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Creating a Resource Matrix in Project Management

Efficient resource allocation is a critical aspect of successful project management. Without a clear understanding of available resources and how they align with project tasks, organizations can face challenges such as missed deadlines, budget overruns, and compromised project quality. To overcome these hurdles, project managers rely on a powerful tool known as the resource matrix. Here we will explore what a resource matrix is, its benefits, and how to create one to optimize resource allocation in project management.

Project Resource Planning: Understanding Different Approaches

For each project manager, there’s their own favorite way to create the project management schedule. There are the ones that still prefer to plan on a whiteboard. Ones that have found a resource planning template that works for them. There are the ones that plan create a work breakdown structure and then schedule the tasks using it. Some project managers like to assign the resources right away and those that prefer to schedule the tasks first. There are different tools and a different way to reach the goals set.

Project Resource Management Techniques

  • Project-based resource planning
    That’s where projects are at the top of the project management food chain and resources are just means to an end. Project resource planning is often more about planning than optimization. It’s allocating resources to tasks, not the other way around. Here it’s all about staffing projects, with less emphasis on optimizing resource utilization.
  • Resource-based project planning
    In resource-based project planning, the approach is reversed compared to project-based planning. The main goal here is to keep resource utilization at an optimal level. Tasks are allocated to available resources, and project planning takes a backseat. The emphasis is on efficiently utilizing resources while project considerations are secondary.
  • Matrix planning
    Matrix planning combines the best aspects of both project-based and resource-based approaches. It focuses on task allocation while considering both resource capacity and project capacity. The goal is to maximize project efficiency by ensuring resources are allocated optimally. This approach involves planning for individual projects and pivoting the resource plan to assess how it aligns with overall resource utilization. Matrix planning strikes a balance between project requirements and resource optimization.

Basically though, if you’re a manager who plans resources and projects. Seeing how both fit together is optimal. That way you always know if the project you have scheduled will have the right capacity to get it done. Without worrying if you’re overburdening anyone in the process. That’s where a resource matrix comes into play.

Understanding the Resource Matrix

A resource matrix, also known as a staffing matrix or resource allocation chart, is a visual representation that maps project tasks or activities against the resources required to complete them. It provides an overview of the project’s resource needs and helps in identifying potential bottlenecks or imbalances in resource allocation. The matrix typically includes information such as the names or roles of team members, their availability, skills, and the tasks they are responsible for.

In general, matrix planning is a resource management technique where you lay out your projects and resources as a visual plan. This allows you to see the connected resources to projects and vice versa. This management technique puts equal emphasis on projects and resources, and the way to achieve this means seeing the project and resource schedules from all possible angles.

The reason why managers love it so much is that it gives the best possible overview of how everything comes together. It’s the big picture and the small details all in one.

Benefits of a Resource Matrix

Matrix planning takes the best of both worlds of project and resource planning. With it you can ensure that resources are allocated to maximize project efficiency. While also taking into account utilization. It’s planning for one project and pivoting the resource plan to see how it all comes together. This in turn creates some big benefits for your organization and staff. Including:

  • Efficient Resource Allocation – By creating a resource matrix, project managers gain a clear understanding of the availability and skills of team members, enabling them to allocate resources optimally. This prevents overloading certain individuals or departments while ensuring all project tasks are adequately staffed.
  • Improved Planning and Scheduling – A resource matrix helps in aligning project timelines with resource availability. It allows project managers to identify potential resource constraints and make informed decisions regarding task sequencing and scheduling.
  • Risk Identification and Mitigation – With a resource matrix, project managers can proactively identify potential resource gaps or bottlenecks that may impact project delivery. By identifying risks early on, they can take appropriate measures to mitigate them, such as hiring additional resources or redistributing tasks.
  • Enhanced Collaboration and Communication – A resource matrix facilitates transparent communication among team members and stakeholders. It helps everyone involved understand the resource requirements and availability, fostering collaboration and enabling effective decision-making.

