In application management services (AMS), high resource utilisation, effective resource planning and optimal assignment of service requests to resources are critical to success. Meeting these objectives requires a systematic and repeatable approach for determining the best way of measuring resource utilisation, assessing workload and assigning service requests. In this paper, we present a two-step approach to help achieve the above objectives. We first estimate the amount of effort that each resource likely spends on handling each service request (SR) based on a metadata model and a set of SR handling priority rules. Then, we proceed to measure resource utilisation and assess SR assignment process based on such effort data. Furthermore, we propose a maximum likelihood method to estimate the mean effort for a class of tickets based on some statistical assumptions. A simulation study has been conducted to validate its feasibility. © 2014 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.