What is an Allocation?

Allocating describes the strategic process of identifying the correct resources for projects or individual tasks and assigning them accordingly.

Definition | Examples | Synonyms

Allocation in project management refers to assigning resources (such as personnel, equipment, materials and budget) to specific tasks or projects. It is a crucial step in project planning that ensures each project has the necessary resources to be completed successfully within the set timeframe.

Allocation Heatmap for Resource Planning

A Practical Example

Let’s assume you are a project manager at a mechanical engineering company. You have an upcoming project to modify one of your existing machines for a new client, but who in your department can help you?

The act of allocation would involve deciding how many and which members of the team to assign to the project. For example, you might allocate two engineers, one technician and one designer to the project. Additionally, you would also allocate the necessary equipment and budget for the project.

Synonyms and Abbreviations

Some common synonyms for allocation are allotment, assignment, distribution or apportionment. However, there are no widely recognized abbreviations for the term allocation in project management.


Who is responsible for resource allocation?

Project managers are typically responsible for resource allocation. They decide which resources (such as personnel, equipment, materials and budget) are needed for specific tasks or projects and assign them accordingly.

In larger organizations, resource or portfolio managers may be responsible for allocation. These roles can help manage and coordinate resources at a higher level, especially when multiple projects are running simultaneously.

It’s important to note that effective resource allocation requires close collaboration and communication among all parties involved, including project team members and stakeholders. Everyone has a role to play in ensuring that resources are used effectively and efficiently.

Why is resource allocation important in project management?

Resource allocation is a central aspect of project management and is important for several reasons:

  • Efficiency: Careful allocation of resources allows projects to be carried out more efficiently. Having the right resources at the right time and place helps teams avoid delays and increase productivity.
  • Budget Control: Allocating helps keep the project budget under control. By assigning costs to specific resources and tasks, project managers can better track where money is being spent and ensure the project stays within budget.
  • Conflict Prevention: When multiple projects compete for the same resources, conflicts can arise. Careful allocation can help avoid or minimize these conflicts.
  • Quality Assurance: Allocating qualified resources to the appropriate tasks contributes to the quality of the project outcome.
  • Planning and Forecasting: Resource allocation aids in project planning and forecasting. It allows project managers to track project progress and predict future resource needs.

These points highlight the critical role of resource allocation in ensuring project success and organizational efficiency.

How can I allocate resources?

Allocating employees to projects generally requires careful planning and consideration of several factors. Here are some steps you can follow:

  • Identify Required Skills: Each project requires different skills and experience. Identify the skills needed for each task.
  • Assess Employee Skills: Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. Performance evaluations, colleague feedback and self-assessments can help with this.
  • Assign Tasks: Assign specific tasks to each employee based on the project’s requirements and your employees’ skills. Ensure that tasks are clearly defined and understandable.
  • Consider Availability: Make sure the employees you assign are available for the project’s duration. Consider vacation times, other projects and commitments.
  • Communicate the Allocation: Inform each employee about their role and responsibilities on the project. Ensure they understand expectations and have the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Review and Adjust: Employee allocation is not a one-time process. Regularly review the project’s progress and adjust the allocation as needed.

It is important to be fair and transparent in the allocation of employees and to ensure that the workload is evenly distributed. Effective and transparent allocation can especially help to increase employee satisfaction and boost productivity.

What are the most common challenges when it comes to resource allocation?

Resource allocation in project management can present several challenges:

  • Limited Resources: Every company has a finite number of resources. Effectively assigning these resources to various projects can be challenging.
  • Competing Projects: Often, multiple projects run simultaneously and compete for the same resources, which can lead to conflicts.
  • Changing Requirements: Project requirements can change over time. When this happens, you may need to reallocate some resources.
  • Time Management: Coordinating the availability of resources with the project schedule can be difficult.
  • Skills and Experience: Not all resources are equal. Finding the right employees with the appropriate skills and experience  can be a challenge.
  • Cost Management: The cost of resources must be kept within the project budget, which can be particularly challenging with external resources or rented equipment.

These challenges require careful planning and management to ensure resources are used effectively and efficiently.

The RM Continuum with headers

Allocating with Meisterplan

Meisterplan is the ideal solution for efficient, effective resource allocation across your entire portfolio thanks to its intuitive and interactive user interface,

One of its standout features is the Team Planner, which provides a clear overview of your team’s availability and workload. With the Team Planner, you can finally ensure that you are optimally utilizing your resources and that each project receives the necessary attention.

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