What is Resource Scheduling in Project Management And How to Make This Process Seamless?

Resource scheduling in project management

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The success of any project depends on many factors but certainly includes the availability of competent workers, sufficient finance, facilities, equipment, and other necessary assets. This is where proper resource scheduling plays a dominant role.

Being a part of resource management, this cornerstone process ensures that all your assets are in the right place at the right time.

What insights do you need to have and which steps should you take to become a true resource scheduling guru?

By immersing yourself in this article, you can study the following:

What is resource scheduling?

Resource scheduling is the process of assigning available resources to various tasks and projects over a specific period in an efficient way. The main purpose of this process is to optimize the utilization of work assets to meet project deadlines, reduce costs, and guarantee that there’s no overloading or underallocation at any stage of a project.

According to the statistics (2023), 63% of companies completed their project within the provided budget and even less.

Companies performing within the established budget
Image source: SaaSworthy

In many ways, this achievement was made possible thanks to high-quality resource scheduling at an early stage of project preparation.

Project management resource scheduling involves planning, controlling, and allocating resources such as facilities, labor, equipment, materials, and other assets available at the right time to complete the required tasks.

A clear example of this process is described by Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedpm.com:

What is the difference between resource planning and resource scheduling?

Resource planning and resource scheduling are crucial PM components. They both focus on the right utilization and allocation of work assets but target different phases of the resource management process. 

Let’s briefly explore a breakdown of their differences.

What is the difference between resource planning and resource scheduling?

Resource planning

  • Main idea. A strategic process that is focused on planning the necessary assets essential for the successful execution of a project. The process involves identifying the specific types and amounts of resources needed and the periods during which they will be utilized.
  • Goal. The primary goal of this PM process is to guarantee the availability of essential assets in the appropriate amounts and at the correct time to meet all business objectives.
  • Focus. The process emphasizes identifying the necessary resources, quantifying the needed amounts, and determining the timing for their utilization throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Procedures. This process contains the steps of determining required resources, calculating both the quantity and kind of these assets, evaluating their availability, and formulating a plan to procure the required resources.
  • Timing. Managers plan resources during the initial stage of project planning. It typically precedes the detailed scheduling activities and lays the groundwork for subsequent resource allocation and project scheduling.

Resource scheduling

  • Main idea. A procedure of allocating identified resources to particular tasks or activities within a set timeline with consideration for the resources’ availability and the overall project schedule.
  • Goal. The core goal is to distribute resources in a way that maximizes their use and guarantees the project’s tasks are completed on time without overuse or scheduling conflicts.
  • Focus. The emphasis is placed on the precise assignment of resources to tasks, taking into account the specific timing, duration, and availability of assets to prevent scheduling conflicts and enhance project efficiency.
  • Procedures. This process includes the creation of a comprehensive schedule detailing the usage timing and location for each resource. It modifies allocations according to resource availability and resolves any arising conflicts or bottlenecks.
  • Timing. This is a continuous process that occurs throughout the project lifecycle. It starts to be more detailed following the resource planning phase and is subject to adjustments as the project moves forward.

Why is resource scheduling important in project management?

Project specialists in many professional areas practice resource scheduling whether they call it by that name or not. 

As with any PM practice, resource scheduling must be high-quality and timely completed. Otherwise, problems and inferior processes cannot be avoided.

This is confirmed by the study conducted by the Project Management Institute (2020). It found that approximately 11.4% of all resources in the modern business landscape are wasted due to inferior PM processes.

How inferior PM processes affect resources
Image source: PMI Pulse of Profession

Incidentally, resource planning is not solely crucial for resource managers, as it often falls within the scope of project managers’ duties as well.

This fine line of responsibility is not always easy to grasp, but, in any case, it is worth striving to improve this process. 

Donna Fitzgerald, the founder of Nimble PM and chief product evangelist at ProSymmetry agrees:

Detailing the importance of resource scheduling, it’s worth noting the points followed below.

