Resource Loading in Project Management: A Helpful Guide

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This guide is likely to be either a project manager responding to stakeholder requests for a resource-loaded project schedule (what the hell is resource loading anyway?) or a PMP student. You’re in the right place, no matter what brought you here.
A resource loaded schedule is a schedule that takes time to complete tasks. It is based on the availability of resources or the work your project team is expected to do. Contrary to what your ex boss thinks, resource utilization shouldn’t equal 100%.
Spoiler alert: If your boss claims that resources should not be loaded at 100%, you will have to disagree with them. This article will explain how to load resources in project management. It will also explain the difference between resource loading or resource leveling. I will also help you create your own template for a Resource Loading Chart.
What is Resource Loading?
When to do resource loading
How to Create a Resource Loading Table
Why is Resource Loading Important in Project Management?
What is Resource Loading?
It is easy math to calculate resource loading
Project completion requires hours of labor
Hours available to complete the work
Illustration of how to calculate resource loading. DPM’s incredible guide to project resource management, including resource planning and resource requirements, can be used to estimate the numerator.
In this article, I’ll focus on calculating the denominator–resource availability. Assuming that all team members are available for the project at 100%, and that the standard workweek is 40 hours long, then multiply 40 hours by available resources and divide by the time period (in week) for project completion. Right?
Wrong. We are referring to humans, not robots. When was the last 8-hour work day that you were able to do uninterrupted? Meetings? Coffee breaks? Bathroom breaks? You can’t forget paid time off or sick leave.
What number of hours per day would be reasonable if 8 hours is not realistic for resource utilization in project planning? Stakeholders are likely to agree to a baseline of 5-6hrs per day, allowing for bathroom breaks, context switching and fire drills. To increase productivity, I should optimize the work environment of my team.
Resource Loading vs. Resource Leveling
You may be curious about resource leveling, a commonly used resource management technique. Below is a table that summarizes the main differences between resource loading, and resource leveling.
Resource LoadingResource LevelingCalculating the amount of work you expect team members to perform based on their available capacity (i.e., resource utilization)XRightsizing resource allocation based on priority, project timeline, milestones, and budgetXProject start and end dateFixedCan be adjusted to accomodate resource conflictsTable comparing resource loading with resource leveling. For more information on resource leveling techniques, please refer to this article.
When to do resource loading
The PMBOK guide defines five phases of project management: initiating, planning, planning, executing and monitoring and controlling. To establish a baseline for how many people will be able to devote time to the project, project managers should conduct resource loading during the planning phase. This is not a simple task.
Resource loading is not like using the Ronco Rotisserie Oven. Resource availability can be affected by many factors, so it is important to assess resource loading during the project monitoring and control phase.
New projects emerge that require time away from critical resou

Resource Loading in Project Management: A Helpful Guide
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