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Shannon Toe

How to Create a Resource Chart in 3 Steps

In project management, a resource chart comes in handy in many ways. So here's how to save time on creating one using Runn.

Resource charts come in different shapes and sizes, but their purpose always remains the same: they aim to show you when someone is busy or not, what they are working on, and how their workload might change should you give them more tasks or projects.

Always having a resource chart at hand means that you can analyze your resource availability, plan capacity, and predict hiring needs by looking at one simple dashboard.

In this article, we are going through the main things you need to know about the very concept of resource charts and ways you can create one that will stick.

What is a resource chart in project management?

Resource Chart is, in simple terms, a Gantt Chart, visualized in the form of horizontal stripes (often colored) on your project timeline axis. It means to show you when a specific resource is busy and what they are working on at a specific point in time.

Resource charts help you predict, plan, manage, and coordinate your resources in such a way that you can always avoid overhiring or having to spread your resources too thin. They help you collect all resource-related project data within one intuitive dashboard that changes along with your projects.

Resource chart example

Here's a quick way to understand everything that goes into a good resource chart.

In Runn's 'Project view', you get to work with an easy-to-read chart that shows the project timeline with milestones and phases, plus resource bookings if you open it. It breaks each project down to show you all project resources, their roles, availability, and projects they are assigned.

For a smoother experience, all project phases are colored and linked to the timelines that define them.

resource allocation and resource scheduling chart

How do you create a resource chart?

At the end of this exercise, each project manager should have a dashboard to easily track progress and do project resource management in a matter of a few clicks.

Here are the core steps you need to follow:

Create your project blueprints

First things first, you need to create a detailed project plan so you know all the relevant project tasks and meaningful milestones to cover. If there is one thing every resource planning guide is going to tell you is that you cannot jump into resource management without studying your projects from top to bottom first.

Although it might seem like a hassle, building a project schedule before building a workload schedule is how you make an accurate estimate of the resources needed to cover the project. Doing it the other way around would be like trying to read without studying the alphabet first. Yes, you might get some things right, but there will also be mistakes that you would rather have out of the picture.

When you have your project timelines, roles (you can use placeholders), tasks, and dependencies in place, it is time to look into your resource pool.

Assign relevant resources

It all starts with good resource planning software. Scheduling resources can often be a tangled process, which can leave you blind-sided to risky moves. But if you have that granular visibility into all of your resources, their skillset, seniority, and, most importantly, availability, it is much easier to put resources where they belong.

This visibility is actually key not only to the project manager, but to everyone involved. With a well-structured system in front of them, your team members will always know what projects they are involved in, where they need to deliver, and what deadlines they need to follow.

Use resource optimization practices

More often than not, you won't have enough resources to easily pick from. In fact, you will often need to find creative ways to optimize resources and make the entire project work without going through a massive hiring round.

For that, managers often use two resource optimization practices, depending on the kind of situation they are in.

The first one, resource leveling, is a good option if you have some flexibility within your project: you can move the start and delivery dates, for example. In a case like this one, you adjust your project to meet your resource availability and structure it around that.

The second one, resource smoothing, is your go-to if you are quite constrained because of the urgency of the project and there is no way to move your timelines. With this technique, you will need to deprioritize tasks that can wait and free some time up for your people to switch over to the more urgent initiatives, temporarily.

Which chart is best for resource planning?

One of the most effective charts you can use for resource planning is what is commonly known as a heatmap, you can find it in Runn's People Planner.

In resource management, a heatmap will visually show you the workload of each team member, their busiest periods, all color-coded. Based on that, project managers can easily see whether the person they are interested in actually has the availability to take on a new project at a given point in time; and how an extra set of tasks is going to impact their workload landscape.

In the example below, you can see a line graph showing the lowest and highest seasons for all the 12 people working on the project. With that information at hand, you can look for effective ways to decompress the workload schedule and help people meet all deadlines without having to do overtime.

And here's a bonus thing: this chart also accounts for downtime, the time when some of your people might be on vacation or just unavailable, which will inadvertently impact project delivery

Allocate resources with resource gantt chart

Final thoughts

Creating resource charts is a great idea if you want to map out all of your resources and their availability. With an asset like this at hand, you can be sure to always make educated project decisions and accurate predictions about project outcomes.

Book a demo with Runn today to easily create resource charts and have that project visibility at all times!

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