Mastering the subtle art of workload management is an important task for several project-focused roles in companies. Department heads or executives often tackle project allocation and workload management on a company-wide level, whereas project managers need to assign tasks to their project teams. Regardless of the scale, the main strategies for successful workload management are based on the same principles.

What will you get thanks to this article:

What is workload management? A comparison of the proper team workload management meanings. Why workload management tools are important?

Let us compare a few definitions before you’ll get a few suggestions related to workload management tools (or workload planning – if you like, both mean the same). 

Workload management tools in complex projects

Each of them informs about the role of not a project manager or a leader but of an employee or employees in complex projects. What draws attention is division: team vs particular employee. A few of them are focused on a team and employees. But only in the eye of Forecast – our close competitor in the workload management tools market – is just a particular employee. Which philosophy is the better choice? How to analyze the performance of each employee? What’s emphasized by any of them? Let’s take a look closer.

The term workload management stands for the process of assigning tasks to employees and ensuring they have enough time to perform them.

The process of effectively distributing and organizing work across teams is the workload management is all about.

Care about employees’ time (that will allow them to perform their tasks) – this is a Teamhood suggestion – workload management tool. Can be said that managing team workload effectively means that the leader is able to set achievable deadlines. But how avoid unrealistic deadlines or what to base if you want to prioritize work and assign other tasks? Let’s leave these questions unanswered for now and move on.

In paraphrasing words workload management tool Asana – our competitor and workload management tool provider – by workload management they understand not only distributing and measuring work. They suggest when the workload management process is done efficiently. Workload management tool increases employees’ (or, resources, as we could say) work execution and – the very interesting and worth taking into account – their satisfaction. At the end of each day, the employee is more pleased than overwhelmed. 

Why it is worth using workload management tool in complex projects?

The company emphasizes increasing employees’ work performance and (the most important part if thinking about a long-term relationship with a particular employee) satisfaction at the end of the day. Satisfaction for both sides: for the manager and for his team.

Important issues about workload management tools in project progress

Several issues about workload management tools and project progress arise here. First, an employee’s well-being also stems from what is going on in his or her personal life that we can have little influence on. Secondly, you need to have a good enough relationship with them to know exactly what it is in or through work that makes them feel satisfied (and this is not always apparent from an employee’s declarations, who under the pressure of the workplace may not be willing to talk about everything for fear that I might want to actually do something other than what they currently have to do). And third – perhaps most importantly – how do we measure this satisfaction? How to choose best workload management tools?



Workload management tool refers to assigning work to a team in a way that gets the most out of its skills and abilities and allows it to achieve the best performance and produce the highest quality deliverables.

Smartsheet suggests – another project planning tool and our competitor – at the first sight – something more concrete about what has to be done. Such workload management tools also emphasize a project manager’s competencies and its strong connection with the team’s performance. But only competencies that are useful in getting out employees’ skills and giving them a place to evolve. How to do it? How to increase employees’ performance and skills useful for the company during a particular time?

Workload management is (...) what we call the ability to distribute work equally, giving each employee their fair share and no more. Unless there is a special case that requires more work, you should not overload anyone. Workload management tools can help.

And this is the most controversial definition. The Forecast company goes much more and also informs about the role of ability. But ability is aimed at distributing work equally and in the way that each employee will get a “fair share” – whatever it means. Right workload management tool can be helpful in this.

But in the end, we get to know it’s all about not overloading anyone, excluding very special cases – but what are the important tasks? Isn’t every task very important? Can anyone’s work be equal? What about experience differences, project complexity, requirements such as the time when tasks have to be done, and – the most important – business profitability (some projects are more important than others; some of them require more time spent to achieve an expected result)? Each reader of this article about project management and workload management tools knows that business need determines what must be done and what can be named a “special case”. Period. 

Project managers know how effective team workload management important is

The role of at least good resource workload management is to help not only with team performance measuring, and resource scheduling, but workload management as well.

Each has its own vision of effective team workload management. Each emphasizes two things – workload management tools are important.

