Resource Leveling ─ A Technique to Optimize Resource Allocation and Utilization

Resource leveling is a crucial technique employed in project management to optimize resource allocation and utilization. In any project, resources such as manpower, equipment, and materials need to be allocated efficiently to ensure smooth execution and timely completion.

Resource leveling aims to eliminate or minimize resource imbalances, avoiding overutilization or underutilization of resources. By redistributing tasks and adjusting schedules, resource leveling helps to achieve a more balanced and sustainable allocation of resources throughout the project’s duration.

This technique not only improves project efficiency but also enhances resource productivity, reduces costs, and minimizes the risk of project delays. Through careful planning and execution, resource leveling enables project managers to optimize resource utilization and achieve project goals effectively.

Sometimes resource allocation is a challenge ─ for example, an employee needs to multitask, or a team member is assigned a workload that exceeds his or her capacity. In these cases, you can’t just go with the flow – bottlenecks and related issues are likely to arise – project delays, cost overruns, etc.

Typically, project and resource management solutions at have built-in algorithms that automate resource balancing and other features that optimize resource allocation and utilization. We’ll explore their potential later in this article. Now let’s explore how to do resource allocation accurately.

One approach to address resource allocation challenges is to apply resource optimization techniques, specifically resource-leveling. Read on to learn more about this method and when and how to use it.

Resource Leveling at a Glance ─ Essence and Importance


The project management body of knowledge defines resource leveling as a technique for adjusting project start and end dates with the goal of matching resource demand with available supply. You should use this technique when you have a limited number of project resources and you have to overload them to get work done.

Therefore, the main purpose of resource leveling is to resolve resource conflicts and prevent team members from overworking. What are the other reasons to apply the technique?

It Prevents Employees From Overwork

As we’ve mentioned earlier, resource allocation sometimes results in overloading people with work. But if this problem is left unattended, the project work will be far from effective. In this case, resource leveling, particularly adjusting the timeline, can save the situation.

It Increases Productivity and Improves the Quality of Project Work

When employees are not overburdened with work, the risk of bottlenecks impeding workflow and their negative consequences (delays and budget overruns) is reduced. Additionally, when team members have a manageable workload, they are more productive and engaged, and able to deliver high-quality results.

Therefore, resource leveling helps to make efficient use of available resources, increase productivity and engagement, and improve project outcomes.

How Does Resource Leveling Work?


As we mentioned earlier, resource balancing involves adjusting the project schedule, i.e. H. Postponement of Maturity Date. But that’s not all. Here are some other steps you can take to balance resources:

  • eliminating less important tasks
  • assigning extra resources
  • breaking large tasks into smaller ones and sharing them with other resources
  • bringing the tasks forward.

Additionally, resource provisioning may require the application of schedule compression techniques—fast track and crash—that allow the required scope of work to be completed more quickly, for example, before the assigned employee is absent.

Here is a brief overview of these techniques with pros and cons.

Fast Tracking

Fast Tracking as defined by PMBOK involves the parallel execution of tasks that would normally be done in a specific order. This only applies to critical path tasks. Sequential tasks can be accelerated by 33%; this means employees can start a task two-thirds of the way through the previous task.

However, this approach has some limitations: trying to deliver work faster increases the likelihood of making mistakes, requiring rework, and causing delays.


According to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, crashing is applied to shorten the schedule duration by adding resources. It means that a project/resource manager can add extra resources to approach a milestone or the due date earlier. Similarly to fast tracking, crashing can only be performed for the tasks from the critical path, because their duration has a direct impact on the project timeline.

However, applying to crash isn’t a silver bullet and is also accompanied by risks. For example, performing work faster with the help of extra resources can be costly, which can lead to cost overrun. In addition, when you outsource employees that aren’t familiar with work specificity, the quality of their output may be poor, or it can be delivered with delays.

Therefore, the decision regarding the application of the above-mentioned methods should be made with careful consideration of all possible consequences and risks.

Finally, let’s examine how the functionality of software tools helps level resources and optimize their allocation and utilization.

Resource Leveling With Software Tools


In addition to automatic resource leveling, project/resource management software tools provide a variety of solutions to resolve resource conflicts and optimize employees’ workloads.

As an example, let’s review some of the corresponding capabilities, a resource management solution designed for work in a multi-project environment where resource conflicts are a common thing.

Project Leveling

This feature is used to create a task execution sequence with regard to their priority or business value. You should just set a necessary parameter (priority or business value), and the system will automatically determine start dates for these tasks and create a Gantt Chart with them. The schedule created by the system will eliminate the probability of resource conflicts.

Setting the Right Priorities

Algorithms can automatically prioritize tasks across the whole project environment so that every team member knows what to put their effort into at the moment. Such an approach helps eliminate bad multitasking, prevent team members from being overloaded, and increase their productivity.

Resource Allocation Advisor

The competence Management feature can suggest a perfect candidate for completing a task with regard to team members’ skills, availability, and capacity, which makes the resource allocation process super easy and effective, helps prevent resource conflicts and optimize team members’ workload.

Predictive Capabilities


What-if analysis allows testing different scenarios, including resource allocation options. You can analyze the impact of resource allocation decisions on further workflows and choose the best option. You can also try ways to resolve resource conflicts that occur.

These are some of the features of resource management that allow efficient resource allocation and facilitate efficient use of available resources while helping to avoid resource conflicts and prevent overcrowding.

Key Takeaways

  1. Resource leveling is a technique for adjusting the schedule of a project to match resource demand with available supply.
  2. The main purpose of resource balancing is to resolve resource conflicts and prevent team members from being overworked.
  3. Resource leveling can be done in a number of ways ─ by moving the project’s start date, extending the schedule, removing some less important tasks or splitting them into several, allocating additional resources, and using schedule compression techniques (fast track and crash).
  4. Resource management solutions have tools to help prevent and resolve resource conflicts and improve resource allocation efficiency: from automatic resource balancing to assisting in making correct resource allocation decisions.