Creating a Resource Matrix

When you’re ready to begin giving matrix planning a shot, here’s the steps to take in creating one.

  1. Identify Project Tasks
    Begin by listing all the tasks or activities required to complete the project. Break them down into smaller, manageable components to ensure comprehensive coverage.
  2. Determine Resource Requirements
    Assess the skills and expertise needed for each task and identify the resources (team members, departments, or external contractors) that possess those skills. Consider factors such as availability, workload, and any constraints or dependencies.
  3. Design the Matrix
    Create a grid or table where each row represents a resource, and each column represents a project task. Fill in the matrix with the names or roles of resources against the tasks they are responsible for. A resource-based Gantt chart works best for this step!
  4. Add Resource Details
    Include relevant information about each resource, such as availability (e.g., hours per week), skill sets, and any specific constraints or dependencies. This data will assist in making informed decisions during the project execution phase.
    Tip! Use custom resource data fields to fill out this info.
  5. Review and Adjust
    Regularly review and update the resource matrix as the project progresses. This ensures that changes in resource availability, project priorities, or task dependencies are reflected accurately, allowing for agile resource allocation.

Matrix Planning in Ganttic

A resource matrix is the first step to better project management. And a simple one can be created in any kind of Gantt chart software or even with a template in Excel. As long as you get the visual overview of your resource pool and task list, that’s what counts.

But to ensure your projects are aligned with resource capacity, you’ll need to switch up how you see the matrix.

In Ganttic’s Single Project View, you can switch between Resource and Task modes. This allows you to schedule unassigned tasks and then assign the tasks to resources. While also flipping back and forth from a Project View and a Resource View.

Here we’ll get you set up with this feature to do your own project resource management schedule in a matrix.

  1. First, you add a new project and fill out the custom data fields like the project reference number, project manager, the status of the project, and the phase of the project.
  2. Next, you open the project in a Single Project View. Then, you just start scheduling tasks for the project without thinking about the resources. If you need some tips on how to estimate task duration, read our blog post on the subject. Some like to define the tasks beforehand, others do it on the go.
  3. As you drag and drop the tasks in the calendar area or add them from the button, the task dialog pops up. That’s for you to add any additional details if needed. You can also leave the tasks as they are without even adding a title. This creates 2 kinds of Tasks: assigned and unassigned.

    Adding an unassigned task:

    adding a new task

    Adding an unassigned task using drag and drop:

    adding a new task with drag and drop scheduling



  4. Now, you’ll have a bunch of unassigned tasks. However, these tasks will be automatically connected to the project so you can easily differentiate them in the general resource plan using project colors.
  5. Which brings you to the next step – assigning the resources. Again, there are many roads to take. For those of you that are here just for the high-level resource planning, switch the settings on the view panel to display the resources, and drag the tasks where they need to be to assign them.
    If you want to assign the task to multiple resources (for example to a team member and a piece of equipment), you can do it using the + that appears next to resource title once you open the task dialog.

     Multi-resource scheduling:

    assigning multiple resources
  6. If you are doing detailed project management scheduling, you might want to do things a bit differently. Since research has shown that the best and most efficient approach to resource management is the kind that involves the resources, we recommend you to take that road. See which resources are available and hold a meeting. Maybe have a framework in mind and discuss the tasks. Let the top performers choose the tasks that they want to take on if you have that sort of reward system in place.

No matter your preferential way of planning Ganttic has you covered. Hop on over to our Help Desk for more tips on planning. Or book a free demo at anytime.

Choose Your Planning Style with Ganttic

Ganttic is a powerful online tool perfect for creating a project and resource matrix.
Ganttic is a powerful online tool perfect for creating a project and resource matrix.

Efficient resource allocation is crucial for project success, and a resource matrix serves as a valuable tool in achieving this goal. Begin today by Incorporating this powerful technique into your project management arsenal to optimize resource allocation and drive successful project outcomes.

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