What happens to a time constrained schedule if executed with insufficient resources?

Small companies are often faced with resource constraints -- in funding, technology, materials and more -- as they plan, organize, schedule and execute various projects. Most constraints of any kind tend to hinder progress. However, besides some of the disadvantages to resource-constrained projects, certain advantages or positive outcomes can transpire as a result of resource limitations.

Higher Efficiency

  1. Resource constraints can cause an organization to operate more efficiently, according to the MIT Sloan Management Review. For example, a small company faced with financial restrictions may, instead of hiring four contractors for technical support, hire two who can accomplish the work for the same amount of money. Projects can also be overly complex in nature. Hence, management may be forced to modify assignments so people can accomplish each task more easily, expediting the time in which the project gets completed.

Encourage Innovation

  1. Project managers facing resource constraints may be forced to become more innovative, creative and resourceful. They may use motivation techniques to get people to complete tasks and assignments more quickly, for example. Some project managers may employ software applications to expedite certain processes, such as handling mailings or scheduling meetings. Small companies faced with material constraints may find substitutes that work just as well.

Inability to Complete All Steps

  1. Sometimes, certain aspects of projects won't be completed because of resource constraints. The project manager may start by eliminating the least important procedures to bring the project to fruition. For example, engineers may instruct production workers to eliminate one inconsequential step from the mixing process for a packaged dessert being tested in the market. Engineers can later figure out how to meet production demands with the additional mixing step. But the immediate need is to get the product on grocery shelves to determine if consumers like it.


  1. Small companies faced with project resource constraints may inevitably be delayed in meeting deadlines. The deadlines or due dates may have been unrealistic from the start, considering the lack of certain resources. However, the pressing issue for the project team is how they can minimize the delay. Project managers may hire temporary workers to help with clerical or simpler tasks, if the added expense stays within the budget's parameters. The key is making sure upper management or clients are apprised of the delays, and that a new deadline be set.

    Each task in your project plan will have project resources like people, time and a budget attached. Therefore, you must know their availability to schedule them. That’s a resource constraint, and project managers must learn how to manage those constraints in order to keep the project moving forward.

    What Are Resource Constraints in Project Management?

    A resource constraint is any limitation and/or risk associated with project resources. Identifying these resource management constraints is an essential resource planning activity which occurs during project planning phase. Resource constraints are roadblocks that can derail your project and prevent successful delivery.

    Constraints impact every aspect of the project life cycle. In fact, the most common constraints in project management are referred to as the ; time, cost and scope. Projects have a budget (cost), a deadline (time) and the project manager must know exactly what the project will include (scope).

    Managing your project resources and having the tools to quickly allocate what’s needed is what project management software does. ProjectManager is a cloud-based software that lets you organize, track and allocate resources to match capacity. Manage your resources with online Gantt charts that work seamlessly with our resource management features. Try ProjectManager for free today!

    What happens to a time constrained schedule if executed with insufficient resources?
    What happens to a time constrained schedule if executed with insufficient resources?
    Manage resource costs with ProjectManager’s interactive Gantt charts. Learn More

    The Potential Impact of Resource Constraints

    Resource constraints are most often associated with cost. The project budget determines the experience and skills of the team you assemble, as well as the nonhuman resources you can acquire.

    That’s why availability is such an important component of resource constraints. Without managing resource availability and resource allocation during a project, you can quickly find yourself with excellent materials—but no team to use them. (Or, an expert team that doesn’t have the equipment it needs to execute its tasks.)

    Therefore, cost, availability and access are all tightly woven with managing resource constraints in a project. This is especially impactful on a project when the project manager is responsible for teams that are distributed geographically, which can further complicate the resource management process.

    Resource Constraints Examples

    Constraints are factors that limit or restrict a resource’s use. Resource constraints are varied, but usually share one thing in common; cost. People, places and things all cost money, whether by salary, rental or purchase.

    If you’re working on a construction project and need to rent heavy equipment in March to dig a ditch, but all the machinery is under contract until summertime, that’s a resource constraint. You must identify and resolve these constraints in the planning phase of a project life cycle.

    In the example above, the project manager would look into reserving equipment, perhaps by selecting an alternative rental company. Either way, they should make these decisions long before any ground is broken on the project. Those decisions are documented in a resource management plan, which is a project planning document that defines how project resources will be managed. Failure to do so is a sure way to fall off schedule and overspend your budget.

