including invoices, e-mails, bids, proposals, permits, and project changes. The project manager ensures documents are submitted on time and to the correct businesses, agencies or individuals. The project manager is also responsible for secure storage of all project documents.

Project Management Helps Meet Goals

Project management is a relatively new field of practice and study but has become a proven method to meet lofty goals and bring diverse groups of people together for a common purpose.


human resource allocation in project management

human resource allocation in project management

What is Resource Allocation? The 9-Step Guide for Resource Managers

Are you struggling to manage your resources and make the most out of your billable hours? You’re not alone. As the leading resource-allocation platform, we spend a lot of time researching the best ways you can manage your team’s skills needed to complete the project at hand. That means we can help. Some 83% of […]

Are you struggling to manage your resources and make the most out of your billable hours?

You’re not alone. As the leading resource-allocation platform , we spend a lot of time researching the best ways you can manage your team’s skills needed to complete the project at hand. That means we can help.

Some 83% of the resource managers we questioned agreed that putting the right resources in the right place while keeping the team morale up is a challenge in their organization. If you have that feeling, too- it’s time to revisit your approach to resource allocation in a project.

This resource allocation guide will help you understand what resource allocation is and how you can do it effectively. Ideally, this would help you take all the unnecessary stress out of your projects and help you plan ahead in a strong, clear, and comprehensive fashion.

Table of contents

What is human resource allocation, the benefits of resource allocation, pitfall 1: incorrectly assigning the project tasks.

Pitfall 3: The project scope changes

Pitfall 4: project delays, pitfall 5: resources become unavailable, pitfall 6: lack of resource allocation strategy, pitfall 7: remote team management, 1. effective resource allocation starts with the project scope, 2. check both the resource availability and their competence match, 3. pick up the right resources, 4. allocate resources based on the determined attributes, 5. choose a dedicated resource allocation tool, 6. reallocate and rotate talents among teams, 7. double-check the team’s workload, 8. control resource utilization rates, 9. run a post-project review, how employplan helps resource managers allocate resources.

We’ll start by saying that employees aren’t the resource type. Budget, technology, equipment, time, and space – are some other examples of resources, nonhuman resources. According to Britannica , allocating resources means “apportioning productive assets among different uses.”

In the context of human resource management, allocation refers to a company’s assigning work to its employees. Allocating people can become an issue because people are limited resources, whereas human expectations in project planning are usually unlimited and tend to expand.

The optimal resource allocation brings a lot of benefits to the business:

Common resource allocation problems and how to fix them

Let’s look at typical pitfalls in resource allocation and discuss their solutions.

Don’t fall into the trap of assigning tasks based only on resource availability. This data is not enough to ensure the team will do the job well and timely.

Know your resource pool. It’s hard- and soft skills. Most resource managers keep track of people’s most developed skills and assign them tasks on this basis.

It’s critical to get a picture of every person’s skill set to assign and share the same resources among projects effectively. This way, you can see that you’re utilizing the team with their strength in mind.

Make skills assessments more frequently and objectively. Don’t rely solely on self-assessment tests for employees.

Use resource allocation software that automatically tracks and updates every team member’s skills . It will save you time and help improve resource allocation with accurate and consistent data.

Pitfall 2: The project scope creep s

Project scope creep occurs due to poor project planning or sudden changes in the scope of work. For example, the client may ask to add an extra minor feature, and the manager has to ensure that there’s enough flexibility in project schedules to account for these changes. 

When planning the best scenario, create a backup plan and procedures for the project team.

Make sure that people inform you about all the significant changes. Ask them to deliver a document that will outline all these changes so you have it in writing . This would also save time employees spend on reporting.

After receiving such a document, analyze the impact of the change on the project and its outcomes and inform the stakeholders that amendment in resource allocation in the scheme might be necessary, removing some scope to combat scope creep.

Once the decision-makers agree on the project scope, communicate the project tasks, deliverables, and objectives with your team.

The scope change results from decisions from the manager and the client, for example, when new data or information comes to light. When the scope changes, it involves adjusting to the already established budget, timeline, or cost.

Specify what the client expects the project acceptance to look like. Don’t be afraid to manage your client’s expectations and communicate upfront that additional changes require extra costs, approvals, and documentation.

Focus on the basics. Limit the scope of change, even if a minor one, and define a fundamental process for that. Remember, sometimes it’s better to say “no.”

When leading a big or small project – it’s natural to have unexpected delays, and no matter how well the team is organized, you simply can’t avoid them.

Set the SMART project goals. Putting down realistic and clear goals is key to delivering projects on time.

Revisit your people allocation strategy to ensure the right people are in the right projects. If the delay has already happened, adjust the current resource allocation to the changes.

Prioritize tasks . Try reorganizing the original plan, eliminating minor tasks, and setting new realistic deadlines for each task.

Use dedicated project management software to inform you about potential bottlenecks and track the project progress in real-time.

Lack of resource availability can appear suddenly. For example, a person who was supposed to complete five project tasks within one month suddenly gets a better job offer and leaves. The project manager needs to act fast and find the best replacement from the in-house talent pool or come up with an external hire.

Consider using resource allocation software instead of spreadsheets for such occasions to quickly see who among the available resources can replace the missing person.

In the pre-launch stage, create a backup list for at least the most critical jobs on a project.

Talk to the customer and figure out the best strategy together.

Don’t schedule your team to be 100% available. We all know that daily meetings, coffee breaks, and even poor well-being don’t allow people to be 100% productive on their tasks. Go down to 80% availability and, based on that, plan the project workflow. This approach will also help you while calculating the budget.

Ideally, finding the right people for the right projects is a resource management process that goes far beyond a particular task. That’s why a strategic approach to resource allocation can become a critical management lever for successful project delivery.

To eliminate the resource allocation problems, take a look into the company’s skills gap . Continuous workplace learning of employees is much more cost-saving than recruiting additional resources for the projects. This measure requires close cooperation with the educational and HR department, yet this step will significantly improve your resource planning for future projects.

Arrange the skills list of every employee with verified levels of experience.

Monitor the development of the most vital skills in your company. Every company is different and uses a specific employee skillset. The freedom of management should be that you decide what skills you will monitor and develop in people.

Use professional skills trees to identify the upskilling opportunities. Skills trees are maps that define a profession’s abilities which are sorted out in the order of importance. You can find all kinds of IT profession trees on our website and see how to raise a specialist in different areas.

Offer additional online pieces of training or on-site workshops and track the learning progress consistently .

It can be challenging to manage the project and team remotely, even despite the fully-equipped online environment. Resource managers often are tempted to know how many hours people actually work from their homes and expect others to keep up with the project schedule perfectly.

Make open and transparent communication your habit. Express your concerns and encourage people to cooperate.

Inspire employees to compare their skills with others and seek professional enhancement. If done in a sort of game, it will motivate people to self-develop and create a healthy professional community.

Trust your people. Business performance amplifies when people feel united with the same goals, mutual trust, and respect.

Give more time flexibility to the people. At the end of the day, what is really important is the delivered job, not fitting into the perfect employee image.

How do you allocate human resources?

Before you consider anybody to do anything on a project, it’s vital to understand the project plan and its tasks.

The three constants of every project are cost, scope, and time. Together they make up a Project Management Triangle that directly impacts the human allocation process. For example, without a sufficient budget, you simply can’t engage too many people with the project.

If you want to learn more about dependencies in the project management triangle, we’d recommend reading this article.

In short, successful project management requires answering the following questions:

Before you start allocating resources, you need to know where you are standing. Foremost, this means analyzing the available talent pool. Learn about employees’ skills and how people see themselves in your organization.

The goal here is to ensure that the right people, with the right set of skills, are working in the right place. Who among your current colleagues has the skills related to a project?

Now that you are fully aware of what your current staff situation is, you’ll need to think ahead and identify potential team members. Basically, you will be answering a few questions:

At this stage, it’s time to review the available workforce and select the ones that fit the project demands in time, scope, and cost. It’s good to visualize the given data with a mindmap, summary spreadsheet, or a project team scheme.

Managers have to make sure that each of the allocated resources has sufficient attributes to carry out the project work. Consider the resource attributes like grade, skill, quality, and availability. After gathering all the resource attributes, a resource manager gains a sufficient amount of information for moving on in the resource allocation process.

Managers quite often have to acquire the necessary resources before the other competing projects overtake them. Most resource managers prefer using a dedicated resource allocation tool simply because it’s more comfortable and effective than a manual resource allocation.

