A successful project needs to have the right resources, and this task can fall to your project management office (PMO) as the holder of the data and creator of the processes for scheduling. Knowing how resource scheduling and project scheduling work together will set your projects up for success.

While the process to create a project schedule is different to a resource schedule, they’re interdependent on one another. Your PMO will be involved in both by offering guidance, controlling the data needed, and monitoring the success of the schedules that project managers create.

The help you understand the relationship between project scheduling and resource scheduling within your PMO, we’re going to cover:

  • The similarities between resource and project scheduling
  • How project and resource scheduling differ from each other
  • How to harmonise both processes for more efficient scheduling

What’s the difference between project scheduling and resource scheduling?

Put simply, a project schedule determines what tasks need to be completed and by when, while a resource schedule is the best fit of the resources at hand to accomplish that schedule.

There is more to it than that, so let’s look at the characteristics of both in terms of:

  • When the scheduling process happens
  • What elements of a project get scheduled
  • The information is taken into account during the schedule creation

Starting with project scheduling.

Characteristics of project scheduling

A project schedule is created at the start of every project. While the project schedule should be a living document that can adapt to changing needs, the initial planning and scheduling won’t need to be repeated.

In a project schedule, your PMO’s framework should allow the project manager to list out all the activities, milestones, and deliverables. From here, a timeline can be allocated to the tasks based on the deadline and budget set.

Project planning needs to take account of the resources available, as well as:

  • The deadline for the project
  • Stakeholder requirements
  • Budget and other constraints

To produce a document as either a Gantt chart or as part of a software tool that spells out what needs to be done and by when.

Characteristics of resource scheduling

Resource scheduling is an ongoing process that your PMO should coordinate on behalf of the projects it manages. As old projects wind up and new projects kick-off, resource availability will change, and there may be more or less activity, but it’s a continual process.

Resource scheduling covers all of the resources that any project you control would need. Some examples of these resources include:

  • The people and skills required for a project, both FTEs and freelancers
  • The space a project needs in terms of desks and factory floors
  • The tools and machines needed, which could be anything from a lorry to a production line
  • The hardware and software you need like desktops and laptops plus software licenses

A good resource scheduling process will allow project managers to book the resources they need in advance.

When scheduling resources, of course, the project manager will need to refer to the project schedule to see when skills and tools are required so they can hit the deadline. The capacity of the resources is also vital to understand, as well as issues like annual leave in terms of human resources.

How does a project schedule and a resource schedule work together?

A project schedule is needed to be able to book the resources required to get a project planned and completed. Once a project schedule is completed, the project manager needs to work with your PMO and/or the resource scheduling tools you have to ensure the project has enough resources.

The project plan should regularly be compared to resources needs and usage to make sure that it’s effective and the project and the PMO, in general, is using resources efficiently.

Resource scheduling vs project scheduling

The process of scheduling a project and the resources needed isn’t an either/or situation. Every project will have a schedule, and a resource schedule will be built from that. Understanding how a resource schedule and a project schedule work together will ensure your resources are allocated in a way that delivers projects on time and on budget.