Project Resource Allocation Issues

Project Resource Allocation Issues

Dr. George Gafencu, DBA, PMP, DTM

Project resource allocation issues are the topic of the current posting, having as source PMBOK[1]. Resource allocation, loading, and leveling is a thorny problem in the life of a project or program manager, impacting many aspects of the project or program (schedule, cost, quality, customer satisfaction, potentially even the scope). Among specific problems related to resources is the lack of resources (including specialized), or help being expensive. There are resources unavailable when needed; resources are kept artificially on the project because of high onboarding costs and delays associated with deboarding and future use of the same resources. A project and program manager may need to deal with talented resources but having an attitude, different agenda, or no commitment to the outcome of the project, a customer generating an unhealthy situation in the project team with demands deemed excessive.

Additionally, there is a lack of specialized tools to do proper resource leveling on large projects. During my professional life, I encountered all these situations, and there are solutions for each of these problems. Today I would like to discuss the lack of specialized resources through a case scenario encountered during my professional life. At one time, I was leading a large technology development project, and I had associated a unique resource as a technical lead in a matrixed organization. The leader has been with the company for his entire career, was close to retirement, and it was hard to find someone else doing that kind of work. Everything went well for a while in the program than the lead fell ill and needed hospitalization and long term treatment. His part of the program was ahead of schedule, and it did not impact the delivery initially. However, after coming back from medical leave, the performance started thanking because of his health status, and the program was coming to a screeching halt. The person was proud and wanted to do the work himself, but was unable to do so with all the offer of offloading work to someone else offered. He even threatened to retire immediately, and the situation was going for worse. The idea for saving the case is giving him a team to do the implementation, and he retained the control of his part of the program.

The conclusion, once more, is that project resource allocation issues require to resolve much skill and tact from the part of the project or program manager. Many times, solving complex resource issues requires thinking outside the box.

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[1]       Project Management Institute, A guide to the project management body of knowledge (sixth edition). Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute, 2017, retrieved from


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