If you’re in a situation where you need to distribute limited resources among multiple projects or your colleagues from other projects hog resources violently, a resource allocation tool will help you solve the issues fairly.

A resource may have performance issues, and you’ll need to find a replacement. A resource with a niche skill may be required in another high-priority project. According to McKinsey , “the fundamental goal of resource reallocation is to embed agility in the organization so it can move as opportunities shift”. Reallocating people among projects will help you see the talent utilization opportunities as well as create a plan B in case of unavailable resources.

A successful resource allocation is one that doesn’t waste scarce resources. On the other hand, when scheduling teams across multiple projects, there’s always a chance to overload every single team member.

The most critical management lever is to ensure the project’s success and balance out the people’s well-being. In your project management tool, pay attention to the notifications about overload and adjust your resource allocation strategy to it.

Resource utilization rates control one of the main insights for the resource allocation process. Utilization rate = Hours worked ÷ Total available hours * 100.

Looking at employee utilization rates, resource and project managers can notice where demand is the highest. Moreover, a concise overview of utilization rates could help you either identify opportunities to scale the company or find the most appropriate tasks to allocate resources.

The main thing to remember about the utilization rates – they shouldn’t go too high or too low, which would mean underutilization or overutilization of staff accordingly.

When the project lands in the “completed” folder, host a team meeting to analyze its successes and challenges. From initiation to the closing of the project, acknowledge the successes of the team and identify the techniques and approaches that worked and the ones that didn’t.

Recognize and reward individual and team successes, and use this as an opportunity to reflect on what went well and what could be improved. Use this feedback to inform your future resource management decisions and continuously improve your processes. Additionally, use this time to learn from any mistakes or challenges that may have occurred during the project and develop a plan to prevent them from happening in the future.

Remember, effective resource management is an ongoing process and continuous learning is key to success.

Allocating resources in project management should be simple, fast, cost-saving, and strategic – and this is the core of the resource allocation system at EmployPlan. With our people recommendations, the project manager gets (with one click) recommendations of people who fit the projects. This allows the company to get a quick idea of what people resources they have and assign specialists to projects much more effectively and fast.

On top of that, we created talent pools for companies to have access to the most talented specialists who are open to finding a new project. Managers can use the project slot at EmployPlant as the job description – and find the most skilled person for that job in a few minutes.

Now that you’ve read how to allocate resources effectively, let’s put this knowledge into practice.

If there would be only one takeaway from this article, we’d advise every project manager to understand and map out the in-house capabilities and track their development consistently. It’s key to robust resource planning, which focuses on the sustainable development of teams and organizations, helping them achieve their goals.

Since you strive for project success, it’s vital to optimize employees’ workload, ensure effective employee rotation, and offer space for continuous workplace learning.

Do you have more ideas on handling resource allocation challenges? Feel free to share some of your tips in the comments!

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Resource Allocation: 6 Steps Every Project Manager Should Know

Here's everything you need to assign the best available resources to tasks and projects..

Stella Inabo

Stella Inabo

Resource allocation helps project managers schedule the best team for the job, and optimize how work is assigned.

Project managers have to match team members to the right tasks to deliver projects on time and within budget. 

Effective resource allocation—the process of assigning tasks to the right team members—is at the heart of every successful project.

But there is a fine line between assigning tasks to the right people and overworking some team members while underutilizing others. According to Float's Global Agency Productivity Report, 74% of workers say they are overbooked once a month. And 26% say having too much on their plate is a regular occurrence. Burdened with too much work, team members might feel exhausted. 

While resource management isn't always easy, it is essential. In fact, 83% percent of executives said the allocation of resources was the most critical management lever for growth. In 2021, it was the third biggest project management challenge for businesses.

We created this guide to show how you can develop a resource allocation process that empowers your team, prevents burnout, and saves money.

What is resource allocation in project management?

To better understand better, let's start with a resource allocation definition.

Resource allocation is the process of assigning the best available resources to tasks and projects. 

Resource allocation manages workloads to ensure under or overutilization doesn't happen. Then, if needed, people are reassigned based on current resource availability and project timelines. It goes hand in hand with capacity planning .

The benefits of resource allocation

There’s a reason resource allocation is a top priority among enterprises, small businesses, and everything in between. Without it, things can get out of hand and lead to employee burnout, poor performance, and missed deadlines.

Let’s look at the advantages of efficient resource allocation.

Helps you plan  

Resource allocation can prevent overspending on resources you don’t need or stop you from running short of them halfway through a project. When you have the right tools, you can quickly see the availability of resources and timelines for projects in the pipeline and plan accordingly. 

Resource allocation software also gives a better view of your talent pool. It simplifies selecting the best people for each project and task, which improves the likelihood of success.

The bottom line? More profit for your business.

Improves team well-being and morale

Poor resource management can lead to burnout among your workforce. When that happens, productivity and performance decrease and happiness disappears. Consider that:

When you allocate resources effectively, you can avoid all these negative effects. This requires taking into account actual availability—not just what’s written on paper. For example, rather than calculating 40 hours per week per full-time employee, you consider potential sick days, vacation time, and other work tasks on their to-do list. 

Taking this approach minimizes the chances of overloading employees and maintains their well-being and morale. 

Keeps everybody in the loop

When collaborating on a project, it is essential to track progress. That usually means regular updates on the status of tasks, issues, and milestones. If you’re using manual tools, this will eat up your time and increase the odds of making mistakes. 

However, with resource allocation software, you can reduce errors and promote transparency. Every member of the team can track the progress of tasks, and you can quickly send reports back to stakeholders. 

It may even help you cut back on daily meetings (and make the ones you do have more productive 🤗).

How to build a resource allocation process

Here's a 6-step resource allocation process that will get your team working smarter—not harder.

1. Map out your upcoming project

If you don't have a clear picture of what tasks are needed to complete a project, it becomes challenging to allocate resources effectively. This is why we recommend mapping out new projects in advance. 

With the project spec in mind, try to come up with answers to the following questions:  

Visually seeing what (and who) you need makes decision-making easier. Maybe you have limited resources and need to hire new employees or temporary contractors to fill in gaps. Perhaps you need to assign more than one person to a task to prevent bottlenecks. 

Using a resource management tool like Float, you can create tentative projects and plan ahead of time. This helps you estimate timelines and identify available resources before starting a project. 

2. Get to know the availability of your resources

Once you've mapped out any upcoming projects, knowing your team's availability top to bottom before kick-off is crucial to success.

Your business is likely juggling multiple projects at once—not to mention you are managing your team's overall availability. Sick leave, time off, and public holidays all affect your team's availability. If you use a spreadsheet, it makes it more difficult to spot these gaps and you could end up booking someone on a project only to discover they are not available. 

Your best bet is to use a resource management tool. Float gives you a bird's-eye view of your team's schedule (including meetings) and their capacity. You can even filter team members by customizable tags to find out who is available to take on work.

human resource allocation in project management

3. Assign tasks and get feedback from team members 

After determining your team's availability, the next step is to delegate tasks to each person. 

For your project to succeed, team members have to know their responsibilities, dependencies, and due dates for each task. Float's integrations with project management tools make it easy to drag and drop imported tasks directly onto your team's schedule. The resource allocator has a full view of availability and can easily detect an overloaded workload and prevent double booking.

Let's say you think a design brief should take roughly two hours to complete, and you assign the task as a block into their resource calendar . You check in with the designer, and you find out that your estimate is off and they need an extra hour to finish their task. All you have to do is adjust the team member's schedule, so they immediately get more time to get the task done right. 🙌

Use Float to save time on manual follow up with @mentions in the notes of any task, time off, or project. Simply type "@" followed by their name. Depending on their settings, notifications are sent via email, Slack, or mobile push. For example, you might alert your manager when you schedule new tentative time off or to check in on a teammate's progress on a task.

4. Choose a resource allocation tool

Keeping track of everything your team is working on isn't easy, so it makes sense to use resource allocation tools to shoulder some of the load. Software creates a level of transparency that meetings and whiteboards simply can't.

Project managers can put things like budget tracking on autopilot while keeping a close eye on their team's calendars in real time. Erin Ward is a studio manager at web design agency Mixd . She manages an ever-expanding team and ensures on-time delivery for all studio projects. One of her strategies is providing the team with an endless supply of homemade cakes (jealous! 🍰). But she also says keeping projects on track comes down to their agency operations. This is possible by using a dedicated planning tool (in their case, Float) to allocate project resources.