The importance of resource scheduling
  • Advances project planning. By scheduling resources early on, managers can more precisely map out a project timeline, identifying critical paths and potential obstacles before they become problematic.
  • Saves time. The process streamlines workflows by clarifying that everyone knows what to do and when keeping a project on course, and saving valuable time.
  • Increases flexibility. A comprehensive view of how resources are distributed enables project managers to be flexible and swiftly adjust to unexpected hurdles, ensuring minimal disruption to the project’s progress.
  • Boosts team productivity. Effective asset scheduling helps prevent overwork, thereby sustaining high productivity levels from start to finish.
  • Supports quality assurance. Assigning tasks based on team members’ expertise and availability through careful scheduling ensures the project meets set standards and quality benchmarks.
  • Elevates customer satisfaction. Completing work on schedule and to the expected quality standards leads to happier customer expectations. The ability to swiftly address changes and possible resource constraints reflects positively on a company, opening doors to future opportunities.

The full puzzle of the resource planning importance will come together when you consider the benefits that this process provides.

Benefits of resource scheduling

Effective resource scheduling in project management enables the identification of appropriate resources for specific tasks. This strategic approach maximizes asset utilization and empowers collaboration, productivity, and overall project success.

Below is the list of the most vivid benefits of resource scheduling in project management.

Resource scheduling benefits
  • Maximized resource utilization. One of the benefits of resource scheduling relates to the streamlined allocation of resources across various projects. Coordinating resources with tasks according to their availability and project needs maximizes asset utilization. This approach results in improved project outcomes and increased productivity.
  • Improved project visibility and control. Resource scheduling provides a comprehensive view of project time frames and resource needs that enables executives to make better decisions. This overview assists in identifying potential roadblocks early on, allowing for timely interventions to keep projects on track and within budget.
  • Better financial efficiency. If you wonder how to allocate resources profitably for your budget, efficient asset scheduling is key. Managing project finances by ensuring resources are allocated where they are most needed helps to avoid unnecessary expenditures. It identifies areas where money can be minimized without compromising quality, ensuring the project remains financially viable.
  • Enhanced communication. A collaborative work environment is what proper resource scheduling fosters as well. It prevents resource conflicts and ensures that employees are well-informed about project developments. This clarity helps in reducing conflicts over resource allocation and promotes better cooperation among team members, contributing to a more harmonious work environment.
  • Advanced risk mitigation. Proactive scheduling and project management resource allocation help in foreseeing potential risks related to resource project time frames. By identifying these risks early, teams can implement well-prepared strategies to mitigate them, reducing the likelihood of project failures or significant setbacks.
  • Empowered flexibility and adaptability to changes. Effective resource scheduling management empowers companies to adapt to changes in demand or project scope with greater agility. Understanding resource capacities and limitations lets managers swiftly adjust schedules without headaches.
  • Increased competitiveness. When companies ensure projects are completed effectively, they can maintain a competitive edge in their industry. Advanced project resource scheduling helps them deliver superior quality work promptly. It enhances their business reputation.

All these benefits of resource scheduling enable organizations to deliver high-quality projects within budget and on schedule.

What are the well-known resource scheduling methods?

When responsible managers schedule tasks, they typically encounter two scenarios:

  • They have numerous projects to finish but very little time.
  • They have a limited number of employees available for task assignments.

In both situations, two resource scheduling techniques in project management can assist in improving the team’s time and optimizing project completion.

Here are these resource scheduling methods in detail.

  • Resource-constrained scheduling. It is used in situations where resources are limited. The method helps to optimize project outcomes without exceeding the capacity of available resources. This approach adjusts the timing of tasks to ensure an efficient allocation of work resources throughout the project.
  • Time-constrained scheduling. This approach is used when projects are subject to strict time constraints. It emphasizes the importance of adhering to deadlines and ensuring project completion within the set time frame without sacrificing quality.

What should you consider to create a resource schedule?

Creating a productive resource schedule ensures that the right work assets are available at the right time to meet your project demands. This process involves generating a meticulous resource management plan, a deep understanding of the project scope, and an acute awareness of all project management resources at your disposal. 

