Resource-based project scheduling or Resource-constrained project scheduling has been around for decades, but it is more common in in construction industry and not that well known in software development.
Most everybody is familiar with Time-based project scheduling – the work breakdown and the deadline specification happens first, and then the PM tries to get resources to meet the deadlines. The manual method of making resources work is called resource leveling.
Resource-based project scheduling puts the availability of resources first. Each resource, e.g. a software developer, has a calendar of availability, with the already allocated dates blocked out. The PM assigns the task to the resource, and the system allocates the first avaliable time period automatically.
If a PM rearranges the order of tasks or entire projects, the system rearranges the date ranges allocated to the tasks. The PM can easily see if a proposed deadline can be met with the available resources, or do other projects need to be re-prioritized to ensure success.
This system makes managing project portfolios much easier – no chance of double booking, and if a task takes less effort than originally planned, the delivery dates of the remaining tasks automatically move earlier.
These features also make rebaselining and reallocation much easier, simpler, faster, and makes resource leveling completely automatic.
Monday.com is a popular online project management platform. While it is mostly Time-based, it has a few features that help with resource management.
The major component is creating a Dashboard and a Timeline Widget on the Dashboard. Connect all the project boards that you want to manage together, and the Timeline will be automatically populated with swimlines per Person, and all the tasks assigned to them from all the connected projects.
At this point the PM can move the tasks up and down on the timeline to make sure that people are not double booked or underused, and the changes are immediately implemented on all the connected project boards.
This ensures that all projects are properly resourced, and makes it easy to respond to changes in resource availability.
Another component is creating a project board dedicated to Vacation/PTO. On this board people can reserve their time off, and then this will be plainly visible on the main Timeline Widget, so their time off won’t be double-booked with work and they can meet their deadlines.
This means that you can go from this:
To this, only by using a Dashboard Timeline Widget:
Monday.com is quite popular and I hope they will implement even more features to help managing project portfolios. There are many other solutions out there, but if your organization is committed to Monday.com, you can make it work. Let’s see what they do next!