"Team visibility is important for us at Mixd. We can see at a glance where our resources are tied up, both in the immediate and near future, which is invaluable when planning future work. We need a simple tool that doesn't get in the way of this important part of running a busy studio. For us, Float is exactly that."

Float is software designed specifically for resource allocation. It works hand-in-hand with your favorite project management tools like Jira, Asana, Trello, Teamwork, and WorkflowMax via direct integrations . 

Project managers can plan tasks in their project management tool and then use Float's visual calendar to allocate them based on their team's workload. The calendar makes it easy to see who's maxed out and who can take on more work. And in cases when you need to schedule a new task, the cost (e.g., the hourly rate x billable hours) is subtracted from the project budget . The budget summary will display red when a project is over budget.

human resource allocation in project management

5. Monitor the progress of the project

After assigning tasks, you will likely need to make changes as the project progresses. You might discover that you have too many resources at your disposal—or worse—you might have overloaded your team and are in danger of missing a deadline.

Knowing how many people are available to work on a project can make the difference in getting it delivered on time and within budget. In cases where that's not possible, it's essential to remain flexible and ready to make changes when necessary.  According to McKinsey , a fundamental goal of resource reallocation is to make moves as opportunities shift. To overcome internal problems with your most important resource (your people), it's important to:

Look out for team members who are overcapacity—especially those working on multiple projects at once. One way to spot overloaded team members is by looking at their time logged. If you notice someone is working more than 40 hours a week, it might make sense to take some work off their plate and allocate it elsewhere. 

Let's say your agency has a new project to work on, but your senior designer has a full calendar for the month. Instead of overloading them, a project manager can look at the availability of all the team's designers and find someone with free time. Or you can adjust the timeline for the project to a time when the designer will be available.

6. Run a post-project evaluation

At the end of any project, host a post-project evaluation to see what worked (and, more importantly) what didn't. Some basic post-project questions to consider are:

Don't hold back in these meetings—it's crucial everyone involved is open and honest about the triumphs and mistakes of the project. Doing so will help your project managers (and the rest of your team) plan and predict the needs of future projects more effectively.

Using resource allocation software, it's easy to pull data. You'll be able to spot which roadblocks you hit and if the estimated hours allocated matched up with the actual project lifecycle.

human resource allocation in project management

How to handle resource allocation problems

Even if you adopt all the right tools and follow resource allocation best practices, you will probably still run into problems. Hiccups are going to happen, so it's best to be prepared! 

Let's take a look at some of the top challenges project managers face and how to overcome them. 

The project scope changes

You did your best to plan resource allocation for your upcoming projects, but there's still the chance of scope creep. Maybe the tasks were more extensive than expected or required skills you didn't account for. 

You need to be nimble and adjust your resources accordingly when this happens. To prevent scope creep , you should:

Sometimes it's impossible to avoid scope creep. In such cases, having a scope change process helps you adapt fast and get back on course. It may look something like this:

Resources become unavailable 

Uncontrollable outside forces prevent scarce resources from showing up as expected. A worker's car breaks down, and they can't get to the office. Or maybe they have other priorities in the organization that trumps working on a task you assigned them. What matters is what you do next.

Work quickly to find a replacement within your talent pool. If there's no one available with the skills you need, hiring a freelancer or contractor may be the best option. You can prevent this in the future by looking at task dependencies. Investigate other responsibilities team members have that may pull them away from the project.

Have a backup resource allocation plan if they are unavailable for whatever reason. One option is to have a pool of freelancers you can count on to fill in gaps on a whim. Temporary staff could be the backup if freelancers aren't an option. 

Resources need to be shared

It's common for projects to share the same resources. This is especially true in smaller organizations that can't afford to hire an extensive staff roster. As you can imagine, shared resources can lead to issues that bog down the pipeline. Project bottlenecks may occur if resources are spread too thin. 

Use your resource allocation software to spot gaps in advance. Closely monitor workloads of team members who move between several departments. It's the best way to prevent over-allocating resources and burnout. 

Unexpected delays 

A delay can hit when you least expect it. People get sick, labor shortages arise, and miscommunication happens. That's when scope creep may rear its ugly head. Some issues are within your control, and others, not so much.

The most straightforward way to deal with issues is to try your best to prevent them in the first place. You can:

The more organized and transparent your resource allocation, the easier it is for everyone to take accountability for their role.

Manage your team’s availability on autopilot with resource allocation software

Integrate directly with Google or Outlook calendar. Set custom work days and hours, schedule time off, import public holidays, and set a status to let everyone know where you’re working from. With Float you get a live view to plan your team’s capacity and workload, to allocate resources with confidence.

A smarter resource allocation strategy empowers your team

Managing resources effectively can make or break any project. More importantly, it can keep your team (again, your most important resource) from burning out.

Resource allocation may not be rocket science. But it's often overlooked by project managers in terms of its importance. Whether you’re a team of two or 200, allocating your resources successfully depends on your ability to identify and utilize their individual skill sets and manage their availability.

With the right tools and resource management in place, it's easier than ever to keep your team happy and deliver successful projects.

Looking for a tool to help your team allocate resources? Join the thousands of creative teams that manage their remote teams using Float. Start your free trial here . 

Plan your resources with the #1 rated resource management software

Allocate resources with the #1 rated resource management software

With Float, you can plan your projects and allocate resources with confidence. Try it free for 30 days, no credit card required.

Related reads

Resource allocation and capacity planning: what's the difference, the ultimate guide to resource planning for project managers, project planning: a 7-step guide to creating effective plans.

What Is Resource Allocation? 12 Resource Allocation Tips for Projects


Resources are varied. Everything from the people you’re working with and the equipment they’re using, to the materials and other supplies you need, to even the site where you’re working: it all falls under the umbrella of resources. That’s a lot to allocate! Let’s define resource allocation and then run through some allocation tips.

What Is Resource Allocation?

Resource allocation is an important part of and resource scheduling, which is the scheduling of tasks and the associated resources that those tasks require to be completed. Part of resource allocation is knowing the availability of your resources and scheduling them to coincide with your project timeline.

When allocating resources, it can be for the project or non-project activities, such as administration, support, operations, etc. These resources can be either fully or partially available, which has to be taken into account when scheduling resources. When the project scope changes or project requirements change, resource allocation must also pivot to accommodate these changes.

As difficult as it might be to allocate resources correctly over the life cycle of a project, it’s an essential part of any thorough project management plan and should be done in the planning stage of a project. This helps keep costs down, maximizes productivity and helps with team morale, as well as facilitates client satisfaction by achieving the best outcome and successfully delivering the project.

Once you’ve identified your resources and you’re ready to allocate them to tasks, add them to your project management software. That way you can coordinate them with your project schedule and distribute them across your team. In ProjectManager for instance, you can manage your project schedule, your team and your non-human resources in one place. Build your schedule on a Gantt and track your resource distribution, progress and labor costs in one software. Try it free today!

Allocate resources on the ProjectManager Gantt chart

How to Allocate Resources on a Project

Resource allocation is a plan that you develop with the aim of making the most of the available resources at your disposal in a project, which makes it a critical resource planning activity. This is mostly a short-term plan set in place to achieve goals in the future.

This sounds challenging, but don’t worry we’ve got your back. The following are some general tips to help you with your resource allocation when managing a project.

1. Know Your Scope

Before you can allocate your resources or manage them , you have to determine the scope of the project you’re working on. Is it a big or small project, long or short?

Once you have those questions answered, then you can make the right decision on what resources you’ll need and how many of them are necessary to complete the project.

The clearer the project scope is, the better you’ll be able to figure out how to allocate your resources. Therefore, take the time to get the full picture of the project prior to doing any resource allocation.

2. Identify Resources

You know the scope, objective and tasks for your project needed to be on time and within the budget approved, now you have to get your resources together.

But that doesn’t mean you have an unlimited pool from which to pull. So, you have to see who’s currently available, what equipment you’re going to need or purchase and where are you going to perform the tasks for this project, and is that space available.

Before you can allocate resources, you have to have them. So, make a list using the criteria above and then make sure it fits within the budget allotted for the project.

3. Don’t Procrastinate

You’re a project manager. You live and die by your planning. Resource allocation is no different. Waiting until something has gone awry means you have to scramble to get it back on track if that’s even possible.

