Resource Availability in Project Management Explained 

Arek Terpilowski

Updated: June 6, 2024
June 16, 2023
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Are you sure your employees will be ready and able to work on your project? 

If you have doubts, resource availability is an important concept to dive into — here’s how to use it to your advantage in project management. 

Definition of Resource Availability? 

In the professional services industry, resource availability refers to the extent to which the required employees and materials are accessible and ready for utilization when needed. A comprehensive evaluation of resource availability involves considering both the physical availability of resources and the organizational capacity to allocate and utilize them effectively when needed.

Resource Availability Formula 

The resource availability formula project managers can use in their daily work is as follows:

Resource availability = (total available resources / total required resources) * 100

Where:

  • Total available resources represent the quantity or capacity of resources that are currently accessible or ready for use.
  • Total required resources refers to the quantity or capacity of resources necessary to complete a specific task, project, or operation — also known as resource demand.

The units of measurement in this equation may differ depending on your preferred method of calculating resource availability for project allocations.

How to Calculate Resource Availability: Example

Let’s consider an example of calculating resource availability in project management.

Assume you are a project manager and must determine your team members’ availability to allocate resources and start the project. 

Here are the relevant figures:

Total available employees: 15

Total required employees: 12

Using the resource availability formula, we can calculate the resource availability as follows:

Resource availability = (total available employees / total required employees) * 100

Resource availability = (15 / 12) * 100

Resource availability = 1.25 * 100

Resource availability = 125%

In this example, the project’s resource availability for professional services employees is 125%. This means that you have 125% of the required employees available for the project, indicating a surplus of resources for the entirety of the project life cycle.

Is the data precise enough for resource management?

Provided you have a suitable resource availability planning process, this is all the data you need to match resources to a realistic resource schedule.

However, resource availability can vary depending on the project or organization’s specific needs and circumstances. It’s important to regularly reassess resource availability as projects’ progress and resource requirements change, impacting the resource schedule. Additionally, you must track resource availability daily to avoid schedule conflicts between different projects. 

What else do I need to check before deciding on project resources?

Before allocating resources or starting any other project management process, use resource management software to ensure your employees have the skills to complete the project tasks. Otherwise, balancing resource availability might be impossible, as specialized consultants might need more resource capacity to join your project management team on a whim.

What are the benefits of monitoring resource availability? 

Measuring resource availability offers several benefits, including:

  1. Effective resource scheduling is guaranteed by determining the quantity and type of resources at your disposal and preventing schedule conflicts — you will avoid overbooking resources.
  2. Improved planning and decision-making. Resource availability helps you set realistic goals and create precise project timelines based on the availability of resources, allowing you to make informed decisions regarding project feasibility, resource acquisition, outsourcing, and prioritization. 
  3. Risk identification. Resource management analysis helps you identify the potential risks associated with resource scarcity, unavailability, employee benches, or constraints and allows you to allocate resources with no mistakes.
  4. Enhanced efficiency and productivity. Managing resource availability helps project managers with resource optimization, enabling organizations to maximize productivity and efficiency. 
  5. Performance evaluation. Organizations and project managers can track resource availability and assess people’s performance in resource management by comparing the planned resource allocation with the actual availability and utilization.

Can I automate calculating resource availability? 

Yes! Using resource management software like BigTime Foresight to track resource availability is the best thing to do for your business, as it saves you time and provides accurate results.

Resource Availability in BigTime Foresight

In BigTime Foresight, you can monitor both the availability of individuals and the company as a whole. 

First, you can monitor the unassigned hours of your employees in their profile, where their available capacity is displayed. Then, you can use the calendar to monitor resource availability for a few employees at once, a team, or just a group of specialists with specific skills. You simply need to customize the calendar by removing excess information from it to create an availability heatmap. 

Last but not least, you can monitor changes and trends in resource availability using some of the reports. For example, with the utilization report, you can see exactly how many hours you still have to assign and which periods are at risk of being unprofitable due to excessive employee benches. 

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