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April 17, 2024 resource management made easy: A comprehensive guide Resource Management
Agnieszka Sienkiewicz

Effective planning, allocating, and managing resources means getting the best results using as few resources as possible. When organizations get better at managing resources, they tend to do better overall (, 2009).

But resource management has its challenges.

One of the biggest issues is predicting how much work a team can get done or how many tasks a team or individual can handle in a given period of time. Companies often don’t know how many resources they have available now or how many they’ll need for upcoming projects.

Moreover, if some team members are highly sought after for a specific project (or several projects), they might end up with too much work. The situation will only get worse if managers can’t figure out exactly when and how much work they can assign to a specific person or team.

In this article, you’ll learn the essentials of resource planning. Then, you’ll find out how and BigPicture help you handle most of the resource management activities, specifically resource allocation, scheduling, and management on the project and portfolio levels.

What is resource management?

Resource management is the process of planning, allocating, scheduling, and monitoring the use of resources in a project or organization. These can include human resources (employees), financial resources, equipment, materials, time, and information.

The process aims to allocate and use available resources within an organization or project as effectively as possible. Strategic resource management helps to maximize organizational value so you can achieve goals and objectives within the planned timeframe.

Essentials of resource management

The essentials of resource management involve several key principles organizations must embrace in order to allocate and use their resources effectively.

Resource planning

Resource planning involves strategically allocating and managing organizational or project resources to achieve organizational goals.

It encompasses identifying resource requirements and allocating resources based on availability, capacity, and skills.

Other activities, like scheduling work and optimizing resource utilization to ensure that projects or operations are completed on time, within budget, and with the desired quality, also fall under resource planning.

In short, resource planning balances supply and demand while maximizing productivity and minimizing costs.

Resource allocation

Resource allocation refers to the process of distributing available resources among specific tasks, phases, and teams according to their priority and requirements. It involves deciding how to best use these resources to achieve organizational objectives.

Resource allocation often involves assessing competing demands, evaluating potential trade-offs, and making strategic decisions to optimize the allocation of resources to achieve desired outcomes.

Resource scheduling

Resource scheduling means assigning resources to specific tasks or activities over a defined period. It involves creating a timetable or calendar that outlines when and where you’ll allocate resources to complete various projects, operations, or activities.

The process of resource scheduling aims to ensure that resources are allocated efficiently, avoiding conflicts or bottlenecks, and optimizing their use to meet project deadlines and objectives.

During this process, you’ll typically consider factors like resource availability, skill levels, dependencies between tasks, and potential constraints to create a feasible and realistic schedule.

Resource leveling

Resource leveling is a technique used in project management to balance resource demand with availability.

It involves adjusting the timing of activities to ensure that resources are allocated efficiently and that no resource is overtaxed or underutilized.

The main goal of resource leveling is to smooth out resource utilization over the course of a project, so you avoid peaks and valleys in resource demand. This helps prevent resource shortages or bottlenecks that can delay project completion or increase costs.

Resource leveling can be achieved by delaying certain tasks, splitting tasks, or adjusting the schedule of activities to better align with resource availability.

Resource smoothing

Resource smoothing is another technique used in project management to manage resource allocation more effectively.

The primary objective of resource smoothing is to minimize fluctuations and variations in resource utilization while still completing the project within the specified timeframe. This involves adjusting activities’ start and finish dates within permissible limits to smooth out resource use peaks and valleys.

Unlike resource leveling, which can extend the project duration to achieve balance, resource smoothing maintains the original project duration while redistributing resource use more evenly.

Resource forecasting

Many resource management techniques focus on allocating resources in the present. Resource forecasting, on the other hand, attempts to predict the resources your project or organization will need in the future.

With forecasting, you can create a resource management plan that takes into account the quantity and quality of resources based on scope, objectives, and constraints.

Using your current capacity, upcoming projects, and external trends, accurate forecasting solutions help project managers identify potential conflicts and opportunities to ensure your resource allocation and use align with your long-term goals.

People as project resources in resource management

In project management, resources refer to the various elements necessary to complete a project successfully. One of the most tricky resources to manage is people.

On the one hand, your team members have limited capacity, and you need to make the most of it. People take vacations and sometimes have emergencies that result in unexpected absences.

On the other hand, as a project leader, you need to keep track of people’s workload and absences to ensure their work stays on track. You also need to have a clear overview of the skills your people bring to each project, so you know which team member to assign.

Using for project-level resource management

You can’t plan, allocate, or schedule people’s work without having full visibility into their skills, availability, and workload. On a project level, the platform comes with several helpful features that make resource management easier.

Let’s take a look at how the app supports resource management activities.

Customizing work schedule

The work schedule reflects each user’s calendar, including working days, hours, and time off, giving team leads an accurate picture of member availability in the Workload view.

Account Administrators can manage work schedules from the administration section, where they can create and adjust them for each team. For example, they can create one work schedule for the North American team and another for their colleagues based in Europe.

Resource allocation and tracking: board columns boards visually represent a project or workflow, displayed in a column and row format, similar to a spreadsheet or a Kanban board.

