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A guide to resource smoothing in project management

Allie Kashkash 6 min read
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When it comes to meeting deadlines and completing projects effectively, there are a few different project management techniques that you can use. One is resource smoothing, whose goal is to even workload distribution to meet deadlines. Resource smoothing helps project managers, manage.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into resource smoothing, how it can help ensure you always meet your deadlines, and how monday work management is exactly what you need to streamline all your work processes and reach your goals that much faster.

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What is resource smoothing?

Resource smoothing is a method used in resource management that focuses on allocating available resources across the lifeline of a project. The idea here is to minimize the ebbs and flows of resource usage, while simultaneously maintaining the project’s critical path. This means that the goal of resource smoothing is to keep to your deadlines and work with the available resources. This is important when resources are limited or over-extended.

Why is resource smoothing important in resource management?

Resource smoothing is one part of the resource management puzzle. It plays a vital role by:

  • Ensuring a consistent workload for team members, helping to limit periods of high stress followed by dead periods.
  • Making the most efficient use of available resources, therefore limiting the need for last-minute changes.
  • Helping ensure predictability of resource needs so that teams can plan and allocate properly.

What are slack time and float in resource smoothing? 

Slack time, also called float, in resource smoothing is used to refer to the amount of time a task can delayed, without affecting the final deadline. Paying attention to slack time and float can help project managers when “smoothing” their resources and redistributing tasks and resources across the entire project timetable.

The benefits of resource smoothing

Resource smoothing can be a powerful tool to planning your deadlines and not overstretch your team. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits.

1. Take care of team members and prevent burnout

No project manager wants a team that is overworked and burnt out. Evenly distributing resources not only takes care of team members and prevents burnout, but helps the workplace remain productive, sustainable, and positive. For example, resource smoothing can help managers understand which team members are stretched thin and who has big projects coming up soon, so they can allocate resources and team members appropriately.

2. Ensure optimal use of equipment

Resource smoothing not only looks at people but also equipment and other physical resources. Resource smoothing helps avoid overuse and downtime by scheduling the right pieces of equipment for the right projects. This can also help save costs by avoiding unnecessary maintenance or failures due to overuse.

3. Allow project changes without changing the critical path of a project

Not all tasks in a project are critical. This is a fundamental part of resource smoothing which gives managers the option to change or even cancel parts of projects which aren’t critical. This is important because if resources are limited, parts of projects need to be changed to guarantee that deadlines can still be met.

4. Reduce fluctuation in resource demand

In project management, planning is key. Resource smoothing helps stabilize the demand for resources throughout a project’s lifecycle by planning and understanding the availability of resources at any given time. This allows for better budgeting and procurement planning as well as a better workflow throughout the project.

5. Enhance customer satisfaction

No one wants unhappy customers due to being unorganized or missing important deadlines. Resource smoothing enhances customer satisfaction by helping companies track progress and deliver high-quality products and results.

6. Promote a more agile work environment

Planning and allocating resources is an important part of project management. But also knowing how to make changes and go with the flow is critical to keeping a team on track and happy. An agile work environment and approach to project management is easier when using resource smoothing because information is readily available when it’s time to make a change.

different color dots for team members and project management

Examples of resource smoothing

Resource smoothing can look different in different contexts and industries. Here are some common examples:

  • Construction project: A construction manager evenly distributes tasks among workers, making sure that no single team is overwhelmed. This approach also schedules the use of cranes and other heavy equipment to avoid idle time.
  • Software development: A project leader assigns tasks to developers, designers, and testers in a way that prevents bottlenecks, with each team receiving a steady flow of work.
  • Event planning: An event planner allocates tasks across the team to ensure that all aspects of the event, from logistics to marketing, progress at the same time without overburdening any single team member.
  • Marketing campaign: A marketing manager spreads tasks such as market research, content creation, and campaign execution evenly over the project timeline to maintain a consistent level of activity and prevent burnout.
  • Academic research project: A research lead assigns tasks to various members, ensuring that data collection, analysis, and writing progress are all progressing simultaneously. This helps to avoid last-minute rushes and that the research is published timely.
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How to use monday work management for resource smoothing

Trying to smooth the activity of a project is difficult if you don’t have insights into what’s going on in your team, what deadlines are approaching, where bottlenecks are, and what resources you have available.

This is where monday work management comes into the picture. Firstly, we recommend checking out our resource management template. With this template, you’ll get started with resource management by being able to allocate (and smooth) resources.

timeline with different color boxes

The Gantt view is a critical asset when it comes to resource smoothing. It gives you a very appealing visual representation of deadlines and the length of time that each part of a project is being worked on. This allows project managers to understand which parts of projects can be shifted without affecting the final deadline of a project.

Using dashboards will also help keep your resource smoothing on track. A dashboard gives you a birds-eye view of what’s going on in your team including the workload widget which helps PMs allocate assignments and move between team members when necessary.

different team members' names and their workload

The best part of monday work management is that you can customize it to meet your team’s specific needs. Need to track something unique to your team or industry? Join over 180,000 customers, and start your free trial.


Resource smoothing is the process of allocating available resources in a project to meet a final deadline. In resource smoothing, the goal is to stick to original deadlines.

The main difference between resource leveling and resource smoothing has to do with project deadlines. In resource smoothing, the goal is to move resources and not the deadline. In resource leveling, deadlines can change to meet the available resources.

No, in resource smoothing you don’t change the critical path. The goal is to utilize resources properly and efficiently to not have to change the critical path.

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