Multi project resource planning and scheduling

Multi project resource planning

Today we look at one of the trickiest challenges we face – resource planning and scheduling across multiple projects. 

Picture this: you have a range of projects with different timelines, priorities and resource needs. Multi project planning is all about orchestrating and optimizing your schedules so each project gets the resources it needs while making sure your resources are not overloaded.

Research shows that around 80% of project teams are working on multiple projects at the same time. So a strategy for planning and managing multiple projects is a key area for organizations to address.

But there are easy actionable techniques you can use to help with multi project scheduling. In this post, we delve into the tips and best practices that’ll turn those multi-project nightmares into sweet dreams of success.

Table of contents

What is multi project resource planning

Multi project resource planning is when projects share the same resources. Planners must ensure each project is adequately staffed and resources are not over-allocated when all of their project work is taken into account.

The primary goal is to ensure that resources are optimally utilized to meet the demands of all projects while avoiding over-allocation and conflicts.

Why is multi project planning difficult

With resources shared across projects, any changes to resource allocations or project timelines have ripple effects across other projects and resources. This makes it challenging to balance workloads and calculate resource utilization to check resources are not over-allocated.

Multi project planning challenges

Planners must juggle the needs of various projects and strike a balance to prevent resource shortages or overloads that could hinder project progress.

  • Resource constraints: In multi-project environments, resources are often limited and need to be shared among various projects. This can lead to conflicts and difficulties in allocating resources efficiently.

  • Visibility. When planning multiple projects it is essential to keep track of all your work and its current status.

  • Interdependencies: Projects are often interconnected and managing interdependencies and ensuring smooth coordination between projects is a major challenge.

  • Prioritization dilemma: With multiple projects running simultaneously, managers must prioritize projects and allocate resources effectively. Deciding which projects are more critical and deserve priority can be a complex decision.

How to do multi project planning and scheduling

While multi project resource planning is difficult there are best practices and tips that can make your life a lot easier. Here are the steps to get your multi project planning process working like a dream.

Centralize your projects and resources in one place

First, you need visibility into all your project timelines, resource availability and utilization.

The best way to do this is to have all your plans and schedules in the same tool. You can then see your deadlines, resources and resource overloads in one place and see the big picture when making decisions.

Tools like Kelloo have a multi-project Gantt chart planner and multi-project project team planner so you can plan everything at the same time on the same page.


Understand your utilization and workload

Use a planning and scheduling tool that lets you see the resource utilization levels in real time as you adjust your plans. The easiest way to visualize this is using a cross-project heatmap.


Use a roadmap to increase visibility

Consider using a roadmap to share high-level project timelines and schedules. Roadmaps increase visibility and ensure everyone is kept in the loop.


Prioritize your projects

Not every project is created equal. Some projects have more value to your organization than others. With resources shared across projects, you must prioritize your projects so you can focus your resources on the highest-value projects.

change priority

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Avoid sharing resources across projects if possible

It may seem obvious, but one strategy is to not share resources across projects where possible. It is well known that people perform more effectively when they focus on one project. However, it is sometimes inevitable that people need to work on multiple projects – especially if they have a skill in demand.

Plan at a higher level

Rather than assign people to tasks and low-level work, allocate people to projects instead. Then leave the project manager to plan their lower-level activities. All you need to do is level the resource utilization at the project level.

Utilization and Workload

Avoid day to day scheduling

A powerful technique for dealing with multi project planning and scheduling is to avoid scheduling at too low a level. If you schedule day-to-day you will never be able to get on top of the problem. Instead, try planning at the week level. Then let team members manage their day-to-day activities.

Use multi project planning and scheduling software

While it can be appealing to try using tools like Excel, spreadsheets or Google Sheets for resource planning, you will quickly run into problems.

Software like Kelloo provides an easy way to do your multi project scheduling and planning and the benefits will quickly outweigh the initial investment.

Separate the project planning and resource planning process

Resource planning is a process used to decide who is working on what projects (sometimes called project resource allocation).

Its aim is to match resources to projects while ensuring that no resources are over-allocated. Resource planning is typically a resource manager or team leader process.

Project planning on the other hand involves the project manager taking the resources allocated to their projects from the resource planning process and scheduling them to work.

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