They are fully interactive and collaborative, so you and your team can efficiently work together — even from remote locations. Each board consists of customizable columns and rows, which can represent different project items, stages of a project, or categories of tasks. board.


To get the most use out of boards for resource management, there are a few columns you’ll want to add.

People column

The People column enables you to assign and reassign individuals, teams, and sub-teams to project tasks. You can add more than one person to each column cell.

You can also add several People columns and rename them as needed. This will help you to, for example, indicate task and sub-task owners and their collaborators. This way, your team members know who’s responsible for what.

Timeline column (or Date column)

The Timeline and Date columns provide you with information about task start/end dates. The Timeline column shows you both the start and end dates in one field.

The cell will fill in, showing a battery-level-style display as the time you’ve estimated for a task ticks by. This column is useful when you want to display a timeline for one task or the total for a group of tasks/ subtasks.

On the other hand, two Date columns can show you start and end dates separately.

Numbers column (or Formula column)

Use the Numbers and Formula columns to add time estimates required for task completion (e.g., three hours).

The Formula column has many built-in functions, but you can also use it to create standalone calculations. The Formula column can also pull data from other columns to give you necessary information. For example, resource effort (task duration) is required to show task completion based on the Timeline column.

If you want to specify effort manually, use the Numbers column.

Time Tracking column

The Time Tracking column is a stopwatch team members can use to measure and log time spent on a task. This will help you and your team members track progress on each task as they work through it.

When you have the work schedule set and the board columns added and filled in on your board, you can add the Workload view/widget.

Workload view

The workload view provides a visual representation and monitoring of the hours spent by each team member on individual tasks. This enables you to easily identify anyone who’s underused or overallocated.

You can use this view to measure people’s efforts in two ways:

  • Count items: This mode counts all the tasks each person is assigned to.

  • Add effort:  This mode will factor in the Number or Formula column data.

You also need to define the maximum weekly capacity for each team member. workload view.


When the view is configured, the blue and red bubbles will tell you how much your team members have on their plates. Those bubbles fill in as team members take on work throughout the week.

If you click on any of the bubbles, you’ll see details of all the tasks a selected person is currently assigned.

Going one step further: resource management across the entire organization with BigPicture

BigPicture supercharges resource management by enabling you to manage assets across all of your portfolios.

Unlike High-Level boards, BigPicture doesn’t limit you as to how many boards you can add. No matter whether you have 30 or 300 boards, the app will give you enhanced visibility into your resource allocation and use in your portfolio(s) and organization.

How does it complement resource management exactly? Let’s consider the different uses of resource management in relation to the essentials covered earlier.

Forecasting resources: Test and compare possibilities with Scenarios

It’s difficult to predict the future. This holds true when it comes to resource management.

BigPicture doesn’t tell you how many people you’ll need for your upcoming project, but it can help you figure it out. You can run many versions of your potential future resource demand using Scenarios.

With this feature, you can safely try out different versions of your plan and compare them to determine the ideal approach based on your forecasts.

Accessing the Scenario mode in the Gantt module in BigPicture. The Scenario mode is also available in the Resources module.

Planning resources: Define workload, holidays, and skills

Configure absences and workload

Your people can work only when they’re available and when they have the capacity to take on a specific amount of work within a certain period. You can build custom holiday plans and workload plans for your team members to share their schedules.

For example, you can create separate workload plans for full-time and part-time employees. In this case, a workload plan for a part-timer could be 20 hours per week, while the workload plan for full-time employees would be 40 hours per week.

You can have custom holiday plans for teams based on their location or the religious events they observe. Holiday plans also show all the absences your colleagues file so you can quickly look up who’s absent when and see how it will impact task progress.

The Administration page in BigPicture. Here, you can add and remove resources from the app, customize workload and holiday plans, and define and assign skills.

Add skills

Before you can allocate resources to specific tasks, you need to define the skills your project will require. You need to figure out, for example, how many graphic designers and voiceover artists you’ll need to complete a video project on time.

BigPicture supports skills management. You can assign one or several skills to team members so you can match people to tasks and distribute their efforts more effectively.

First, define and add the skills on the Administration page. You can add as many skills as you need.

You can add as many relevant skills as you need. Colors help you easily identify and later assign them.

When you have that done, you move to the board and assign skills to all the respective items using BigPicture’s skills functionality in the item view.

BigPicture enables you to assign skills to each item directly on the board (in the item view).

And here’s the best part: Adding skills to specific resources also lets you quickly identify a pool of the most suitable assignees using the Find the Perfect Match feature. (We’ll cover that in the next section!)

Allocating and scheduling resources: Assign people based on skills and capacity  

Resource allocation gets easier when you can clearly see who’s overworked and who’s idle. With BigPicture, you can easily assign, track, and manage your resources.

Once tasks across all projects are assigned, you can conveniently look up and manage resource workloads and assignments on any level — project, portfolio, or even the entire organization.

Find the most suitable assignee in seconds

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you want to (re)assign a person to a task but have dozens of people on your list with similar skills, don’t worry — BigPicture got you covered.

The Find the Perfect Match feature will suggest up to five suitable people you can assign based on their skills and remaining capacity (the amount of work they can still take in a given period).

