How to Identify and Resolve Resource Over-allocations in Microsoft Project

Resource over-allocation is a common problem in project management that occurs when project resources such as people, equipment, or materials are assigned more work than they can realistically handle. This can lead to missed deadlines, increased costs, and a decrease in the quality of the final product. In this article, we will explore strategies for identifying and resolving resource over-allocations in Microsoft Project.

Understanding Resource Over-allocations

Resource over-allocation occurs when a project manager assigns more work to a resource than is possible to complete within the given time frame. This can happen due to poor planning or unexpected changes in the project scope. When a resource is over-allocated, it is typically marked with a red line in Microsoft Project’s Gantt chart view.

Resource over-allocations can cause a number of problems in a project, including:

  • Delayed tasks
  • Increased project costs
  • Poor quality work
  • Burnout and stress among team members

Identifying and resolving resource over-allocations is crucial for ensuring that your project runs smoothly and meets its goals on time and within budget.

Identifying Resource Over-allocations

The first step in resolving resource over-allocations is to identify them. In Microsoft Project, you can use a variety of tools to detect when a resource is over-allocated. Here are some ways to do this:

1. Use the Team Planner View

One of the best ways to identify resource over-allocations is to use the Team Planner View in Microsoft Project. This view allows you to see all the resources assigned to your project and their availability. You can quickly identify over-allocations by looking for red bars indicating that a resource is assigned more work than available hours.

2. Check the Resource Graph

The Resource Graph in Microsoft Project is another useful tool for identifying resource over-allocations. This graph displays the workload of each resource over time, so you can easily see when a resource is assigned too much work.

3. Use the Task Usage View

The Task Usage View in Microsoft Project allows you to see how much work has been assigned to each resource on individual tasks. If you notice that a resource is assigned more work than they can realistically complete within the given time frame, this may be a sign of an over-allocation.

Resolving Resource Over-allocations

Once you have identified resource over-allocations in your project, you need to take steps to resolve them. Here are some strategies you can use to address over-allocations:

1. Reassign Tasks

One of the easiest ways to resolve resource over-allocations is to reassign tasks to other resources with more availability. To do this in Microsoft Project, click on the task you want to reassign and select “Assign Resources” from the menu. Then, choose a new resource from the list of available resources.

2. Adjust Task Durations

If you can’t reassign tasks, you may be able to adjust the duration of tasks to reduce the amount of work assigned to a particular resource. To do this in Microsoft Project, right-click on the task you want to modify and select “Information.” Then, adjust the task duration as needed.

3. Change Working Hours

Another way to resolve resource over-allocations is to change the working hours of a resource. For example, you may be able to ask a team member to work overtime or adjust their schedule to free up more time for other tasks. In Microsoft Project, you can adjust working hours by clicking on the resource name in the Resource Sheet View and selecting “Resource Information.”

4. Add More Resources

If reassigning tasks, adjusting durations, or changing working hours isn’t possible, you may need to add more resources to your project. In Microsoft Project, you can add new resources by clicking on “Project” in the menu bar and selecting “Resource Sheet.” Then, click on “New Resource” and enter the details for the new resource.

Best Practices for Avoiding Resource Over-allocations

While identifying and resolving resource over-allocations is important, it’s even better to avoid them altogether. Here are some best practices for preventing resource over-allocations in your projects:

  • Plan carefully: Spend time upfront planning your project and assigning resources to tasks based on their availability and skills.
  • Monitor workload: Keep an eye on your team’s workload throughout the project to ensure that no one is assigned too much work.
  • Use resource leveling: Microsoft Project offers a resource leveling tool that can automatically resolve resource over-allocations by adjusting task durations or reassigning tasks.
  • Communicate regularly: Regular communication with your team members can help you identify and resolve resource over-allocations before they become a problem.

Byfollowing these best practices, you can minimize the risk of resource over-allocations and ensure that your project runs smoothly.


Resource over-allocations can be a major problem in project management. By using tools like Microsoft Project to identify and resolve over-allocations, you can avoid delays, reduce costs, and improve the quality of your final product. Remember to follow best practices for preventing over-allocations in the first place, such as careful planning, workload monitoring, and regular communication with your team. With these strategies in place, you can successfully manage your project and achieve your goals.