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What is Resource Loading in Project Management?

Resource loading in project management is the process of loading employees’ total available hours with assignments. In resource loading, an employee will typically be assigned a percentage of a project, and can then be assigned additional project percentages until that employee reaches 100% of their hourly work week capacity. Once an employee reaches 100%, they are effectively booked and should not be scheduled for more work. By looking at a resource loading chart, a manager can view the total hours their employees can work for a given time period and adjust each team member’s assignments accordingly. 

Resource loading's main drawback is that, while managers are technically able to schedule employees for 100% work, doing so will inevitably mean that employees end up overloaded at some point. This can happen when unexpected responsibilities come up during a project. 

In a simple resource loading example, if an employee is scheduled at 100% and has to fill in for another employee who is sick or unavailable, that employee will then be working at over 100% capacity. Projects can go over deadline or budget due to workforce limitations if you use resource loading to manage workloads.

What is the difference between resource loading and resource leveling?

Resource loading and resource-leveling are similar in that they both deal with manpower. However, resource loading attempts to balance other additional elements. The difference between resource loading and resource leveling is that resource loading looks to maximize workforce capacity, whereas leveling prioritizes timelines and budgets as well. 

Resource leveling requires managers to have an understanding of whether a project is critical. A manager will then shift all available resources and money to complete those projects deemed critical. When resources are utilized, resource leveling will dictate that start or end dates be adjusted to reduce the conflict. 

The drawback of resource leveling is that it can be difficult for managers to anticipate which projects are the highest priority ahead of time. Resource loading and leveling are both important elements in the project management decision-making arena.

Managing resource allocation with 360-degree visibility

Both resource loading and resource-leveling require managers to understand their team’s workload at a glance and adjust accordingly. Using Wrike for project management can give team leaders 360-degree visibility around a project, allowing them to make decisions about budget, staffing, and timelines, whether they prefer resource loading or leveling.

Project management software that creates flexibility and visibility can help mitigate the drawbacks of resource constraints, ensuring your team meets deadlines and uses budget and team workload as efficiently as possible.