Resource levelling

Save for later. A scheduling calculation that involves utilising float or increasing or decreasing the resources required for specific activities, such that any peaks and troughs of resource usage are smoothed out.

This does not affect the overall duration. It is also known as time limited resource scheduling. Resource smoothing is used when the time constraint takes priority. The objective is to complete the work by the required date while avoiding peaks and troughs of resource demand. Resource levelling is used when limits on the availability of resources are paramount. Few re-usable resources are limitless, so the time schedule has to be adjusted to take into account the limited availability of resources over time.

There are two approaches to reconciling resource limits and time constraints; resource smoothing or time limited resource scheduling and resource levelling or resource limited scheduling.

A smoothed resource profile will be achieved by delaying some work. This will remove some flexibility from the schedule and its ability to deal with unavoidable delays, but the advantage is usually a more efficient and cost-effective use of resources. In many situations a mixture of levelling and smoothing may be required. This is particularly true in the programme and portfolio dimensions.

I've got Excel and half a day a week thank you. What else do I need? Acquiring, allocating and managing the resources required for a project is a specific task that ensures that internal and external resources, especially those that are scarce, are used effectively, on time and to budget. Search APM. Forgotten your password?

Forgotten your Corporate Partner username? Username is required Password is required. Home Resources Find a Resource Difference between 'resource smoothing' and 'resource levelling'. Posted in Project controls. Recommended events.

Difference between 'resource smoothing' and 'resource levelling'

Scenario planning: Mindful foresight beyond the risk horizon webinar 15 May Procuring for agile: thoughts on what good looks like webinar 23 April Recommended blogs. What is resource management? The basics of an effective project plan 4 October Recommended news. Wuhan builds a hospital in 10 days 26 March What is takes to create a 1, bed facility in China. Join APM. Sign up to the APM Newsletter.Project management is all about juggling your resources and your projects.

Resource leveling allows project managers to balance resources over the course of a project and try to resolve conflicts between resources.

Leveling is a key component of project management. To read about other key factors related to project resources, read Ronda Bowen's article, Key Elements of Resource Management. Resource leveling tries to take the available resources and compare them to the demands of ongoing projects.

Often, many projects or tasks will overlap, creating strain on resources, especially manpower.

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Resource leveling tries to take these competing demands and allocate resources effectively. Many times this either means that a project will have to be delayed while other projects are completed. But sometimes this is not feasible. Often tasks need to be done for the project to be finished on time.

A delay in one task could deeply affect the rest of the project. Another way to implement resource leveling is to lengthen the time it takes to finish a specific task. As opposed to a particular task taking one week, a project manager could extend that to two weeks to make sure that there are enough resources to complete that particular task. Yet again, this could affect the overall project. When leveling, the ultimate goal is always to fix over-allocation.

Read Ronda Bowen's article about Resource Allocation for some ideas on ways you can achieve this goal. While resource leveling can assure that money and manpower are available for all competing projects and tasks, it could affect your critical path.

This can be a problem since you cannot tell in the beginning which tasks will be essential to the critical path. If a task that is delayed does affect your critical path, your project could become overdue and make for very unhappy clients. By default, the critical path is not displayed in a program like Microsoft Project. However, you can read Linda Richter's article, Working With the Critical Path to learn how to display this helpful visual graph.

To make resource leveling more effective, a project manager should measure time in days and hours. This is easier to measure than any other dimension. Resource leveling generally breaks things down between finishing a project within a certain length of time or finishing a project with only the resources available.

Projects that are going to be completed within a time limit use all the needed resources. These projects are usually those on the critical path. Projects that only use the resources that are available can be stretched out until the necessary resources become obtainable.

How to Use Resource Leveling for Project Planning and Scheduling

If the number of projects scheduled exceeds the needed resources, then those projects will have to be put off until a later date. Overall, resource leveling helps a project manager decide whether or not he or she should quickly finish a project by using the maximum number of resources needed for that project. The alternative is to stretch out how long a project will take to ensure that enough resources are available to finish that project. In a program like Microsoft Project, you can choose to level your resources either manually or automatically.

For more information on how to level resources in Project, read Linda Richter's two-part article, Project Leveling Resources.Project constraints are never welcome, particularly when staff resources are the source of the limitation. Staffing constraints can have a serious impact on the project schedule, and must be addressed to prevent permanent damage from which there may be no recovery. Resource leveling is a management technique used to overcome staff level constraints. Read on to learn how it works.

In the case of project scheduling, the key challenge is to maintain schedule optimization in the face of resource dependencies and constraints. Resource leveling is an approach to project scheduling whereby task start and end dates are determined by the availability of internal and external resources.

There are two sides to this process. The technical side of resource leveling is the formulaic manipulation of the project schedule to avoid resource over-allocation.

Over-allocation occurs when one or more resources are assigned to more work than they can complete in their available work hours. Resource leveling will resolve over-allocations by moving task start and end dates, or extending task durations in order to suit resource availability. Except for the simplest projects, resource leveling is far too complicated for manual processing, and is best aided by computer software.