The app won’t suggest anyone lacking the necessary skills or anyone whose capacity would be exceeded with the item you want to assign.

The “Find the Perfect Match” feature will automatically check all the resources assigned to a project and select the most suitable ones.

To make the most of this feature, make sure you have assigned skills to your respective project items.

Easily spot over/under-allocations

The Resources module will immediately show you whose capacity is over- or underutilized with colored capacity bars you can find in a row reserved for each team member.

If you assign too much work to someone, their capacity bars will turn red. And if they are underused, their bars will turn green. The orange color, on the other hand, indicates an optimal allocation.

The numbers on the bars will tell you the total workload a team member can take into their schedule (based on their workload and vacation plans).

They’ll also indicate how many hours they already have assigned to them. This way, you will know exactly how much more work someone can still take (or much you should reassign).

Resources module. Here you can check the “health” of each person or team’s capacity. The color-coded bars will immediately warn you if someone has too much (red) or too little (green) work assigned.

The color-coded bars aren’t just for individuals or teams. You’ll also find them useful for skills assignments. Each skill will show its own capacity bar that will “fill in” as you assign people with particular skills to items.

It will help you quickly identify which skills are in demand and which are rarely used in a particular period.

In this example, market researchers are highly in demand and already have too much on their plates. Project managers, on the other hand, have plenty of spare capacity.

You’ll find similar information on the Resource Panel in the Gantt module.

Using this panel, you can quickly look up any project member’s capacity status and workload details while you’re still in the context of the Gantt timeline.

Resources Panel in the Gantt module featuring resource capacity.

Assign tasks on the fly

In addition to visualizing the workload, skills, and remaining capacity for your team, the Resources module is also a suitable place for task assignments.

Under the capacity bars, you’ll find taskbars representing work you have assigned to someone. The top row is for unassigned tasks (tasks that you haven’t assigned to anyone yet), which you can drag and drop to the respective person’s row to assign to them.

Alternatively, you can left-click a taskbar and select the assignee from the drop-down list.

As soon as you add an estimated task to somebody’s workload, the numbers on the capacity bars will automatically update. This way, you will immediately know whether the task you’ve just assigned exceeds somebody’s maximum capacity.

You can assign and reassign tasks in the Resources module.

Make convenient and quick assignments for individual resources and entire teams.

The right-hand side sidebar is for unscheduled tasks. It features a complete list of items with one date (e.g., a start date) or no dates at all.

The unscheduled tasks panel. You can expand and collapse it whenever you need it.


You can inline-edit their respective dates and assignees directly inside the panel. Or drag each item from the list to prompt a modal with details. Manage both while retaining a full view of your resource tasks and capacity.

Leveling resources: Resolve allocation conflicts and bottlenecks

When you need someone with a particular skill over a specific period, lacking such a resource can delay your project. BigPicture can help you resolve such issues.

In the Resources module, you can see all the tasks you have assigned to your team, represented by taskbars.

Those taskbars are interactive, meaning that you can click them to change their estimates (e.g., amount of hours), move to change their start/end dates (reschedule), stretch or shorten to change their duration, and drag and drop them to assign them to another person.

The Task Details modal lets you quickly look up all the information about the selected task.

As you edit the tasks, you’ll see live updates of the capacity of your team members and the skills you’ve assigned to them. This visibility will help you determine how close you are to resolving clashes in resource allocation.

Distribute workload in a flexible way

If changing a task’s duration or schedule doesn’t bring the results you expect in leveling somebody’s effort, you can adjust the distribution of the estimated effort over the task period — without changing anything in the task itself.

BigPicture’s workload contouring feature enables you to distribute resource workload over the entire task period in four unique ways: flat, front-loaded, back-loaded, or manual.

In practice, it means you gain a lot of flexibility in distributing the total hours/story points estimated for a given task.

Say you have a task that takes 20 hours to complete over four days, and your skilled colleague works eight hours a day.

The flat mode would distribute the entire effort evenly over those four days. As a result, your resource would work on that particular task for five hours each day (4 days x 5 hours = 20 hours). This gives you space to assign them another task that would fill the remaining three hours of their capacity on each of those four days.

A flat contouring mode.

Let’s consider a different scenario.

You want someone to start working on a task on a specific date (Task 2), but someone was already assigned another task that they’ll work on for that date (Task 1), leaving them no space to do more work.

You could front-load your resource workload on Task 1 so they finish it as soon as possible. As a result, your colleague would be less busy with Task 1 in its final days and could start working on Task 2.

See the Big(ger)Picture: Manage your resources across multiple boards and spaces

As the number of your boards, workspaces, and people involved grows, you want to be able to manage your teams more effectively. With BigPicture, you can quickly manage individual and team workloads to ensure that the people in your organization are not overburdened or frustrated by work.

If you oversee multiple projects as part of the organizational portfolio, you will be better equipped to ensure all the moving parts don’t stop moving due to the lack of skilled resources.

BigPicture is now available for users who can try the app for free. Schedule a call with a BigPicture expert if you’d like to learn more about how the app can help you manage resources more effectively.