Monday, December 24, 2012

The Schedule – Resource Leveling

“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.”
                                                                                                                - Dennis Wholey

We are nearing the end of the series on scheduling basics.  We have taken the WBS, added the dependency chain, estimated the effort and assigned resources.  The next step to completing the well-formed schedule is to level the resource assignments.  This is done to:
  • Prevent over allocation of a resource within the project
  • Prevent over allocation of a resource across enterprise assignments
  • Accommodate non-productive time and absences
First, let’s assume the project is in an organization following best practices.  In that case, all team members record all of their time each cycle to specific project tasks and to operations, administrative, absence, and other non-project activities.  Your project management software integrates with these time records (or time is entered directly into the software, such as Sharepoint wih MS Project EPM, Clarity or Primavera).  In this case, you already have all of the elements in place to just “push the button” on your project management software to resource level the schedule.  You will then want to review and fine tune the results.

On the other hand, if you do not have the luxury of these conditions, you have more work.  For example, you will have to tune and adjust using heuristics to get the right productivity factor so that you don’t over allocate resources within the project;  and it will be much harder to track other assignments and activities to prevent over-allocation across enterprise activities.
In either case, this step will be repeated regularly over the life of the project.  Rescheduling and replanning are regular activities in the Project Manager’s Cycle.

In my next post, we’ll conclude this series of posts on the basics of creating the well-formed schedule by discussing risk buffers.
If you are not in a “best practice” environment, what steps do you follow to produce a resource-leveled schedule?

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