Leveling formulas must be able to examine the entire schedule from multiple perspectives, considering task relationships and dependencies, dynamically setting start and end dates according to identified resource levels. But that is only a partial picture. Resource leveling goes beyond numbers and calculations, beginning before the first task is even 'put to paper'. In the technical sense, resource leveling is a tool, working the numbers to physically create a realistic, workable schedule. But, there has to be a strategic basis for these scheduling decisions.

In all likelihood, the basis for resource leveling will be set during the project initiation phase, when key project variables are defined, and project management strategies are established. At this point, you will have to answer the following questions:.

resource levelling

Negotiation is the key element of this process. In most cases, resource leveling will extend the duration of your project. If you have to extend the project schedule, you must have the support of your project sponsors and customers.

As you approach your negotiations for resources, you need to communicate the consequences of resource constraints. If the project completion date is fixed in stone, you will need to negotiate for additional resources, or make your case to modify the project in some way to enable completion with available resources. Unless you are very, very lucky, project resources are rarely unlimited. In most cases, project managers have to compete for resources, and eventually compromise on one or more project elements in response to resource constraints.

The question is how? And, as usual, you will be in a stronger position if you lay the proper strategic foundation during the project initiation phase. Left unmanaged, resource constraints can threaten project success. You have to plan appropriately to ensure that constraints are properly defined, communicated and mitigated. Above all, you have to have stakeholder buy-in to any mitigating solutions.

This planning process can be summed up in four steps:. Learn to Fast Track.Conference Paper Scheduling Developing a good schedule for managing the execution of a project is paramount to good project management practice.

The Critical Path Method of scheduling is currently the most popular technique employed by scheduling practitioners. Understanding how a schedule is created, as well as the impacts of progress and disturbances, help the project manager and other stakeholders appreciate what they are looking at when presented with a schedule report. At the core of the CPM process are the forward and backward passes.

These depend on good logic and they provide the earliest and latest dates of each schedule activity. This presentation is structured to remove the mystery of this process and will provide the reader with the skill to develop and analyze schedules. Covered issues include the use of various relationships, lags and constraints and their impact on the scheduling process. Closely related to CPM scheduling, resource leveling appears to be a mysterious process that is not well understood.

This presentation will take the schedule development process a step further by providing a clear picture of the process.

resource levelling

Readers will gain a better appreciation of the process as well as the results. Covered issues include the priority setting for resource allocation and the trade-off between duration of the project and allocation of limited resources. This is a presentation of the fundamentals of CPM scheduling to help the reader fully understand the mechanics of scheduling.

The intent is to provide the concepts that will allow project team members and stakeholders to understand the published output of the scheduling process. The basic process involves the following steps:. Use of CPM networks is currently the most popular of the available methodologies. Other methods include manually drawing bar charts, critical chain, horse blanket, and others. While manual methods of scheduling are feasible for small projects with just a few activities, the vast majority of scheduling is done with the aid of computer programs designed for the specific methodology.

These tools also have a repertoire of screen layouts and output reports. The relevant project parameters include the list of activities, their duration, and the interconnected logic of the sequence of execution.Under the Project Schedule management knowledge area, there is a specific process called Develop Project schedule.

Now, as both of these techniques are resource optimization techniques so their primary focus is to allocate resources in such a way to bring maximum output effectively. We can use Resource Levelling both for human and material resources.

We need this tool when shared or critical resources are available only at:. Like when we assign a resource to two or more activities at the same time, it is over-allocation. A resource cannot work beyond 8 hours in a day. Here, it needs resource-leveling. We need to take care of available supply and based on that we can adjust work duration. Only one resource can do a given activity. If that resource is occupied doing another work on the critical path, the path itself needs to change to include that dependency.

We can say that, if there is a need for Resource Levelling due to resource constraints, we have to go with this resource optimization tool. As a result, it may bring a big change in the project schedule because we have to level it.

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We do not have more than 45 hours a week to our schedule. Applying this resource constraint may result in a change of project schedule dependencies. And it may result in a change in project duration.

Resource leveling

In the image above when we applied 45 hours constraint to a 7-week project, then it became a 9-week project schedule. The primary source is the network diagram. When we create a network diagram, we mainly take care of dependencies mandatory or discretionary between activities.

The constraints become visible when we assign resources to these activities. Resource Levelling may change the critical path of the network diagram. The reason lies in the change in the duration of the project schedule. We can see that change in the critical path is very interesting in this process.

And to get this process, I recommend watching the video available at the end of the blog. Here you can see some disadvantages also. There are many disadvantages as we have to live with constraints. We may need to delay certain tasks due to over-allocation or due to the scarcity of resources. Resource leveling takes care of the bad allocation of resources. It gives a clear picture of what can be done within available resource constraints. After applying resource-leveling we have a resource-constrained schedule.

But we may still need the desired level of allocation in the project plan. Here, the question is why? We love to keep things well managed. We need some breathing space. Each day activities cannot be assigned for 8 hours in the day.Resource leveling is a hotly debated subject in the project management world. The comments range from one should never level resources — ever! To you can use leveling if you know the consequences. Or you should only level manually.

