Excel based Resource Plan Template Free

The simple excel based resource plan is the easy and simple to manage. In this plan you can have resource allocated to different projects and the allocation is on a weekly basis.

resource plan templates, resource planning template
Excel Resource Plan

What is Resource Planning?

  • The first step of managing a project is to build a work plan, but even the best laid plans won’t come to fruition if there won’t be any resources allocated to carry them out. 
  • Once a plan is agreed upon by all the stakeholders of a company, planning who will perform the tasks is the next step. 
  • This step is called “Resource Planning”, and its goal is to decide who will perform each one of the tasks in the work plan. Basically the resource planning sets the Roles and Responsibilities (R&R) of the project.
  • A resource may be a human resource (HR) or a machine, and either of them need to be allocated to a task in order for it to be completed. 
  • Once allocated, the next step is to decide how much of their time will be dedicated to this particular task (from 1% to 100%).
  • For example: A project of baking a cake may include warming up an oven, purchasing the ingredients, mixing them up together and putting the batter inside the oven. 
  • This involves using an oven, someone who will buy the ingredients, someone to mix them up in the proper proportions and someone to monitor the cake while it’s in the oven. In this case at least one HR is required (and up to three), and one oven as well. 
  • If the same HR is allocated to all three tasks, then they will be 100% dedicated to each sequential task. 
  • The oven however may be used to bake more than one cake at a time, hence may be allocated less than 100% to any given cake.

Why is it important to have a resource plan?

There are 2 main benefits of a resource plan – 

The first is that each HR involved in the project knows what they need to do, when to do it, how much of their time they are supposed to dedicate to the particular task and who is dependent upon them in order to begin their task. This result is often referred to as an R&R list, and is crucial to the success of the project. Besides letting the HR’s know what is expected of them and when, the R&R can also assist in prioritizing between multiple tasks whenever the HR has more than one task to perform in parallel.                

The second is that the PM can see what the overall workload is on each resource, to make sure that none of them are over allocated. The resource planning may be done by name, or by occupation. For example: Pradeep Tiwari from the security team may be allocated to the “run a diagnostics check” task, or a “Security Expert” may be. In both cases the start / finish dates will be the same, as will the percentage dedicated to completing the task.

The resource planning may be done by name, or by occupation. For example: Pradeep Tiwari from the security team may be allocated to the “run a diagnostics check” task, or a “Security Expert” may be. In both cases the start / finish dates will be the same, as will the percentage dedicated to completing the task.

How should you approach resource planning?

The PM can decide between using names or occupation while allocating the resources. The former approach is often more difficult and requires more time, but results in a work plan which utilizes the skill set and experience of each HR involved in the project. The latter approach is quite easy, but may result in the wrong employee for the job.

Another approach the PM must decide upon is whether to decide what the percentage the HR needs to dedicate to a task, or leave this decision to the sound judgement of the employees. 

The former approach grants the PM more control over the work plan, but requires time and in depth knowledge of all of the tasks. The latter approach empowers the employees and grants them more freedom and independence, but in cases if inexperienced work force may cause wasted time while the employees progress through their learning curve. 

Either way the result must be a resource plan with percentages assigned to the tasks. Whichever approach the PM chooses, there should only be one HR who is accountable for the task being performed (There may be more than one who performs the task itself).

Challenges faced in resource planning

The PM faces many uncertainties in any planning, and resource planning is no exception. The main challenges they face are – 
  1. How to assign the best HR for the job: If there are 20 software Engineers working on the project, the PM must choose whomever they think is best suited to perform any SW task.
  2. Percentage allocating: The PM must decide which task deserves the full attention (100%) of the HR, which can be performed using only 10 of the HR’s time, etc.
  3. Load balancing: Which tool should be used to track the workload of the resources, and what should be done in case the workload exceeds 100%. For example if a resource has a workload of 120% for a certain week, should the PM extend the duration of the task, hire temporary resources or simply pay for overtime?
  4. Resource substitution: The PM must decide if replacing and existing resource which isn’t performing as expected is beneficial to the project, or may only slow things down even further.

What is Resource Utilization? 

The utilization of a resource is calculated by dividing the actual hours a resource worked in a time period by the available work hours in that same time period. The result is a percentage between 0% and 100%, which indicates how much the resource was utilized during the time period. A resource can be a HR (human resource), or a machine.

For example: A robot which welds the bumpers to cars in an assembly line is capable of working 24 hours a day. If the robot worked 160 hours a week (out of the 168 available hours) then his weekly utilization was 95%. If a HR worked 40 hours the same week, then their utilization was 89% (40 hours out of the available 45 weekly work hours).

Furthermore, the utilization can help the PM understand how much time of the resources work hours were dedicated to performing a certain task.