It’s inevitable that resources will need reallocation. What plan have you ever created that was set in stone? Therefore, in the planning process, you should take some time to research where and when you might have a blocked team member or task dependencies.

By setting up a resource plan and noting these red-flag warnings, and more importantly figuring out how you’ll respond to them, beforehand, you’re prepared to handle them when they arise. And they’ll always arise.

Related: Resource Planning Template

4. Think Holistically

It’s a problem when you’re so focused on the process that you neglect to lift your head up from the project plan to note what is actually happening. This isn’t merely checking your estimates against actual progress in the project, though that is important, too.

What you must always be aware of is the state of your resources. For example, what is the schedule for your team, are any taking vacation time, are they sick, etc.? Also, what is the duration of the lease for the site or equipment? These are important questions to ask when scheduling resources.

Don’t let any of these details get past you because of tunnel vision. Look at the whole project, not just the various pieces, as captivating as it can be to lose oneself in project metrics.

5. Know Your Resource Dependencies

One way to allocate resources is by not having to allocate them at all. This isn’t as mystical as it might sound. It involves something far less magical and more practical, planning.

By planning beforehand, you can avoid bottlenecks that trap your resources when you need them most in the course of the project execution . Planning also helps you keep your resources from falling short. This doesn’t mean you won’t have a bottleneck or resource shortage, but it’s less likely if you know your resource dependencies.

Part of planning for dependencies is having a contingency plan in place in case team members are blocked or you run low on needed resources. Keep your plans from being over-dependent on one resource to avoid trouble down the line.

6. Track Time

You always want to keep a close eye on the time, how your team is working and if they’re being efficient. It’s your job to make sure that a task that can be completed in a day doesn’t take a week. There are ways to improve time tracking .

To do this you must keep track of your team’s workload. That requires the right tools to give you real-time data collected on one page where you can both see and schedule ahead when needed.

7. Use Tools

Project management software, like ProjectManager , is a great asset to managing your resources more productively. With an online tool, you get project data instantly updated.

You can see where your resources are allocated across a calendar that is color-coded to note whether they’re on- or off-task, on vacation or sick. Rescheduling to help a team member who is overtasked is a simple click of the keyboard.

To see exactly how much project and resource management software can help you allocate resources, watch the short video below. It illustrates all of the benefits of our scheduling features, real-time dashboards, team management tools and more. When there are so many resources to manage, and so many stakeholders to satisfy, do yourself a favor and invest in a tool that will make your life a little bit easier.

Project management training video (cb6j12d0dg)

8. Don’t Over-allocate

Many managers over-allocate, whether because of poor planning or an inability to say no, which doesn’t help. Instead of bringing in the project on time and within budget, over-allocation threatens team burnout.

Be honest. Do you suffer from this bad habit? If so, stay vigilant and avoid it. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll tarnish team morale and the quality of their project work.

It’s unfair to expect so much from your resources that they break. Re-examine your resource plan and make use of it to allocate the resources you have for the project evenly.

9. Be Realistic

While it’s good practice to be prepared for issues that might arise in your project, you don’t want to hog resources by adding too many people or days to your schedule.

When you do this, you’re skewing the project estimate and messing with the effectiveness of long-term planning. It’s going to take from your bottom line.

Remember when we mentioned comparing your estimated to actual utilization? This is where that process helps keep you properly allocated. Using a tool, as we noted above, is also key to getting an accurate sense of how the project is going.

10. Have a Routine

As a manager, you plan and then you execute and monitor . It’s all very structured. But sometimes things like resource allocation falls through the cracks, which is only going to come back and haunt you.

Therefore, you want to set up regular check-ins, say a specific day and time every week, to go through your resources, check your PM tools and make sure no one is over-tasked for the week’s work ahead.

Another thing you can do is speak with your team members, get a sense of what’s going on with them on the front lines of the project, and ask if they have any issues. By setting up a routine check-in and keeping updated with your PM software, you get a clear sense of your resources.

Related:   Best Resource Management Software

11. Know Your Resources

You can’t manage what you don’t know. You should know the experience and skills and personality of very resources that you’ve tasked or allocated to support the project.

For example, you should create a profile for each of the members of your project team. What are their skills and experience? The more you know about them, the better you’ll be able to place them in the project and assign tasks that they can best perform.

You probably have something like this already from when you were assembling your team and had written a job description for each of them. Keep those files up to date as their skills and experiences broaden. This is essential for meeting project requirements .

12. Use Resource Reports

You can reallocate if you don’t know where you’re resources are allocated. You might have planned them out well, but change happens in projects. How can you tell what is happening on the ground as compared to your plans? Reports.

You can generate all sorts of reports to give you a full picture of the project and how it’s progressing, which helps you balance your resources. For example, there are resource reports that give you an overview of your team’s workload and whether they’re over-tasked or idle.

Task reports keep you updated and variance reports help you determine whether the project is proceeding as planned. The latter gives you vital information, such as if you’re behind schedule and need to redistribute the work to get back on track.

ProjectManager's status report filter

Free Resource Allocation Templates

Resources allocation requires accurate and timely data to avoid bottlenecks that can slow down your project. Project management software is the most efficient way to manage your resources, but if you don’t have an online resource management tool there are templates that can help. ProjectManager has free templates for every phase of your project, including ones to help with resource allocation. Here are a few.

Requirement Gathering Template

Before you can allocate your resources, you need to understand what’s required. The free requirement gathering template for Word acts as a means of communication between the stakeholders and the project team. This ensures quality deliverables that meet specifications.

RACI Matrix Template

You’ll also need to organize your resources before you can properly allocate them. Our free RACI matrix template for Excel is a place where you can define the roles and responsibilities of the team members. RACI stands for responsible, accountable, consulted and informed, and the free template helps you place everyone involved in the project within one of those quadrants.

Resource Plan Template

Now you’re ready to build a resource plan to help you manage your resource allocation. Our free resource plan template for Excel lists all the resources you’ll need for the project, how much each will cost and a monthly, weekly or daily chart of when you’ll need them. This helps you organize and schedule your resources: each tab on the template can be customized to match your production schedule .

If you’re looking for a project management tool that can help you implement those tips and manage your resources properly, then look no further. ProjectManager has all the features mentioned above to help you manage your resources, and it’s cloud-based software, which means the information you’re working with is in real-time. See how it can help you by taking this free 30-day trial today!  

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Resource Allocation: A Guide on How to Apply it on Project Management

December 11, 2020

Resources are limited and also the most expensive investment for any business. Therefore, how an organization utilizes its scarce resources has a direct impact on ROI. Project delivery is adversely affected unless the right resources are allocated to the right project.

A Resource manager needs to consider employee’s skills, qualifications, experience, cost, availability, and specific interests before allocating them to the projects.

Assigning an experienced resource for a generic position can cause lower employee engagement and spike the project resource cost . On the contrary, a junior resource taking up an important role will create employee burnout and affect delivery.

The resource allocation method is an essential component of the project management process. Many successful companies have implemented a comprehensive resource allocation framework with the help of appropriate tools and techniques.

According to a 2017 PMI study, “ 62% of organizations use resource management tools for resource allocation. “

This guide aims to cover the essential aspects and objectives of resource allocation in project management. Before delving deep, let us start with the basics, such as the definition of resource allocation.

1. What is Resource Allocation in Project Management?

Resource allocation, also known as resource scheduling , involves identifying and assigning resources to various activities for a specific period. It also monitors the resource’s workload throughout the project life cycle and reassigns them if necessary.

Types of Resources:

On an enterprise level, resources can be human and non-human. Some examples of resources for the projects are:

They constitute team members or employees and contingent staff with different skill sets and form the backbone of any project.


It includes everything from software to hardware, depending on the organization’s type.


It comprises the environment needed for executing a project, such as a conference room or office space.

These are the consumables required to generate outputs. For example, office stationery, raw materials to build a house.

Finance needed to purchase any of the above resources.

A Complete Guide to Resource Allocation in Project Management

2. Examples of Resource Allocation in Project Management

An efficient resource allocation strategy allows the effective distribution of the available resources to several projects. This activity also requires regular updates to achieve the future goal of the organization.

A project manager often needs to carry out delivery responsibilities with fewer resources. So how to do project resource allocation under these circumstances? Does one identify each resource’s primary skill set and assign them to open positions, or is there a better way?