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First, what is resource leveling? You're going to need to know what adjustments were made to provide an overtime-free work force, and evaluate whether the solution that [MS] Project came up with will work for your project. What is happening when a schedule is leveled? Sometimes MSP simply pushes tasks with over allocated resources out so that folks work on tasks consecutively. Who does? In other cases, when you level a single project in MSP it will split a task to make room for the over allocated resource to complete a task during a specific scheduled time.

This is great, but it is a well-known fact that when resources have to switch tasks or projects mid-stream they lose time as they have to re-orient themselves to the work. PMI states that it should be one resource per project and task. However, again, that is not a reality for any of our Project Insight customers, so maybe this method would work. Another mid-market PPM provider called it pretending it is simple math when it is actually calculus. It is just impossible for an application to take into account all the possible conditions and restrictions from the real world projects in order to produce good results through an automatic leveling.

It is true that in certain simpler cases the results can be satisfactory but this is just good luck. This is performed by a human being, not a software algorithm. You can set task priorities, to control which tasks take precedence over other tasks, and you can set project priorities, so that if you're working with a common pool of resources among multiple projects, the right projects take precedence.

While an automatic tool may be handy, it is not a substitute for good old-fashioned common sense from a real-live human being. The bottom-line is that an automatic tool can begin the resource leveling process, but it cannot finish it without human help. Here at Project Insight, we hold that you should use the project scorecard to rank and score the projects in your portfolio.

Fundamentals of scheduling & resource leveling

Then you use the scores in your portfolio and resource reports to decide when to start the projects, higher scoring projects before lower, of course.

If you know for certain that one project should come before another, then you may also connect your projects using cross project dependencies.

That way, if something happens to delay your higher priority project, the successor project will get pushed out automatically. We hold that no matter what PPM solution you use, you will still need to have some human intelligence involved in your prioritization. The PPM software is a tool, leverage it, but do not ask your software to perform mission critical decision making. Cynthia West. Rather it is the strategy and priority to level resources the final option.

Using the project scorecard is laudable for projects and collectively at the programme level this can be rolled up to demonstrate benefits. Projects which can be performed concurrently and without mutual dependencies can be prioritised. However typically this is not the case.Resource leveling is a technique in project management that overlooks resource allocation and resolves possible conflict arising from over-allocation.

When project managers undertake a project, they need to plan their resources accordingly.

PMP®: Resource Leveling Tutorial

This will benefit the organization without having to face conflicts and not being able to deliver on time. Resource leveling is considered one of the key elements to resource management in the organization. An organization starts to face problems if resources are not allocated properly i.

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Both will bring about a financial risk to the organization. As the main aim of resource leveling is to allocate resource efficiently, so that the project can be completed in the given time period. Hence, resource leveling can be broken down into two main areas; projects that can be completed by using up all resources, which are available and projects that can be completed with limited resources.

Projects, which use limited resources can be extended for over a period of time until the resources required are available.

resource levelling

If then again, the number of projects that an organization undertakes exceeds the resources available, then it's wiser to postpone the project for a later date. Many organizations have a structured hierarchy of resource leveling. A work-based structure is as follows:.

All of the above-mentioned layers will determine the scope of the project and find ways to organize tasks across the team. This will make it easier for the project team to complete the tasks. In addition, depending on the three parameters above, the level of the resources required seniority, experience, skills, etc.

Therefore, the resource requirement for a project is always a variable, which is corresponding to the above structure. The main reason for a project manager to establish dependencies is to ensure that tasks get executed properly.

By identifying correct dependencies from that of incorrect dependencies allows the project to be completed within the set timeframe. Here are some of the constraints that a project manager will come across during the project execution cycle.

The constraints a project manager will face can be categorized into three categories. For resource leveling to take place, resources are delegated with tasks deliverableswhich needs execution. During the starting phase of a project, idealistically the roles are assigned to resources human resources at which point the resources are not identified. Resource leveling helps an organization to make use of the available resources to the maximum. The idea behind resource leveling is to reduce wastage of resources i.

Project manager will identify time that is unused by a resource and will take measures to prevent it or making an advantage out of it.

resource levelling

Critical path is a common type of technique used by project managers when it comes to resource leveling. The critical path represents for both the longest and shortest time duration paths in the network diagram to complete the project. However, apart from the widely used critical path concept, project managers use fast tracking and crashing if things get out of hand. Fast tracking - This performs critical path tasks. This buys time.

The prominent feature of this technique is that although the work is completed for the moment, possibility of rework is higher. Crashing - This refers to assigning resources in addition to existing resources to get work done faster, associated with additional cost such as labor, equipment, etc.

Resource leveling is aimed at increasing efficiency when undertaking projects by utilizing the resources available at hand. Proper resource leveling will not result in heavy expenditure.

The project manager needs to take into account several factors and identify critical to non-critical dependencies to avoid any last minute delays of the project deliverables. Resource Leveling Advertisements. Previous Page.

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