Why should you measure resource utilization?

PM’s use the various utilization tools for three reasons: 
  • First, to see how much time their team members were at work at any given time period, and how much down-time the machines had (down-time is the time that a machine wasn’t working due to maintenance or malfunction). This doesn’t necessarily mean they the team members were working, but they were at work. 
  • The second (and more important) reason is to measure how much time the resources spent working on their tasks. This can help them estimate the cost of performing the task (machines and HR) by multiplying the hourly cost of all the resources by the time they spent working on the task. 
  • The third benefit is that the PM can make sure that the work load is balanced between the team members (of the same profession), and that none of them are over allocated (i.e. their utilization percentage doesn’t exceed 100%).
Now lets this with an example: there are two SW Engineers working on the same project, Karen and Nafisa. The PM checked their utilization percentages, and found out that Nafisa was over allocated at 115%, while Karen was allocated only to 80%. 

The PM decided to assign Karen to two tasks which were under Nafisa’a responsibility, and the work load evened out between them. 

The PM then checked what the cost of building an interface between the old and new system is, and saw that both Karen and Nafisa worked 22 hours on this task together. The cost of a SW Engineer is $120 per hour, so the interface cost is $2,640.

Tools and Techniques to measure Resource Utilization

There are many tools available for tracking the utilization and work load of the resources, and below are examples of the more popular ones – 


  • This tool allows the PM to allocate resources to the tasks in the work plan, and decide which percentage they will dedicate to completing it. 
  • Once all the tasks have allocated resources, the tool calculates the work load and expected utilization of each resource. 
  • The PM can then use the “resource levelling” technique to make sure that the work load is balanced, and also see what the utilization is for each resource after they have completed the task.


  • (or any other time sheet tool): This tool allows the HR to swipe their badge at the beginning / end of each work day (or manually update if they aren’t on-site) to see how many hours they worked during a certain time-period. 
  • This then allows the PM to export their time sheets to an Excel spreadsheet, and easily calculate the utilization of each HR. this of course won’t show how many hours they spent on any given task, only present how many hours they spent at work.


  • Similar to the MS-Project, this tool allows the PM to set up the work plan and then allocate resources to the tasks. 
  • After this is done the PM can examine the balance between the resources and the utilization during / after the task is complete.


  • A work management tool which allows the PM to allocate resources to tasks and configure certain time sheet tools to it. 
  • The PM can then see how many hours each resource was working, and how many of those hours were allocated to a certain task. 
  • The tool presents theses via a BI dashboard.

What is Resource Allocation?

Resource allocation involves assigning tasks which appear in a work plan to resources involved in the project. The resources can be either a human resource (HR), or a machine. Once a resource is assigned to a task, the allocation percentage also needs to be set (i.e. the percent of the work hours which the resource will dedicate to completing the task).

For example: David is allocated to the task of configuring a server, which is planned to last 27 work hours. He is planned to spend 60% of his work hours (60% of the 27 work hours = 16.2 work hours) in order to complete the task.

What is Resource Over Allocation?

Over allocation occurs when a certain resource is allocated to multiple overlapping tasks, resulting in the resource having more than 100% work assigned to them.

For example: Vanesa (who works nine hours a day) has three tasks assigned to her, each with a different allocation percentage over a course of a week –
  • Write an outline of the draft configuration document. The duration of the task is 18 work hours, and she is allocated 50% to this task. This means that it is planned to take her 9 work hours to complete this task. The task is planned to start on the 1st of August 2017. 
  • Put together a storyboard for the testing variants. The duration of the task is 27 work hours, and she is allocated 75% to this task. This means that it is planned to take her 20.25 work hours to complete this task. The task is planned to start on the 2nd of August 2017. 
  • Approve the test scripts. The duration of the task is 36 work hours, and she is allocated 50% to this task. This means that it is planned to take her 18 work hours to complete this task. The task is planned to start on the 3rd of August 2017. 
The result is that on the 1st of August she will be allocated 50% of her time, on the 2nd 75% of her time and on the 3rd she will be over allocated at 200% of her time (for the second and third tasks above).

What is Resource Under Allocation?

Under allocation occurs when a certain resource is allocated to one or more tasks at a time, but the aggregate work hours don’t reach the minimum daily work hours. The result is that the resource has less than 100% work assigned to them.

Using the example above: The result is that Vanesa will be under allocated on the first and second day (50% of her time on the first, and 75% on the second). This leaves her 4.5 free work hours (9 work hours X 50%) on the first day and 2.25 (9 work hours X 25%) hours on the second day.

Resource Plan Template Free Downloads


Download the Excel based resource plan, resources plan template
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