Let’s look at some of the specific scenarios in a project:

These are all pertinent questions and do not have any standard answers. The decision on resource allocation in a matrix organization depends on its current situation and immediate priorities. At times resources may need to be out rotated from a low-priority project with suitable backfill depending on business priority. These are some of the examples of resource allocation problems in a dynamic business environment.

The Definitive Guide to Resource Scheduling

3. What are common Resource Allocation Problems in Project Management?

Although resource managers initially conduct the allocation process, continuous change in project demands makes it a daunting task. Let us analyze some of the common resource allocation problems.

3.1 Use of legacy tools or spreadsheets:

Many organizations are still using homegrown half-baked solutions like spreadsheets for project resource allocation because it is readily available. These legacy tools fail to provide accurate real-time data for resource allocation, leading to discrepancies and double bookings. Spreadsheets are incredibly time-consuming, limiting, and a nightmare to maintain.

According to Marketwatch, “ 88% of spreadsheets have errors. ”

3.2 Frequent changes in project scope:

In an agile world, the project scope can change anytime during its lifecycle. Change in project requirements can lead to fluctuating resource demands. So, without an updated resource schedule , frequent allocations to meet the dynamic demands becomes challenging. Sudden closure of a large project will also increase the bench size that can affect the bottom line.

3.3 Unable to predict resource availability:

While allocating resources to a project, resource managers typically look at the existing resource pool. Additionally, they need to have a backup contingency resource allocation plan rather than entirely relying on a specific person. Some team members can suddenly fall sick, or it may be difficult to get time out of a shared resource because of other commitments. Since resource availability can suddenly change, it can be a roadblock in project resource allocation.

The Definitive Guide to Resource Scheduling

3.4 Project uncertainties causing delays:

Even after meticulously ticking all the checkboxes such as project scope and constraints, uncertainties can crop up anytime during the project lifecycle. There could be a delay in the project start date, and you may need to block certain resources without billing. Project managers must promptly respond to these project uncertainties, e.g., dynamic resource allocation, including juggling resources within projects or reassigning them.

3.5 Limited resources in a multi-project environment:

Some organizations run multiple projects simultaneously, which means sharing limited resources to complete the delivery. Negotiating with other project managers over the same resources could lead to a change in project priorities for one of the projects. It also means that one of the other projects gets stalled and eventually delayed.

3.6 Lack of knowledge and communication:

Sometimes, project managers lack business knowledge. Due to communication gaps with the team members, they cannot estimate the resource requirements on time. With an incorrect resource demand , the project lands up with either an excess or shortfall of resources. It gets noticed during the execution, and the project can get adversely impacted. Excess resources will blow up the project cost , where fewer resources can cause delivery delays.

3.7 Location and time zone differences:

Due to globalization, many organizations have implemented an onsite/offshore/nearshore strategy to control cost. Resources are allocated in different geographies covering different time zones for the same project. As a result, there is a lack of coordination between the key members, which can cause project delays. Limited overlapping business hours between the two countries can only provide a small window to hold important meetings and knowledge sharing.

The Fundamentals of Leadership in Project Management

4. Importance of Resource Allocation in Project Management

Unavailability of a critical resource can cause project delay and adversely affect overall task dependencies.

According to PMI, “ 50% of projects fail to deliver on time out of which 23% cite poor resource allocation as the primary cause ”.

A systematic resource allocation process ensures that resources are available when required. Let’s look at some of the benefits of resource allocation in project management.

4.1 Minimize project resource cost significantly:

Resource allocation tool helps you to identify and allocate the best-fit resource instead of first-visible resources. It enables you to deploy cost-effective global resources across matrix boundaries, thereby reducing project resource costs significantly. Resource allocation in project management maintains profitability by uniformly distributing resources across all projects instead of assigning them to a high priority one.

Deloitte Global Cost Survey reveals, “ Cost reduction scores over other business initiatives. ”

4.2 Maximize profitable resource utilization:

Simply assigning all your resources to projects does not ensure profitability. They could be working on non-billable or mundane operational tasks. Businesses must ensure optimum resource utilization, and resource allocation helps achieve that and more. Using real-time information and forecasting methods , resource managers can take corrective measures to avoid under or overallocation in advance. Mobilizing resources from non-billable work and allocating them to strategic/billable work ensures profitability.

Workforce Planning: How to Master it for Business Efficiency

4.3 Find the right resource using centralized visibility:

A resource allocation tool captures resource-related information in real-time and consolidates them on a centralized platform. 360-degree visibility helps assign resources to projects based on qualifications, skills, experience, availability, costs, and other selection criteria. Centralized visibility and real-time updates avoid data redundancy and discrepancies that could lead to double booking chaos. It is one of the significant benefits of resource allocation.

4.4 Deliver projects on time and within budget:

Delivering projects on time and within budget ensures project success, increases client satisfaction, and maintains your organization’s reputation. Efficient allocation of resources in project management ensures that under or over skilled resources are not assigned to projects. Under skilled resources cause project delays, whereas overqualified team members can spike project resource costs. Therefore, resource allocation is critical to project management.

4.5 Diversify employee skill sets for increased billability:

Encouraging employees to possess multiple skills enhances their billability. Allocating resources on different projects allow them to build secondary skills in addition to sharpening their primary skills. Focused training programs and on the job-experience further helps them to improve their capabilities. Secondary skills come in handy to make them billable if they are not deployable using primary skills.

4.6 Solve resource constraints with smart allocation techniques:

In a multi-project environment, intelligent allocation of resources involves generating more ROI using the existing pool. What-if analysis allows you to build different scenarios and simulate each of them using the resource constraints. After comparing and analyzing each scenario, resource managers can help arrive at the best possible outcome. It can then be applied to the project schedule.

4.7 Improve employee engagement and productivity:

One of resource allocation best practices involves assigning resources to project tasks based on their skills and interest. Providing an environment for self-development, skill-building, and staying abreast with current technology-trends, motivate them. By giving them the right opportunities, resource managers can effectively manage the bench and improve overall billability. The employees also feel more responsible and take ownership of their job, which increases engagement and productivity .

A Complete Guide to Resource Allocation in Project Management

5. What are the Steps of Resource Allocation in Project Management?

Resources can be either fully or partially available. Resource managers need to consider this while making allocation decisions that ensure optimum utilization . So, how do you allocate resources in a complex project environment? In this section, we describe the essential steps of resource allocation in project management.

5.1 Create a project plan using an appropriate tool

It is necessary to divide each project into several tasks and create their dependencies. This process is known as work break down structure (WBS), and it is the minimum requirement to create a project plan . Two tasks can be executed either sequentially or in parallel based on their relationship. The critical path within a project plan determines the minimum time required to complete the project. This information can be used within a project management tool to provide a Gantt-chart view. Resource allocation is an integral component of this process because resources are assigned to each task for its completion.

5.2 Identify resource requirements for project tasks

Once the project is successfully divided into tasks, the resources can be assigned as appropriate. The task may require both human and non-human resources, depending on the nature of the work. For human resources, it is necessary to identify the skills and competencies. For a non-human resource such as machinery, determine the equipment specifications before assigning to a task.

PwC Project Management Insights states, “ 30% of project failure results from lack of resources. ”

5.3 Find available resources with matching skill set

Using resource allocation software, one can easily identify the availability of a resource within the pool for matching skills. It is also possible to search for equipment with matching specifications that can be used for a specific duration. The tool provides a mechanism to update each resource’s skills and competencies in real-time with proper verification.

A Complete Guide to Resource Allocation in Project Management

5.4 Bridge the demand-capacity gap using multiple channels

If a human resource with the matching requirements does not exist, one can hire or use contingency resources. Similarly, if the said equipment is not available, it can be taken on lease or procured depending on the resourcing strategy. All relevant costs need to be factored into project financials. Once the resources are selected for a specific project, the process of allocation of resources begins.

5.5 Allocate resources as per demand

Once the resources are identified and established, they are assigned to specific tasks. Sometimes the resources may not be available when they are needed to perform the task. If you opt for a new hire for a specific task, the person may decide not to join at the last moment.

It may be necessary to have a backup plan for this resource. For critical positions, the person could be asked to join a little early so that he/she is available when work starts.

5.6 Re-allocate resources between projects if required

Re-allocation of resources is necessary during the project life cycle for various reasons. A resource may have performance issues which may need replacement. A resource with a niche skill may be required in another high priority project. So, one needs to out rotate the person with a suitable backfill so that the current project does not suffer. Some of the positions can fall vacant due to attrition and needs replacing. The project manager also can rotate resources within the same project with different roles.

