The Resource Loading Chart is one of the simpler concepts in resource management that will allow you to see at a glance the tasks and work components involved in the completion of a project, how many you have of each resource available and their specific costs per unit) as well as which particular tasks in the project they have been allocated.
One of the key elements of good project management is resource management. Every project requires the wise and effective distribution of time and resources for the different component tasks that need to be done in the course of finishing a project. This makes it necessary for every project manager to have skills in time management and resource management as well.
Good resource management dictates that every available resource must be used effectively and efficiently. This requires that the output (completed task) must at least be worth equal to if not more than the total cost of resources allocated for the specific project and tasks. Efficiency in this case is simply ensuring profitability– making certain that the output is of bigger than value than the inputted resources– which is why costs and quantity of these resources need to be factored in as well.
At its simplest, resource loading is simply budgeting resources–allocating or assigning available resources to various activities involved in the completion of a project. Unlike the simple budget, however, here, resources are tied to specific activities and tasks that are involved in completing the project. This way, viewing the budget in terms of activities makes it easier to adjust for effectivity and efficiency– one can see which specific activities or tasks are unprofitable and should be eliminated, minimized or rethought.
Visually tracking these resource assignments – in the form of a resource-loading chart– makes it easier to see at a glance which of these tasks are resource-heavy and possibly over-allocated. In these cases, these specific points (or tasks) in the project must be further studied to see how they can be done with fewer resources assigned to them.
The Resource Loading Chart
The basic elements of a resource-loading chart are of course the tasks, the needed resources to complete those tasks, and the available resources. Since the main function of a resource-loading chart is analyzing efficiencies in the management of resources, it will be necessary to plug in costs and quantity (availability) of each resource required. In many cases, such as in engineering and information technology projects, an earned value analysis as well as a work breakdown structure will be very helpful in order to be able to accurately compare the profitability and efficiency of resource allocation with regards to specific tasks.
One popular form of a resource-loading chart specific to a very particular resource is popular in many information and research-based projects: the person-loading chart. Here, as the name implies, the major resource being allocated are people, which are estimated and allocated in terms of man-hours and distributed along various points (tasks) of the project work schedule.