Resource Assignment in Scheduling


This blog post is based on a request I recently received to post something about resource assignment. Resource assignment (sometimes called resource loading) is the assignment of people, material and equipment to the activities in a schedule.

Developing a schedule is one of the essential steps is determining a project budget.


Steps in Developing a Schedule


Activity Resource Assignment

The activities in the schedule come from the WBS you created.
Now we have to assign resources to each activity.
Activity resource assignment is mainly based on past experience (expert judgment). Based on the activity, you make an estimation of how many resources (people, material, equipment) you need to do that activity.
This means that you and your team need some familiarity with the activity at hand.
The request I recently received was for a construction project (see comment tread in the related post mentioned below). So let me give an example related to a construction project.
Let ‘s look at the activity of pouring a concrete slab of 700 square feet. Based on similar jobs I know that a contractor will buy that amount of concrete from a concrete supplier, and I would estimate the resources as follows:
  • people: crew of 8 people
  • material: 235 cubic feet of concrete (700 square feet times 4 inches thick)
  • equipment: none since the concrete will be bought by from a concrete supplier.
Use the resources you estimated as input to the software program you are using. The documentation of the software you are using will explain you how to do that.
Do this for every activity in your schedule.
Note that estimating activity resources is very similar to estimating activity costs.
When assigning resources to an activity you should put yourself in the shoes of the one (qualified) who will be doing the activity. How will they assign resources? How many people will they use? How many equipment will they use?
If your team is not familiar with how certain activities can be done, then you have to get some help. You can ask questions in social media or you can contact a mentor. You can always contact me with your specific case as some of you have done. Contacting a mentor is probable the most efficient way to get help, because the help will be interactive and personal.
Activity resource assignment is often based on familiarity with the activity being estimated. Ask around and get help where needed.

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4 thoughts on “Resource Assignment in Scheduling”

  1. Dear Tennerson,
    Thank you for your extensive comment. Becoming a proficient project manager is indeed based on a combination of class room study, mentoring and experience.
    To be proficient, a project manager must have at least the following skills: team management, decision making, listening, conflict management, meeting, contract management, team player.
    One of the first task of a project manager is to compose a project team that is capable of handling all aspects of the project at hand. For a construction project, the skills of the team asa whole should include skills in the areas of: scoping, scheduling, estimating, engineering, documentation and progress reporting. Having the proper team is essential for project success.
    In real life it will never be so that we will try to teach project managers to dominate technical skills. What we will teach project managers is to compose  a team that is fit to do the project at hand.
    A project manager must be a manger above all.

  2. Dear Victor,
    While mentoring may assist a project manager, I am skeptical of persons wanting to be lead project managers in construction projects who do not have basic understanding of blue print reading and estimation. I am of the view that many persons who enter project management think this is not necessary, this I find to be a fallacy, since no project manager can successfully complete a complex construction project without some understanding of 1. Architectural Drawings 2. Structural Drawings. 3. Quantity Surveying. 4. Mechanical and Electrical. 5. Civil Engineering. 6. Surveying I am not suggesting the individual have a degree in each discipline but to lead the construction project the project manager must know how to apply these disciplines to his schedule in addition to project reporting. I am not trying to discourage persons in project management who wish to manage construction projects but I am yet to see a course in a University or college that produce project managers that are able to manage complex construction projects. Construction has always been a team effort. However, to assume that those projects come out of the ground because of PMBOK is fantasy thinking. There need to be a course design for Project Managers who wants to Lead construction Projects and presently project managers must be prepared to give Construction Managers the Lead role on construction Projects. When Project Managers without construction experience lead construction projects there is always Chaos and in most cases project failure that is never archived because of false conceptions of project success.

  3. I like your ideas of "Free mentorship".  Yes it pays to devote your time to people who really want to make up to face challenges ahead.
    Do let me know if I can associate with you on this.  I am working as a freelance for PM Tools and PMO Augmentation services.

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