About resource leveling

Resource leveling (leveling: Resolving resource conflicts or overallocations by delaying or splitting certain tasks. When Project levels a resource, its selected assignments are distributed and rescheduled.) is a way to fix resource overallocation (overallocation: The result of assigning more tasks to a resource than the resource can accomplish in the working time available.). Generally, resources are leveled in two ways:

You can delay or split tasks yourself, or you can have Microsoft Office Project 2003 do it for you, using the Resource Leveling feature. In addition, there are other methods you can use to balance the resource workload. The methods you choose to reduce overallocations depend on the limitations of your project, including budget, resource availability, finish date, and the amount of flexibility available for scheduling tasks.

ShowHow does a resource become overallocated?

An overallocated (overallocation: The result of assigning more tasks to a resource than the resource can accomplish in the working time available.) resource (resources: The people, equipment, and material that are used to complete tasks in a project.) has more work assigned than can be done in the resource's available time. When Project schedules tasks, it calculates the schedule based on the requirements of the task, not the availability of resources assigned. For example, Susan's availability (availability: Indicates when and how much of a resource's time can be scheduled for assigned work. Availability is determined by project and resource calendars, resource start and finish dates, or the level at which the resource is available for work.) is eight hours a day; however, Project might still schedule two eight-hour tasks assigned to her for the same day. It's not until you level (leveling: Resolving resource conflicts or overallocations by delaying or splitting certain tasks. When Project levels a resource, its selected assignments are distributed and rescheduled.) Susan's overallocation that this conflict is resolved.

Overallocations can result from the following:

As a general rule, you should avoid assigning resources to summary tasks. But you can do so if the resource's time on the group of tasks increases as the total duration of the subtasks increases. Assigning a resource to a summary task is an efficient way to give the resource responsibility for all the subtasks. However, if the resource's time on the group of tasks stays the same regardless of how the total duration of the subtasks change, then the resource should be assigned to the individual subtasks, and not to the summary task. To see if a resource is assigned to both the summary task and one or more of its subtasks, on the View menu, click Resource Usage. Look in the Resource Name field for the summary tasks and subtasks.

ShowFind overallocated resources in the project

You can find overallocated resources by:

ShowWhen to level resources

In most cases, consider leveling overallocated resources only after you have entered all information about task scheduling and resource availability (availability: Indicates when and how much of a resource's time can be scheduled for assigned work. Availability is determined by project and resource calendars, resource start and finish dates, or the level at which the resource is available for work.). In some cases, you might want to level resources, see how it comes out, and then adjust other task and assignment information.

When entering schedule information for your tasks, keep the following in mind to make sure Project schedules your project accurately for your needs, and to help prevent unnecessary resource overallocations:

ShowHow Project levels resources

Using the Project resource leveling function is the quickest way to level your resources. When Project levels your resources, it goes through a series of decisions about each of the tasks in your schedule to determine whether they can be delayed or split in order to alleviate the resource overallocations. The following factors are examined to determine which tasks should be delayed or split:

Resource information is also examined in the leveling process:

When Project levels resources, it only delays or splits tasks. It does not:

You can have Project level only selected resources. You can also have Project level resources shared across multiple projects.

When you're ready to have Project level resources, on the Tools menu, click Level Resources. To accept all the defaults, click Level Now.

ShowThe effect of priorities on leveling

There are two types of priorities (priority: An indication of a task's importance and availability for leveling [that is, resolving resource conflicts or overallocations by delaying or splitting certain tasks]. Tasks with the lowest priority are delayed or split first.) you can set to control the order in which Project levels tasks: task and project priorities.

Priorities range from 0–1000, the highest priority being 1000 and the lowest 0. This wide range allows for the greatest flexibility when leveling. The default task priority is 500.