5.7 Track and monitor resource usage

It is necessary to track the performance of each resource to implement an effective resource allocation process. In an ideal situation, the resource must not be over/under-allocated or over /underutilized .

However, it is very difficult to ensure this for every resource when you have a large pool to manage. The experience of the project manager and some amount of subjectivity plays a big role in deciding this. The dashboards and reports from resource allocation software can help in decision making.

A Complete Guide to Resource Allocation in Project Management

6. How to Solve Runtime Resource Allocation Challenges?

Most of the allocation of resources related activities take place during the initiation phase of a project. The projects can be short-term or long-term, and resource demand can vary. The project may require additional resources, or some of the existing resources may need to be rolled off. But what happens if the initial resource allocation goes wrong as you have onboarded incompatible resources in a hurry?

It can create a major stumbling block in the delivery and must be course-corrected ASAP. We refer to this situation as a runtime resource allocation challenge. Following techniques can mitigate some of these challenges as a part of a new resource allocation strategy.

Resource Leveling

In this case, the start and finish dates of the projects are adjusted based on resource constraints. One can adjust the project timeline, but it isn’t easy to get additional resources. For example, the research projects may have this kind of flexibility. The manager needs to rework and create a revised schedule to identify the new completion date using given resources.

Resource Smoothing

There is no flexibility around the project timeline in resource smoothing, and the work must complete within a specific time. However, the project manager has the flexibility to add and remove resources during the lifecycle as required to deliver the time-bound project. Availability of resources is assumed.

Additional mentoring using SME

If the existing resources do not meet the 100% requirement, they can be given additional opportunities to learn on the job. Positions requiring multiple skills are challenging to fulfill. A person meeting a certain percentage of the requirement can be given a chance with additional mentoring. It is provided by identified subject matter experts (SMEs) to fast-track his competencies. The SMEs could be either external persons or someone within the project.

Independent Audit

An independent audit can be carried out if there are governance issues that has resulted in an improper allocation of resources. Experienced project managers usually do this within the organization or with the help of consulting firms. The concerned person needs to engage with both the client and the internal team to bring the project back on track.

If the resource allocation strategy is flawed at the beginning of the project, it can derail the overall delivery objective. It is expensive to revisit   allocation of resources when the project is in execution mode. Every project manager would like to avoid such a situation. But unfortunately, this can happen due to many factors that are beyond their control.

Signs of resource underutilization and (how to) course correct them

7. Summary of Resource Planning and Allocation

In conclusion, we describe some of the resource allocation best practices:


8. The Glossary:

A Comprehensive Guide to Resource Planning in Project Management

9. The Saviom Solution:

SAVIOM is the market leader in offering the most powerful and configurable solutions in managing enterprise resources efficiently and effectively. Having more than 20 years of experience, this Australian based MNC has a global presence in over 50 countries and has helped more than 100 customers address their business needs. SAVIOM also provides smart solutions for project portfolio management, professional service automation, and workforce planning software .

Please contact us to discuss your business challenges and significantly reduce project resource costs!

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Resource Allocation – The Guide for Project Managers and Resource Managers

Table of Contents:

Resource allocation helps you to choose the best available assets for multiple projects and manage them throughout the work, so you can avoid under or overutilization of your employees. Sadly, not all project managers use it to their advantage. 

What will you get thank to this article:

Only 26% of companies always use resource management to estimate and allocate resources, and 36% of them do it often, according to the PMI survey (“Pulse of the Profession”).  At the same time, less than 60% of projects meet the original budget and barely 50% of them are being completed on time, the same study says.

The functions of resource allocation in project management processes

Resource allocation in the context of project management and its process.

Many project managers who want to introduce what project management is, use the Project Management Institute (PMI) definition. According to the last one, project management is about using whatever it takes to deliver something helpful to people – as they say, to “deliver value to people”. 

To be more precise, the APM believes that project management is about using some competencies, abilities, talents, expertise, tools, machines, instruments, software, methods, techniques, and processes to “deliver value to people”. 

Resource allocation and project management process

The phrase “value to people” stimulates us to suppose that outcome of project management could be everything. A house, an app, a park, or even some social movements, including a crusade, LGPT, or religion. Anything which is useful for some digit of individuals.

The above-mentioned comments are the reason why we – the business-embedded people – use the definition proposed by the Association for Project Management (APM). The proposed understanding of project management contains criteria that help with splitting just management from project management. Let’s take a look:

Project management is the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge, and experience to achieve specific project objectives according to the project acceptance criteria within agreed parameters. Project management has final deliverables that are constrained to a finite timescale and budget.

Why resource allocation important is? Good managing resources help with bringing the project success

When we compare both the APM and the PMI definitions, we see some nearness. Both are about running things and using knowledge, experience, methods, etc get the things done.  But only the last characterization of project management is – we’d like to say – businesslike. 

The time, budget, and “project acceptance criteria” are the aspects of – let’s say – the real project management (and of course, resource management or resource allocation processes). All we know is that in the business relations world any project has its objective. And any has to be done at a certain time, within a given budget, and must be endorsed by the principal – whether a customer or a director in your company.

And here is the main distinction between management and project management. Just management is a continuous, ongoing process. Project management has its final outcome provided within a finite time span and budget. 

This distinction has the consequence that project management is not just a process, but a structured process. It is called the project management life cycle and it usually takes the form of 5 phases. 

Just like the Ganntic company – our competitor in the resource allocation systems market – resource allocation and resource planning (its an alternative term for resource management) are aspects of the project management life cycle process. They are responsible for planning, organizing resources (employees), and measuring their productivity (yes, it’s the 4th phase of the project management process mentioned above). 

Resource allocation – the most difficult part of the project management process

Now we know where to find resource management in the context of the project management life cycle. It’s time for understanding resource management. Why? Because resource allocation is part of resource management, and resource management – as you already know – is part of project management processes.

Thanks to the APM Body of Knowledge, we know resources are understood very widely. Money, tools, machinery, technology, and – the most important one – people and their skills. Resources mean everything that is requested to finalize a task and project.

So what’s the connection between resource allocation and resource management (resource planning)? Let’s take a look at the definition given by the APM. For them, resource management is: 

(...) acquiring, allocating and managing the resources(...) required for a project. Resource management ensures that internal and external resources are used effectively on time and to budget.

As we see, identical to the definition of project management, time and budget are those aspects that are critical in this process. And we shouldn’t exclude “acceptance criteria” as well. 

Nevertheless, resource management is understood as the process of planning, selecting, scheduling, and allocating resources to meet the acceptance criteria and finish the project.

In resource management and resource allocation as the element is about identifying available and sufficient resources, and matching them with appropriate tasks at the right time. And the function of the resource or project manager is to identify the employees with relevant skills and experience (so-called, resources) to deliver the work, (its part of planning), and decide when the particular resources will be required (via resource allocation or resource scheduling).

This article could force some less experienced ones to think it shouldn’t be difficult to do. So, at the end of this chapter, we’re going to use the annual report that comes from Wellington company.

human resource allocation in project management

Very serious and very various images of resource allocation in project management

Before we will talk about the meaning of resource allocation in project management, let’s begin with an understanding of one of the most important terms in this article – resources. Thanks for this introductory paragraph you will better feel the differences between some definitions of resource allocation mentioned in the paragraph below.

As you can imagine, resources can be absolutely different – from material to non-material. And is no different in the context of resource allocation but understanding what “resource” means depends on the industry where is in use.

Resource allocation in project management and project schedule it's the main role of project management tool

Resource allocation – the meanings’ comparisons and propositions

In this chapter, you’ll see many brands – including our business competitors.  We compare a few definitions and meanings presented by Brittanica Dictionary, but also our well-recognizable competitors – Wrike, Resource Guru, or TeamGantt company. The meanings from more general to more exact and related to project management activities.

Cambridge Dictionary informs that resource allocation is

a process of dividing money, skills, etc. between departments of an organization.

More strict in another very recognizable Brittanica Dictionary, that suggests the economical background of our term. Allocation of resources is understood as an:

apportionment of productive assets among different uses. (Brittanica Dictionary)

An effective resource allocation process assume a great resource allocation plan to avoid resource conflicts

But – as a part, let’s say, a project management industry – we will be focusing on meaning connected to this branch. So, Float – our competitor and well-known resource allocation in project management software provider – informs us in one of its blog articles that r esource allocation is the process of appointing and handling assets to help a team’s tasks, projects, and strategic objectives.