What are the core requirements for efficient asset scheduling?

Let’s explore some key considerations for generating a reliable resource schedule.

Requirements for creating a resource schedule
  • Project requirements. Initiating a project begins with a thorough understanding of its requirements. This involves identifying necessary tasks with their interdependencies and choosing appropriate resource management techniques. Such insights enable the proper allocation of tasks to appropriate resources, enhancing both efficiency and productivity.
  • Resource availability. This process entails monitoring the availability of all necessary resources, including personnel, materials, equipment, and other essentials for project completion. It also involves keeping track of team members’ days off, vacation periods, holidays, and other significant dates that affect workload planning.
  • Time tracking. Accurate time tracking by project managers allows for the identification of underutilized resources or tasks that exceed expected durations, potentially affecting the project timeline. It’s crucial to make sure that it is convenient for the entire team to monitor time. Otherwise, this practice can be ignored.
  • Efforts estimation. The estimation of efforts is about measuring the hours required to complete every single task or the entire project. This accurate estimation helps you ensure that the right resources are allocated to each activity. It prevents asset overloading or underutilization.
  • Task prioritization. There are no equal tasks in the project management reality. Some activities are critical, while others may have more flexibility. Effective task prioritization is based on their importance and their impact on a project timeline. It helps managers allocate the most valuable resources to the most vivid tasks, ensuring that milestones are met on schedule.
  • Professional PM tool. Another requirement that should be considered by a PM when generating a resource schedule is choosing the best option among available resource management tools. This PM solution should provide clear visibility into a resource calendar, task durations, and project timelines. With its help, you’ll be able to facilitate adjustments, make real-time updates, and improve communication among team members.
  • Flexibility. Unexpected changes, such as resource availability changes, scope modifications, or unforeseen project delays, are common. Therefore, flexibility is also one of the keys to resource scheduling success. Adding flexibility to your schedules allows for adjustments without significantly derailing your work processes.

Are these requirements sufficient to succeed in project management resource scheduling? It seems that they are enough.

Now let’s look at the specific steps to implement such a competent schedule.

How to create a resource schedule in 7 steps

As you understand from the insights above, resource scheduling is more than timelines and dates placed with a gut feeling. It is also about accurate resource availability and resource demand, as well as other critical details you may not find in the stack of docs on your desk. 

Still, we know how to create an outstanding resource schedule. Below are 7 consistent steps that will help you succeed.

1. Start with selecting a proper resource scheduling tool

Project management professionals know that scheduling resources manually is an inaccurate and exhausting process. By choosing appropriate resource scheduling tools, they can simplify their efforts and organize work assets efficiently.

However, statistics demonstrate that only 23% of organizations use PPM or resource management software solutions (2020).

How many companies use a PM or resource management tool
Image source: Wellingtone

If you are looking for a robust PM tool with advanced features for resource scheduling, consider GanttPRO. 

The platform has gained trust among many professionals worldwide who are looking for the best software for Gantt charts.

GanttPRO for resource scheduling

GanttPRO is a frequent choice for managing assets within a single work process and also for improving resource planning for multiple projects.

Its online Gantt chart with resource allocation serves as a handy visualization system that lets project teams schedule, organize, assign, and control work assets with ease.

Project teams in various industries use GanttPRO for project planning, task organization, and resource scheduling, acknowledging it as professional resource management software.

Professionals involved in the project management environment widely apply this software to enhance task management, event planning, deadline control, internal and external collaboration, progress tracking, etc.

One of GanttPRO users, George Rossle, a production manager at A+ Construction Pro, shares his thoughts about the strengths of the platform:

2. Break down a project into manageable tasks

The next step after selecting your online PM tool is understanding your project as a whole and breaking it down into individual tasks. Experienced managers utilize a tool titled WBS work breakdown structure to arrange their work by breaking down all activities to the basic level. It results in a comprehensive set of all the tasks and subtasks that need to be done.

GanttPRO is also known as a fabulous WBS creator. It helps you to keep your tasks structured. You can take advantage of its handy drag-and-drop to quickly visualize any task dependency on your timeline and mark a key checkpoint which is known as a milestone in project management.

