Resource Scheduling in Project Management: Beginner’s Guide

December 1, 2023

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Whether you are working with limited resources or simply want to manage what you have more effectively, resource scheduling is an important part of project management that’s all too often overlooked. Project managers are starting to embrace a range of tools and platforms to support their resource scheduling needs. 56% of respondents to a recent survey said their enterprise uses tools for resource management.

In a separate survey by the Resource Management Institute, it was found that only 60% of respondents have an adequate skills database capability to do meaningful resource planning, even though 92% of these respondents indicated using some type of digital solution to store skills-related data. 35% of these people also said they do not even track project or career interests of the delivery personnel.

If a business or organization of (any size) is going to do meaningful and effective resource planning, it must have access to an all-encompassing platform that’s capable of centralizing team data and providing team leaders with the data they need at their fingertips for informed resource planning. Those searching for a resource scheduling platform should look no further than StartingPoint, we’ll explain why shortly.

  • Are you struggling to allocate resources without overburdening your team or underutilizing assets?
  • Do you find it challenging to balance the availability of resources with project deadlines?
  • Are uncertainties in project timelines causing you to question your resource scheduling strategies?
  • Is the complexity of managing multiple resources across various projects overwhelming?

We’ll aim to cover all of the above questions. This article is for:

  • New project managers seeking a foundational understanding of resource scheduling.
  • Team leaders aiming to improve resource allocation and team efficiency.

Table of Contents

What is Resource Scheduling?

Pre-Scheduling Considerations

Resource Scheduling Approaches

Advantages of Effective Resource Scheduling

Practical Tips for Resource Scheduling

Leveraging Technology for Resource Scheduling: Try StartingPoint

What is Resource Scheduling?

Resource scheduling in project management is all about allocating and managing the availability of resources to ensure teams are completing project tasks within set timeframes. These resources can include human personnel, equipment, materials, finances, and everything in between. It’s about making sure that leaders have the right cogs in the right place to keep their operations moving forward.

When resource scheduling is done well, it aligns resource capacity with project demands and optimizes resource utilization to minimize resource conflicts. It’s no easy task - and without the right resource scheduling and project management tools in your corner, it’s basically impossible. This is why many project managers are turning to solutions like StartingPoint to make improve their decision-making.

Resource Scheduling in Project Delivery and Consulting​​

Resource scheduling can play an important role in both project delivery and consulting services. In project delivery, it ensures that the right resources are assigned to the right tasks at the right time, which can help lead to timely project completion, cost control, and staying in line with the project scope. For consulting, resource scheduling helps consultants allocate their expertise effectively to ensure project success.

A report from Deltek found that 56% of agencies were using dispersed resource management technology, and only 38% of survey participants were using a centralized system. Without access to a centralized system for mapping out project delivery, service-based businesses (such as consulting firms) can struggle to organize their workforce in ways that will maximize output and overall team productivity.

Pre-Scheduling Considerations

As a project manager, before you embark on resource scheduling in any meaningful way, there are several factors that you need to take into account. Let’s explore three specific areas.

Resource Capacity Planning and Utilization​​

It’s important to assess the availability and capacity of existing resources. This will enable you to identify potential resource bottlenecks and overutilization risks. From this, you can determine the optimal utilization levels of each resource type and schedule accordingly. Effective resource management platforms like StartingPoint will give you a bird’s eye view of resource availability and capacity.

Forecasting Future Resource Needs​​

While it’s vital to think about the present and ensure that current needs are met, project managers also have to forecast future resource needs and anticipate future project demands. They have to consider factors such as project growth, new initiatives, and potential attrition as they map out resource allocation for the future to address possible gaps. The right tools and platforms can help centralize this data.

Aligning Resource and Project Schedules​​

Synchronizing resource availability with project timelines is no small feat - and it’s particularly difficult without a digital solution to bring all the necessary data under one roof. With a clear view of both the resources available and the project timelines, aligning everything becomes far easier. Project managers can begin to consider resource constraints and potential scheduling conflicts - and plan accordingly.

Resource Scheduling Approaches

Project managers can approach resource scheduling in two different ways:

Time-Constrained Scheduling​​

With time-constrained scheduling, project managers prioritize the completion of project tasks within a predetermined timeframe. At the same time, they focus on resource availability and task dependencies, adapting resource allocation based on changing project constraints. Effective resource management platforms will enable project managers to see what’s possible within a specific timeframe.

Resource-Constrained Scheduling​​

Resource-constrained scheduling is all about optimizing the utilization of the available resources and allocating tasks to resources based on their skill sets and availability. Project managers have to adjust schedules to accommodate resource constraints and find ways to work around this. With a centralized platform for managing personnel, resource-constrained scheduling is made easier.

Advantages of Effective Resource Scheduling

When done well, resource scheduling can provide project managers and team leaders with no shortage of benefits. Picking the right tools and platforms will enable you to start unlocking these benefits. Here are just a few advantages of effective resource scheduling:

Improved Project Organization and Resource Allocation​​

  • Streamlined task assignment and resource utilization.
  • Enhanced project visibility and control.
  • Reduced resource conflicts and delays.

Enhanced Time Estimates and Capacity Planning​​

  • More accurate project duration and cost estimates.
  • Realistic capacity planning for future projects.
  • Improved resource utilization forecasting.

Practical Tips for Resource Scheduling

If you want to hit the ground running with resource scheduling as a project manager and team leader, following a few practical tips will ensure you have the best possible chance of success.

Utilize Resource Management Software​​

You can leverage project management software with integrated resource scheduling capabilities. These can allow project managers to automate resource allocation and task scheduling while tracking resource utilization. The best project management software solutions will enable you to identify potential bottlenecks before they stifle progress and get in the way of project delivery.

Implement Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)​​

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) can enable you to break down project deliverables into smaller, manageable tasks for team members to complete. You can clearly define task requirements and resource dependencies and facilitate efficient resource allocation and task assignment. The right project management solution will give you everything needed to do this with ease.

Apply Resource Smoothing Techniques​​

Project managers and team leaders can use “resource smoothing” techniques to level out resource workloads and prevent overallocation. This is particularly important for reducing the risk of employee burnout, ensuring everyone is well-positioned to succeed in the role they have to play in project delivery. Avoiding resource spikes will help to create balanced workload distribution.

Leveraging Technology for Resource Scheduling: Try StartingPoint

StartingPoint is a cloud-based project management platform that offers comprehensive resource scheduling capabilities. The platform’s user-friendly interface, real-time data visualization, and advanced scheduling algorithms empower project managers to:

  • Develop detailed resource plans and manage resource availability.
  • Optimize resource allocation across multiple projects.
  • Monitor resource utilization and identify potential conflicts.
  • Generate reports and gain insights into resource performance.

If you are committed to giving your team everything they need to succeed in project delivery, StartingPoint has a central role to play in your technology stack. Ready to begin unlocking the potential of this project management solution? You can take StartingPoint for a test drive today without charge.