But when continuing reading and being more accurate, Float emphasizes two aspects of resource allocation. The first is the matching. Allocation means matching employees’ or team members’ competencies, and experience to the right projects or tasks. And (relevant) matching is one of two key elements of its resource allocation understanding. 

And secondly, ensure each team member, and each employee taking part in the project is able to execute every assignment and any task in the pipeline.

From Saviom’s perspective, another software that is aimed at helping project managers in resource management processes:

Resource allocation, also known as resource scheduling, recognizes and assigns resources for a specific period to various activities.

These activities – as we read in other places written – can be related to the project or cannot. Admin, support, operation, etc. Here Saviom draws attention to recognition as the first important element of a resource allocation process. Second – like many others – assigning. The third element is “specific period”.

Poor resource allocation software won't help in the implementation of any project plan

On the website we’re informed that the resource allocation term means the same as resource management and resource scheduling (more about that in the next paragraph). And actually, from their perspective, resource allocation is just a resource scheduling that takes into account available resources required by a task or project to be finished with expected results.

Closing this chapter, we would say simply:

Resource allocation simply means assigning resources (mostly people, their skills, including their availability, current or previous performance, and time management skills) across various tasks in a project to work toward your deadlines in the most effective and economical way possible.

Resource allocation de facto involves the availability of resources, current and expected skills, (participating in processes that will ensure the use of available resources, either alone or in cooperation with HR or an external company), experience (both project managers and employees), estimations, dependencies, priorities, and change requests that appear during the whole journey of product development or project management.

From this point is entitled to say that the last one meaning suggests that resource allocation is a result of many choices behind it. The last decision of choosing the right resources is preceded by micro-decisions that influence team performance and determine the project’s success.

Resource allocation vs a few other terms  – they aren’t the same?

This part could be also the part above but because of its importance, we’ve decided to talk about this topic in a separate paragraph. Why? 

Treating “resource allocation” as a synonym for “resource scheduling” (i.e. Saviom) and even “resource management” (i.e. Project Manager) isn’t quite new. But the project manager’s environment and university representative, there is no consent to equate one term with another or a third. For some of them, allocation of resources is a resource management process.  

Systematic resource allocation process and working on existing resources help with finishing project tasks

In Wikipedia, we witnessed such information which isn’t quite close to PMI suggestions:

In project management, resource allocation or resource management is the scheduling of activities and the resources required by those activities while taking into consideration both the resource availability and the project time. 

From the Project Management Institute’s perspective, it’s not quite true. A few of the aspects presented above definition are true: availability of resources and project time. But what about the budget? Mostly the budget determines the time when something can be done. Because, if you have the budget, you can get decide the accessibility of resources – people participating in the project and any other resources (tools, equipment, etc.).

Resource allocation also takes into account the availability, capacity, and utilization of resources across a firm but should not be confused with resource scheduling.

From the perspective:

Resource scheduling refers to the set of actions and methodology used by organizations to efficiently assign the resources they have to jobs, tasks, or projects they need to complete, and the schedule starts and ends dates for each task or project based on resource availability.

Float suggests resource scheduling is a process used by teams to organize and structure their employees so the tasks they need to complete are scheduled based on availability and capability.

But Resource Guru emphasizes the role of recognizing or identifying the accurate wink when resources should be assigned. They understand resource scheduling as a process of identifying precisely which resources are required and then scheduling when they’re needed. From this perspective, properly allocated resources are the result of very good identification of employees with relevant skills (or just suitable skills among available employees) that assure the project will be done with expected requirements. Of course, this assumes a project or resource manager that can perfectly, or at least very well, assess employees’ potential and their helpful role in a particular project. 

Nevertheless, keeping the above considerations in mind and those about resource allocation in project management, it’s hard to resist the feeling that understanding the role of allocation of resources has appeared many times as a part of project resource management or even the resource scheduling process. But treatment as a synonym is also legitimate.

The most important metrics for resource allocation in project management?

Problems faced by r esource allocation in project management 

Resource management is prone to several challenges that you need to be aware of to properly allocate resources and manage them throughout the project.

1. Client changes

As a project manager, you might have already experienced how changes to the scope, timeline or budget can affect project delivery. With resource allocation, it’s actually the same – having an up-to-date resource calendar will help you to smoothly adjust resources once the changes appear.

2. Availability of resources

Starting off a new project , ideally, you could use any resources you need that are available at your company. But what if your agency is running multiple projects and you have to negotiate over the same resources with other PMs? Or what if a given team member is out on their sick leave? Availability changes and you have to monitor it all the time to spot threats to your project’s delivery.

Resource allocation in project management

3. Project dependencies

Allocating resources you need to include project dependencies, which are a form of a relationship between the tasks or activities in the project. For example, in IT projects there are tasks that can only be done after some other ones are completed, so there’s no point to hog resources early on.

4. Project uncertainties

Even if you’ve checked all the boxes when starting off a project, and agreed on the timeline , the budget, and the scope, there’re always things you can’t predict. Resource management requires you to be able to respond to proje ct uncertainties, e.g. by shifting resources from other projects or re-assigning them.

5. Priorities across the company

If your company runs multiple projects simultaneously, you and your peers may have to share limited resources, very often in a similar timeframe. But even if you manage to negotiate over resources you both need, there may be a change in priorities regarding one of the projects.

Resource allocation in project management – how to do it better?

Let’s take a look at how to effectively use the resources at your disposal.

1. Know the project and the team

Only by knowing the scope and resources available at your company, you can properly assign team members to your project.

Start by creating a high-level plan of the project , consisting of its requirements and deliverables. Then, as you know exactly whom you will need to complete the project, you can use a skills matrix to discover which employees at your company to involve.

Or, if you’re a Teamdeck user, you can simply filter your employees by their skills, spotting relevant employees and their existing bookings in no time:

Resource allocation strategy includes resource scheduling

As you’re filtering by the people you’d like to book for your project, check their availability to see if they are actually free to join your project. The simple availability bar helps a lot:

Resource availability in the resource allocation process

At this point, the rule of thumb is to not get carried away and over-allocate resources for the project. Actually, resource-hogging is considered a mistake project managers make to protect themselves from uncertainties. But, in turn, it makes project estimates and long-term plans inaccurate, affecting the company’s bottom line.

Always think of the big picture while allocating resources. Check the bookings already made by other PMs to spot resources you may both need, in case you should adjust your schedule to that.

Knowing when your team members have their days off helps, too. See the yellow entries below? You need to include them in your estimate, as that’s exactly when these employees will be unavailable. Similarly, you can spot national holidays taking place during your project.

Leave management feature inform a project managers on available resources

2. Uncover risks early on

We’ve talked about it a bit in the resource management challenges section. As a project manager, you are well aware of risks like client reviews, delays, personal emergencies, competing projects, etc. They interfere with the allocation of resources, too.

Once one of the above-mentioned challenges occurs, you need to adjust your bookings. Having a high-level overview of resources at your organization will help you find other resources more quickly, re-allocate resources, extend or cut existing bookings, or even delete some if needed.

3. Keep track of the project

Remember how resource allocation is about improving the effectiveness of your team’s utility? Now is the time to check how you’re team is doing. You can do it by measuring resource utilization .

Start with tracking the time and workload. In Teamdeck, you can easily spot employees with too much or too little (which can also be an issue) to do. Remember the availability bar? Overtime is marked with red color, while the unutilized time is white.

Measuring resource utilization, you can also use a simple formula:

Resource utilization = Busy time / Available time

This way you can quickly find out whether your team is booked to its full potential, or not.

During the project, it’s also recommended to compare estimates with actuals once in a while and re-allocate resources if you need to. Chances are that because of some changes you need to adjust bookings to avoid under or overutilization of your resources, and to meet the project’s requirements.

Setting up regular check-ins with your team will help you to spot these threats, too.

As a project manager, you may also be responsible for tracking your project’s budget . You can do it based on your team’s timesheets, multiplying the number of hours they’ve spent on the project by the rate you charge your client per hour. Again, by comparing estimates with actuals, you can see if you’re on the budget, or not.

4. Analyze the project

Using the data you gathered during past projects will give you a huge advantage. Based on that data, you will be able to better plan and manage your future projects. Having a resource management software with custom reports helps a lot, as you can then organize that data to calculate different metrics, like employee payroll or sales KPIs .