    Related: Free Resource Planning Template

    Tips for Managing Resource Constraints

    Now that we understand resource constraints, let’s discuss some of the best practices to use. Following these project management tips can help with your overall resource management:

    • Be Strategic: Before you manage anything, you need to develop a strategy and ensure it aligns with the corporate strategy. This requires knowing what you’re trying to accomplish, how you’ll determine success and what will help you accomplish your goals.
    • Know Project Requirements: Know your deadlines, milestones, goals, budget and key competitors. Requirements gathering is worth the extra time and effort it takes to set up your project for success.
    • Have a Contingency Plan: You can identify and prepare for resource constraints, but there are always going to be resource management issues that come out of the blue. Don’t let it sideline you. Have a Plan B, C or D for the unexpected. You might not know what will happen, but you should have a contingency plan to know how you’ll respond.
    • Track Time: Resources, like projects, are limited in time. You should know how long you’ll need them and track resource utilization. This is very helpful when you’re dealing with repetitive work. It’s possible you’re not allocating the right amount of time.
    • Prioritize: Not all tasks are equal, and therefore, not all resources are going to be evenly distributed. Take time to prioritize your work. Define the difference between urgent and important, and know the effort required so you can resource your schedule properly.
    • Use Resource Management Software: Having resource management software that plans and tracks your resources saves you time and effort. You want features that give you real-time data and make it easy to reallocate resources when necessary.

    How to Do Resource-Constrained Scheduling

    Without resource-constrained scheduling, resource constraints are only abstract. Resource-constrained scheduling deals with scenarios where resources are limited and let you devise ways to ensure you complete tasks on time.

    Completing projects under resource constraints requires problem-solving. It takes a creative project manager to look at the project and determine how to shift resources to address constraints. To do this, project managers need to balance the triple constraint resources, so this might mean taking from the budget, schedule or scope. Whichever constraint is used, the end result must be a project that continues to meet its deadline and budget.

    Projects can fail, or not be completed if you cannot resolve resource constraints. Resource-constrained scheduling is often a balancing act. If you can’t hire enough people to manufacture a product and meet demand, then you might seek cheaper materials or reduce inventory.

    There are risks to the quality of your deliverable and the satisfaction of your customer base, of course. You need to take into account all of these results as you make and adjust schedules.

    How ProjectManager Helps With Resource Constraints

    Obviously, managing resource constraints and creating resource-constrained schedules requires a great deal of flexibility. You need more than a spreadsheet to manage all those changes. ProjectManager is cloud-based software that gives project managers greater insight into their resource constraints so they can respond quickly and effectively.

    Create a Resource Plan on a Gantt Chart

    The first thing to do is organize all your resources, and the best way to get this complicated data on one page is with ProjectManager’s interactive Gantt charts. Use it to list your tasks and add planned resource costs to them. Dependencies can be linked, and milestones set.

    Manage Your Resources in Real-Time

    People are your most important resource and are often the hardest to manage. ProjectManager’s resource management features help you manage your team more effectively. First, you can set their availability. Then, as you assign them tasks, use the color-coded workload chart. You can reallocate their work right from the chart to help them work more productively.

    What happens to a time constrained schedule if executed with insufficient resources?
    What happens to a time constrained schedule if executed with insufficient resources?

    View Your Team’s Progress on Kanban Boards

    Get transparency into your team’s workflow with kanban boards. They allow the team to manage their backlog while managers get visibility into their team’s work. They can see any upcoming blocks, and reallocate resources to keep the team working.

    What happens to a time constrained schedule if executed with insufficient resources?
    What happens to a time constrained schedule if executed with insufficient resources?

    ProjectManager is award-winning software that organizes schedules and updates resources in real time to manage projects successfully. Keep track of your team and nonhuman resources to deliver projects on time and within budget. Try ProjectManager free today!

    What are the impact of resource constrained scheduling?

    Increases criticality of events While scheduling with limited resources is highly useful, it will increase the criticality of events. This means two things: It increases the number of potentially critical events during the project cycle. It increases the severity by which critical events affect your project.

    What may arise as a result of failing to schedule limited resources?

    Poor planning of project resources results in poor project outcomes, including low-quality work, failed project completion, and loss of business opportunities in future projects.

    What is the impact on a project schedule when you level your resources?

    Resource leveling is important because it: Eliminates over-allocation: by balancing the demands of project tasks with resource capacity, resource leveling removes the risks of over-allocating resources. Enhances productivity and reduces burnout: by removing over-allocation, the risk of resource burnout is reduced.

    How does resource limited scheduling keeps a project on schedule?

    Resource scheduling involves the scheduling of start and end dates for each task in the project based on the resources needed and their availability. Balancing the availability of resources with the work capacity of teams is how to keep a project on schedule.