For any project management office (PMO), optimizing resource assignment and management is a key concern. It’s all about assigning a (typically limited) pool of resources in a way that maximizes value and benefits the organization. When it comes to establishing a resource management model, both the efficiency and competitiveness of your organization are at stake. After all, the use that you make of your key resources directly correlates with your business’s profitability.

The goal is clear: you need to have your resources work at the optimal utilization rate and to make sure you allocate the right resources to the highest-value projects. But the way to achieve that goal isn’t necessarily obvious. As a matter of fact, resource management is a complex discipline that involves many different variables. Unfortunately, this oftentimes results in the coexistence of multiple resource allocation and management models.

Here is an overview of the options, along with some guidance to help identify the one that’ll suit you best.


Exploring the Different Resource Management Models

As you create and implement a resource management model, there are multiple ways you can structure its responsibilities and workflow. You can build or adapt your model based on how your organization handles factors like those below.


Project Manager vs. Resource Manager Assignments

Project managers (PMs) who manage their own resources without the support of a dedicated resource manager (RM) can also perform direct assignments. All they have to do is determine which resource they need and ensure its availability.

However, organizations with both RMs and PMs will need to focus on collaboration. PMs and RMs will need to talk to each other to find the most relevant and efficient solutions for assignments while reconciling both project and resource constraints.

How to Determine and Implement the Best Resource Management Model for Your Organization


Most of the time, PMs state their requirements, and RMs then analyze capacity and create a resource allocation proposition. Upon acceptance of this plan, the PM then assigns allocated resources to the project’s activities.

In some cases, RMs are actually in charge of work management, and they directly assign their resources to specific activities.


Hard Assignments vs. Soft Assignments

When the project or activity you’re looking to staff isn’t due to start soon, it may be challenging to identify the specific resource you’ll need to assign.

This is why PMs have the option to use “soft assignments.” Essentially, they start by stating which role type they need (based on job, function, or skills — e.g. senior DevOps Engineer).

Later on, when project requirements and resource availability become clearer, they can just convert the generic assignment into a “hard” one by assigning a named resource.


Activity-Level Assignment vs. Project-Level Assignment

You can either assign resources at the scale of a project or an activity, depending on scope and duration. When working at the project level, project and resource managers usually build a team dedicated to the project for a predefined period of time.



When using the Agile Scrum framework, resources are not formally assigned to projects or tasks. The team members working on a sprint just self-assign to any activity of their choice, then report in timesheets.


Deciding What Works Best for Your Organization

As you strive to determine a working model for resource management at your organization, don’t forget to consider details like your organization’s:

  • Shape and size
  • PPM maturity level
  • Line of business
  • Culture

These factors will likely influence the best resource management model for your teams. For example, putting resource managers in charge of the actual assignment process requires great collaboration and solid relationships between the PM and RM.

Likewise, self-assignment can actually be used as an operating model for organizations with highly empowered teams. This is true even outside the Scrum framework. The quantity and quality of interactions between PMs, RMs, and resources themselves may not be the same in a matrix organization and in a traditional hierarchy.

Don’t forget to take into account the time and effort required to implement and use the resource management model of your choice. The more team members involved and the more granular you’d like the process to be, the more complex your resource management model will become.

This is a matter of organizational choices based on an audit of the features that make your company unique and the needs of the various stakeholders involved.


From a Resource Management Model to a Resource Management Process

Each organization has its own specific challenges and will need its own specific resource allocation model, but they all share a common requirement: they need a proper resource management process with a clear definition of roles and responsibilities.

You should ideally turn the model you’ve designed into a resource management charter in order to clearly establish the rules and conditions that govern the allocation and assignment of resources across projects and activities. Among the questions that your charter should answer are:

  • Who initiates the resource demands, and to whom? When and how?
  • How do you manage the conflicts that may arise in case of shifts in projects or resource availability?
  • Who is responsible for making trade-off decisions when unexpected events occur?

Make sure your process is communicated and accessible to all, that it is understood and put in practice. Then, get ready to reap the benefits of a high-performing resource management system!

Don’t forget that resource management tools like Sciforma can help you construct an effective model and put it into action.

Our PPM and resource management software connects your teams with automation, scenario modeling, time tracking features, and other capabilities that enable you to make informed decisions about using your resources.

Ready to get started? Take a product tour to learn more.

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