How to Manage Conflicting Demands on Resources in Microsoft Project

Managing resources can be a challenge for any project manager, especially when there are conflicting demands on those resources. In Microsoft Project, conflicting demands can arise when multiple tasks require the same resource at the same time or when a resource is overallocated. Fortunately, there are several strategies that you can use to effectively manage conflicting demands on resources in Microsoft Project.

Identify Resource Conflicts

The first step in managing conflicting demands on resources is to identify them. You can do this by using the Resource Graph or the Resource Usage view in Microsoft Project. These views will show you which resources are overallocated and which tasks have conflicting demands on resources.

Once you’ve identified the conflicts, you can begin to develop a plan for resolving them.

Develop a Resource Management Plan

Developing a resource management plan involves analyzing the needs of the project and the availability of resources. This includes determining which resources are critical to the success of the project and which resources are less important. Once you’ve identified the critical resources, you can prioritize their usage and allocate them accordingly.

Prioritize Critical Resources

To prioritize critical resources, you can use the Critical Path Method (CPM), which looks at which activities are essential to completing the project and which ones can be delayed without impacting the overall timeline. By prioritizing the critical resources, you ensure that they are available when needed to complete these essential activities.

Allocate Resources

Allocating resources involves assigning resources to specific tasks based on their availability and skill set. You can use the Resource Sheet view in Microsoft Project to see which resources are available and what skills they possess. Once you’ve identified the available resources, you can assign them to the appropriate tasks.

Adjust the Schedule

Another way to manage conflicting demands on resources is to adjust the schedule. This may involve changing the start and end dates of tasks, or adjusting the duration of tasks to better align with the availability of resources.

Change Task Dates

To change the dates of a task, you can use the Gantt Chart view in Microsoft Project. Simply click on the task bar and drag it to its new start or end date. Keep in mind that changing the dates of one task may impact the dates of other tasks in the schedule.

Adjust Task Durations

You can also adjust task durations by using the Task Information dialog box. This allows you to shorten or extend the duration of a task based on the availability of resources.

Use Resource Leveling

Resource leveling is a technique that involves adjusting the schedule to ensure that resources are not overallocated. This can be done automatically in Microsoft Project by using the Resource Leveling feature.

How to Use Resource Leveling

To use Resource Leveling, go to the Resource tab and click on “Level All.” This will adjust the schedule so that resources are allocated as efficiently as possible. Keep in mind that this may result in changes to the original schedule and may require negotiations with stakeholders.


Managing conflicting demands on resources in Microsoft Project can be challenging, but by identifying conflicts, developing a resource management plan, adjusting the schedule, and using resource leveling, you can effectively manage resources and keep your project on track. Remember that communication with stakeholders is key in resolving conflicts and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.