Set task priorities when you want to set priorities on specific tasks to control how they are leveled in relation to one another. The highest priority, 1000, has the effect of saying "Do not level," meaning that Project never delays (delay: The amount of time between the scheduled start of a task and the time when work should actually begin on the task; it is often used to resolve resource overallocations. There are two types of delay: assignment delay and leveling delay.) or splits (split task: A task whose schedule is interrupted. For example, a two-day task that does not require contiguous work might be split so that the first day of work is scheduled for Monday, and the second day is scheduled for Thursday.) this task when leveling, nor does it remove existing leveling delays or splits. You can set task priorities on the General tab in the Task Information dialog box.

Set project priorities when you want to set priorities on specific projects in a multiple-project plan (multiple projects: Several project plans that may or may not be linked or consolidated. If you are working on several projects at one time, you can compare information about critical paths, resource sharing, or priorities among all of the projects.) or when you're sharing resources among different projects. Project-level priorities control how the tasks in the project are leveled in relation to other projects and tasks in a multiple-project plan. The highest priority, 1000, has the effect of saying "Do not level," meaning that Project never delays or splits the tasks in this project when leveling, nor does it remove existing leveling delays or splits. You can set project priorities in the Project Information dialog box.

There is no overlap of priorities between projects. For example, if Project A has a priority of 500 and Project B a priority of 400, the tasks within Project A will always have a higher priority for leveling than those in Project B. So a priority 1000 task in Project B will have a lower priority than a priority 0 task in Project A.

ShowThe results of leveling

After Project finishes leveling an overallocated resource, certain tasks assigned to that resource are split or delayed. The split or delayed tasks are then scheduled for when the resource has time to work on them. You can see the results of leveling in the Leveling Gantt view, which graphically shows preleveled values compared with postleveled values, including newly added task delays and splits.

The leveling order chosen in the Resource Leveling dialog box (standard, ID only, or priority and standard) determines which tasks are delayed or split first. With the standard leveling order, Project examines predecessor dependencies, slack time, dates, constraints, and priorities. When leveling by ID, Project simply goes down the task list in order by task ID. When leveling by priority and standard, Project first examines any set task, summary task, or project priorities (priority: An indication of a task's importance and availability for leveling [that is, resolving resource conflicts or overallocations by delaying or splitting certain tasks]. Tasks with the lowest priority are delayed or split first.), and then examines the standard factors.

ShowThe effect of delay on leveling and scheduling

Two types of delay can be added in your schedule: assignment delay (assignment delay: The amount of time between the scheduled start of a task and the time that the assigned resource is to start working on the task.) and leveling delay (leveling delay: The amount of time that an assignment or task is to be delayed from the original scheduled start date as a result of resource leveling or of manually entering a leveling delay.). Assignment delay indicates how much time an assigned resource should wait after the task's start date (start date: The date when a task is scheduled to begin. This date is based on the duration, calendars, and constraints of predecessor and successor tasks. A task's start date is also based on its own calendars and constraints.) before starting work on the assignment. You can add assignment delay to relieve resource overallocations yourself.

Project adds leveling delay to the schedule as a result of leveling. You can also enter leveling delay yourself to delay a task manually. Be aware that if you enter your own leveling delay, this value is cleared when you click Clear Leveling or Level Now in the Resource Leveling dialog box.

ShowResolve resource overallocations yourself

You might prefer to resolve resource overallocations yourself, even though this can be more time-consuming than having Project level them. This is especially useful when leveling in Project doesn't result in the schedule or assignment (assignment: A specific resource that is assigned to a particular task.) adjustments you want, or when you want more control over exactly how overallocations are alleviated.

Although the following methods might extend the finish date, you can resolve overallocations by:

The following four methods involve adjusting your resources to resolve overallocations:

  • Adjusting the resources assigned to a task.
  • Assigning more resources to a task.
  • Replacing an overallocated resource with an underallocated one or removing a resource.
  • Adjusting or contouring the amount of work assigned to a resource.
 
 
Applies to:
Project 2003