Systematic resource allocation process and working on existing resources help with finishing project tasks

Benefits of resource allocation

As you can see, by following the right processes and using a complete resource management tool, you can make resource allocation easier and benefit from it in many ways: - the project management tool for resource allocation process - signup

Are you looking for software to increase resource allocation in project management? Try Teamdeck – the dedicated solution for resource allocation

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2023 Best Guide to Resource Allocation in Project Management

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Fred Wilson


The success or failure of a project is largely dependent on the resources allocated to it. For resource allocation in project management, PMs have to keep an eye on all the aspects of the project.

Resources in project management include employees, equipment, budget facilities , etc. Optimizing the use of these resources is the first and foremost important step in project management.  The limited number of resources have to be utilized in such a way so as to maximize return on investment (ROI) and minimize losses.

Amongst all the resources necessary for the successful completion of a project, human resources or people take the top spot as the most essential resources in project management. As such, utilizing the full extent of people’s skillset and making sure that the right people are assigned to the right task is a demanding job.

Project managers have to take into consideration a number of variables to make sure resource allocation in project management is inch-perfect. In this article, we will give you a rundown of resource allocation in project management and its specifics.

What Is Resource Allocation?


First things first, what is resource allocation? Resource allocation means identifying the best people for the job and assigning them tasks necessary for the completion of a project. It also implies monitoring the performance of the said resource and reallocating a different resource if needed.

Resource allocation in project management aims to make sure that the workflow progresses smoothly and the project is completed on time, without any hiccups.

Since resource allocation is a critical part of project management, PMs have to carefully assess the resources and assign the best resources to get the job done efficiently.

What Makes Resource Allocation an Integral Part of Project Management?

Assigning the right resources for a task is a critical step in project management, making the right decision in this step can have a significant impact on the success of the project .

A slight delay on part of the resource can delay the delivery of the entire project, posing a threat to the relationship between the customer and the company.

In addition, misallocation of resources can also have an impact on the quality of the deliverables. Since you aim for maximum satisfaction, you cannot risk betting on an amateur or incompetent resource, you have to be clear as a day on your choices.

In addition, resource allocation in project management can also help you forecast issues that might arise due to the gaps in the skills and abilities of the resources. As such, you can ready yourself for the potential issues and take preparatory steps to ensure the smooth flow of the project.

Lastly, efficient allocation of resources means quality work delivered on time. It ensures better productivity and efficiency of the team leading to better profitability for the company.

Featured Readings:

The 11 Best Resource Management Software of 2023

7 Best Apps to Improve Your Task Planning Process

How To Do Resource Allocation in Project Management?

PMs have to be extra careful when assigning resources to tasks. So, how to de resource allocation in project management? Is there a cheat sheet to ace this step? Not exactly a cheat sheet but, we have created a guideline that might help you do the perfect resource allocation in project management.

1. Identify The Scope of Your Project and Divide It into Smaller Deliverables

The first thing you have to do as a project manager while allocating resources is to identify the scope of your project . Knowing the ins and outs of your project is critical for proper resource allocation.

You will not be able to do the task efficiently unless you realize the requirements of the project.

Determining the skillset required for the successful completion of the project, the number of resources needed, the budget, the aims and objectives of the project , and the time duration required for the accomplishment of the project should be your top priority. Only after knowing these details would you be able to allocate your resources properly.

Once you have identified the requirements of the project , the next step is to create a workflow. You must divide your project into smaller, deliverable tasks. The division of the tasks will help you narrow down the resources needed for each task.

Add Subtasks

You can also set deadlines for each task in the workflow to make sure tasks are completed on time and the project reaches its end on time.

2. Determine The Abilities of Your Resources and Their Availability for The Project

The next step in resource allocation is determining the skillset of the available resources. While assigning a resource to a task, you have to consider the requirements of the task and the abilities of the resource.

Besides looking into the abilities of the resource, you also have to consider their availability for the project.

3. Compare The Required Skillset with Available Skillset of The Resources

This step is probably the easiest but the most important of all. By now, you must have a clear understanding of the requirements of the projects and the skills of your available resources, the next step is to identify which resource’s skills match the concerned task.

Comparing and matching the skills will help you verify which resources are the perfect choice for each task.

4. Assign Relevant Resources to The Tasks

Task Completion and Time Estimates

You have now confirmed all the prerequisites for resource allocation, now it is time to allocate the resources to relevant tasks. Since you have already assessed the details of the project , there should be no problems in assigning resources to different tasks in the workflow.

Make sure that the resources also have clarity about the goals of the project and the things expected of them. This will help them improve their performance and enhance their efficiency.

5. Set Deadlines


To make sure tasks are completed on time and there are no hiccups in the process, you have to set deadlines for each task.

Keep in mind the delivery date for the project, the ability of the concerned resource, and the requirements of the task to schedule deadlines for each task. You also have to ascertain that the assigned resources follow the timeline and complete their tasks on time.

6. Track The Performance of Your Resources

If you think that was the end of your role in the process then, unfortunately, no. Your work is not done, the next step in resource allocation is keeping track of the performance of your resources.

You cannot leave the resources on their own designs, neither can you abandon the project wholly. To make sure employees are staying on track and the tasks are completed on time, you must have an eagle eye on the process.

One way of keeping track of your resources without being nosy is to employ project management tools. Project management tools have wide-ranging functions. You can not only track the performance of your employees but also create workflows for multiple projects from start to end.

7. Reallocate Resources If Needed

While tracking the progress of the project, if you identify a discrepancy in the process, you can reallocate resources for the task in question.

Reallocation is not to be frowned upon. A resource might find it difficult to keep up with the demands of the projects, they might be facing an emergency crisis, or for any other reason, they might not be able to keep up with the project.

You cannot let an employee hold back the progress of the whole team. This will disrupt the flow of the process and will also create more problems within the team.

All aside, a task may not prove to be the right one for the assigned resource. A problem in the workflow might demand the skill of a more experienced employee.

In such cases, reallocating a different resource to the tasks is the right decision .

Factors Affecting Resource Allocation


While allocating resources to the project, you might face the following challenges:

1. Changes In the Scope of The Project

Projects are always prone to changes. The changes in question can be as small as adding a sentence or as big as writing a whole essay from scratch. Your resource allocation plan should be flexible enough to accommodate any and every change that may threaten the progress of your project.

2. Lack Of Resources

Having qualified, skilled resources is a must for the success of the project. You have to have resources with all the skills required, otherwise, your project might not be able to reach a good end.

3. Availability Of the Resources

What if you have the best, most talented resources but they are not available for your project? What if they are sick, on vacation, or just working on other, more important projects? You will have to work your way around their schedule to make sure everything falls in place and they successfully work on your project.

4. Project Dependencies

Often, tasks are in a kind of chain reaction wherein the completion of one task leads to the initiation of the next. The delay in even one of the tasks can disturb the whole chain reaction. So, be ready to tackle any hurdles that come your way to ensure the on-time completion of every task in the workflow.

5. Inefficient Planning

Planning is the first phase of every process. Inefficient planning can cost you your whole project. You must carve out a perfect resource plan in the early stages of the process to make sure nothing goes wrong along the way.

6. Lack Of Teamwork

When working as a team, you have to make sure that all the team members are on the same page and there are no differences between the members. A unified team will work in sync and complete all the tasks on time.

Uniting the team is also a responsibility that falls under your wing since you have to lead all the team members. Make sure all the teammates understand the roles and responsibilities of the project and are one with the team.

Resource Allocation in nTask

Job Role

Project management tools are one of your best options when it comes to resource allocation. We might be a little bit biased here but we can’t help it. With the hordes of features, nTask is our best pick for resource allocation.

nTask is a project management software offering multiple management modules, each loaded with a wide range of features. Along with its various other features, nTask offers resource planning tools to help you in the allocation of resources for the project.

On top of its highly efficient features, the tool has a surprisingly easy onboarding process supported by its user-friendly interface.

With nTask you can:

nTask is an all-encompassing tool that will simplify the process for you and make your ride less bumpy.

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Stay on top of your resource management, with nTask

Manage documents, teams, tasks, resources and projects with nTask. Sign up today!

It’s A Wrap!

The efficient completion of a project is highly dependent on its resources and the right allocation of these resources is of crucial importance while handling a project. A slight miscalculation can cost you the success of your project.

We have just outlined the steps for resource allocation, the challenges you might face, and the best tool for the process. We sincerely hope that you will benefit from the information.

Best of luck!

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