What is resource optimisation?


Resource optimisation A collective term used to describe the methods for ensuring that labour and non-­labour resources are matched to the schedule.

Definition from APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition  📖


Resources can be one of more of the following:

  • labour;
  • plant and equipment
  • materials
  • facilities, such as specialist test sites.

(Planning, scheduling, monitoring and control)

Project professionals required to use scarce resources optimally in order to keep projects within the agreed scope have two basic options available to them: resource levelling and resource smoothing.

How to perform resource levelling

Resource levelling may be achieved by:

  • Redefining the scope of the activities to be undertaken by the particular resource concerned. In simple terms, this might mean giving some of the work to an under-utilised resource.
  • Redefining the specification. This obviously may compromise the quality of the final product.
  • Increasing task duration to reduce the overall resource requirements.
  • Increasing resources on earlier tasks to bring workload forward, such that peaks in the future are reduced. This will have cost, and possibly quality, implications.
  • Delaying non-critical work to reduce demand at peak time – i.e. using free and total float to optimise the schedule.

(Planning, scheduling, monitoring and control)

Difference between 'resource smoothing' and 'resource levelling'

A scheduling calculation that involves utilising float or increasing or decreasing the resources required for specific activities, such that any peaks and troughs of resource usage are smoothed out. This does not affect the overall duration.

It is also known as time limited resource scheduling.

Find out more


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Human resource management and project based organising
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APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

You can learn more about resource optimisation in chapter one of the APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition.

The APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition is a foundational resource providing the concepts, functions and activities that make up professional project management. It reflects the developing profession, recognising project-based working at all levels, and across all sectors for influencers, decision makers, project professionals and their teams.

The seventh edition continues in the spirit of previous editions, collaborating with the project community to create a foundation for the successful delivery of projects, programmes and portfolios.

APM Body of Knowledge

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