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Assigning People to Tasks

Assigning People to Tasks

Author: Sophia Tutorial

Identify the documents used when assigning tasks and gaining approval to dedicate people to a project team.

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what's covered
An important aspect of project management involves the assignment of tasks to team members. This tutorial discusses how a project manager assigns people to tasks by using:
  1. Assigning Resources
  2. Task Chart
  3. Resource Agreement


Once defined, a project manager assigns tasks using the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Each project task in the WBS will then have people assigned to it.

The assigned resource will either be a member of the project team or an external contracted resource.

In either case, an assigned resource becomes part of the project team, which means the project manager will track the assigned resource’s progress on the task.

The project manager assigns people to tasks in order to build out the project schedule. They also use the assignments to confirm that all tasks have adequate coverage by resources.


To create task assignments, the project manager uses a task chart, which displays the activities and their associated tasks from the WBS. The project manager can then link individual resources with the tasks. Some charting software even provides resource balancing, so you can see which resources have too many tasks to complete, and which have too few.

Activities may also be linked to people resources, for example, in the case where one person has oversight of an activity. But in most cases, the project manager will be responsible for the completion of the activities.

ACTIVITY: Prepare and install voicemail server RESOURCE: Project Manager
TASK: Build computer server RESOURCE: Eric Blair 2 Days
TASK: Connect computer server to network RESOURCE: Ted Geisel
TASK: Install voicemail software RESOURCE: Alice Sheldon (vendor)
TASK: Program functions of voicemail RESOURCE: Mary Ann Evans
TASK: Test functions of voicemail RESOURCE: David Cornwell

Assigning tasks prior to creating the schedule also ensures that individuals can provide comments and estimates on their assigned tasks. This results in more accurate schedules and, more importantly, buy-in from those actually involved in the work.

Tasks are assigned to people before the schedule is created so that it is easy to identify tasks where the resources aren't available. Gaps can be filled with additional internal or external resources before the schedule is finalized.

term to know

Task Chart
A chart that represents the assignment of people to each activity or task included in the WBS.


A resource agreement is one method that project managers use to achieve buy-in from team members about their assigned tasks. It is an agreement between the project manager or management and a team member. The resource agreement includes:

  • Project tasks assigned to the team member
  • Percentage of the team member's total time that is assigned to the project
  • Time allotted to complete the task
  • Parameters for completing the assigned tasks such as any additional resources that can be used to complete the work.

Below is an example of a resource agreement related to preparing and installing a voicemail server:

Agreement on the assignment
Employee Task Percent Allocated Hours Parameters
Eric Blair Build computer server 100% 16 hours May use IT intern
Agreement between parties
Name Position Department Signature
Eric Blair Network Engineer IT
Rodney Whitaker Project Manager PM

This document would be formally signed by the team member to show the project manager that the individual is committed to the details contained within the agreement. The document also serves as management's approval of the duration of time the team member can spend on the project. This process of assigning people to tasks continues until all tasks are assigned.

term to know
Resource Agreement
A document that describes the responsibilities of each member of the project team.

try it
What assignments still need to occur before the project manager can create a schedule?

Recall what you learned about resource procurement and planning in previous lessons.

If a task must be assigned to a resource outside of the team, which aspects of the project plan will this affect?

In this lesson, you learned that a work breakdown structure is used when assigning resources and tasks. A task chart displays activities and resources, which helps a project manager identify any gaps. The resource agreement identifies the percentage of commitment time from each team member to help achieve buy-in.

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia Tutorial Author Jeff Carroll.

Terms to Know
Resource Agreement

A document that describes the responsibilities of each member of the project team.

Task Chart

A chart that represents the assignment of people to each activity or task included in a WBS.