Once your task set is prepared, you can care about gathering your resources and their neat visualization.

3. Analyze resource availability & visualize required assets

Your project may need skilled professionals, specific software, hardware, materials, etc.

GanttPRO will help you gather and visualize the required resources intelligently.

A couple of clicks will allow you to attract certain team members, set costs and calendars for them, and specify their project roles. Additionally, you can create virtual resources including people, tools, facilities, materials, etc.

GanttPRO for managing resources

4. Assign teammates or resources to tasks

The next step is allocating resources and specifying workers, deadlines, and dependencies for the tasks you’ve added to your timeline. It is crucial to find out if anyone is overloaded with too much work while others may not have enough tasks.

Having the Gantt chart maker at hand and following one of the selected resource allocation methods, you can be sure that all your work assets are distributed properly based on their specific characteristics and availability. In GanttPRO, it’s possible to allocate one resource or several assets to each task.

Robust resource scheduling software

Manage tasks, schedule resources, and complete projects on time.

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This big picture allows project teams to provide stakeholders with accurate estimates of when and how things will be done.

5. Make resource scheduling your reliable assistant

After all these manipulations have been done, it’s time to take your resource scheduling to a professional level. It will be based on the availability of your team.

Managers should be able to provide accurate estimates of when things will be done for all stakeholders involved. They should have a complete overview of where and when certain tasks will be needed and when people with related skills and other resources will be available. 

For these aims, GanttPRO offers the option to configure personal calendars while assigning tasks to resources.

GanttPRO calendars for resource scheduling

With their assistance, scheduling and tracking the daily activities or working hours of your resources becomes remarkably straightforward. You gain the ability to plan and manage working shifts, vacations, days off, seasonal holidays, and other dates.

6. Care about workload

Stress and demotivation are frequent companions of those workers who have to manage multiple projects simultaneously. It often leads to reduced productivity and causes missed work deadlines.

Clear workload management is what enables improved scheduling and management of project resources. GanttPRO stands as a trustworthy helper in this case. It enhances task tracking and facilitates the necessary adjustments in resource allocation to avoid underutilization or overloading.

GanttPRO for workload management

,7. Track and adjust resources (if needed)

Having your resources ready and the project in motion, it’s essential to focus on managing, tracking, and overseeing to maintain consistent success in resource scheduling. Try to track your project’s advancement closely to ensure it aligns with expected milestones.

In addition, regularly check your assets to prevent any scheduling conflicts. It’s a common case for team members to encounter obstacles they can’t overcome on their own. Therefore, paying attention to the allocation of resources and the time spent is vital to provide timely assistance.

Improve resource scheduling efforts with highly potential PM software

While resource scheduling may seem an overwhelming procedure, following certain steps and rules can simplify it and give you confidence your efforts are on track.

If you are committed to giving your team everything they need to succeed in resource scheduling, choose GanttPRO. This professional PM software offers comprehensive resource management capabilities. Its user-friendly interface, real-time data visualization, and advanced scheduling algorithms motivate teams to lead their projects to winning results.

Frequently asked questions about resource scheduling

  • Resource-based scheduling in project management refers to the practice of organizing project activities based on the availability and capacity of resources required to complete each task. It involves aligning human, financial, material, and other resources with project timelines to optimize efficiency and productivity.

  • There are two approaches to resource scheduling that reconcile asset limits and time constraints: resource smoothing (or time-limited resource scheduling) and resource leveling (or resource-limited scheduling). Each type of resource scheduling has its advantages and is used depending on the nature of a certain project, the complexity of resource requirements, and the preferences of a project team.

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Paolo Kukhnavets

Paolo Kukhnavets

Paolo writes about the exciting world of project management, innovative tools, planning strategies, time management, productivity, and more.
He has a professional journalism education, over ten years of writing experience, and a vast bag of enthusiasm to comprehend and learn new things every day.
In his other life, he is addicted to traveling, gym, and sci-fi movies. He cycles and runs a lot.

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