First, workload management is a process, it takes a while because of many questions and many explanations that are used during a certain time.

And second – effective and intelligent workload management assumes that a leader had a particular bunch of skills that help team members achieve expected by them individual business goals or sometimes even very personal ones. What kind of skills and what will be the basis of making decisions?

What’s typical in the workload management definitions?

Badly performed workload management – how to do it with top workload management tools?

How to do bad team workload management and project management? How managing workloads shouldn’t look like?

A team member’s side is very appreciated and grateful because of:

But to be more serious – why workload management important is? Monitoring the current workload and team’s work (especially remote teams) helps project managers spot problematic trends and areas earlier, giving them a chance to solve issues before they escalate. Chance for resource allocation, adjusting project schedules or improving workload management plan, especially, if you can use best workload management tools and project management tools.

What are the most effective workload management strategies?

Visibility – key to successful workload management and task management

Being in the know is the essential element of implementing workload management and using team workload management tools. There are many potential causes of unbalanced workload (e.g. poor workflow management, task allocation, inaccurate project estimates, the underperformance of individuals within the entire team) and in order to fix the problem, you have to understand where it is coming from. It’s best when you’re aware of:

Workload management nowadays can be done efficiently without appropriate project management software?

The “what needs to be done” part can be covered by project documentation or project management software. At Teamdeck, where we can assign tasks, we use Jira to track all the tasks in our backlog. This way, we know what needs to happen (and what is the time frame). Other popular tools for project and task management are Trello, Asana, and Podio.

For tracking the workload, on the other hand, I recommend setting up a resource calendar. While some PM tools for task management have some team management features as part of the product, many companies make the decision of using dedicated workload management software.

Project management in practise – all you have to know about task management

Its objective is to allocate the work among employees, track workload, and manage absences. Project management and capacity planning tools can often be integrated with each other so there’s no need to input data twice or worry about lost information.

A resource calendar gives you the much-needed visibility into current, past, and future your team’s workload. All of your employees are listed there, together with their allocated projects.

The workload management software is crucial to prioritize everyone's tasks

Resource calendar in the workload management tool and project management

When browsing through your team’s resource calendar look out for:

These are the most common red flags that may prompt you to take action. Some resource project management tools will warn you about employee overtime or overutilization:


Online calendars with team members insight to manage tasks

Teamdeck project management software allows you to create a workload report, updated in real-time and has advanced features. It’s more convenient than the calendar view when comparing estimated hours with actual tracked time.

Has workload management been done right? What to do when signs of an unbalanced workload occur?

First, try to figure out what is the root of the problem and check if you use good project management software for task management. Sometimes the overtime happens because the project was underestimated in the first place, whereas in other cases it is one underperforming (or not skilled enough) team member that causes the delays.

When the workload isn’t distributed evenly across the team, check if you can allocate everyday tasks to the less busy employees, using project management software. It’s not always possible, especially when you have a conflict of skills/experience. In such a case, you may try to plug in freelance help or shift employees between multiple projects.

The comparison between booking time and timesheets time is the indicator that is used during workload management and its optimization.

Project management tool – what you have to remember?

Keep in mind, however, that a new person, even a highly experienced professional, will need some time to get familiar with the project and its requirements, so it’s not always the fastest fix. It is good when tools have advanced features.

If the whole team is overworked and it’s not caused by a bottleneck within the team but rather a change of requirements or inadequate estimates, you might need to negotiate the schedule of this project. The deadline might be non-extendable in which case you can try to compress project duration by e.g. fast-tracking. It’s a practice of overlapping certain project tasks that were initially planned as happening one after another:

Fast tracking scheduling method is a major slice of the best workload management tools

Fast tracking scheduling method given by workload management software and for task management

In the article Project scheduling techniques you can find a list of useful suggestions to effectively manage a workload. (But it doesn’t mean it will save you from using resource scheduling software). 

There are ways to deal with workload issues as they happen, but it’s definitely better to prevent them in advance. This is why a data-driven approach and team culture are such significant elements of effective workload management. 


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