Goal: Resolve resource allocation problems

Applies to
Microsoft Office Project 2003
Microsoft Office Project Server 2003
Microsoft Project 2000 and 2002

To get the best performance and results from resources (resources: The people, equipment, and material that are used to complete tasks in a project.), you need to manage resource workloads to avoid overallocations (overallocation: The result of assigning more tasks to a resource than the resource can accomplish in the working time available.) and underallocations (underallocation: Assigning a resource to work fewer hours than the resource has available.). If you change resource assignments (assignment: A specific resource that is assigned to a particular task.), check the effects of your changes on the overall schedule (schedule: The timing and sequence of tasks within a project. A schedule consists mainly of tasks, task dependencies, durations, constraints, and time-oriented project information.) to be sure the results meet your project goals.

 Tip   This article is part of a series of articles that describe a broad set of project management activities. We call these activities "goals" because they are organized around the project management life cycle: Build a plan, track and manage a project, and close a project. The project life cycle is outlined in The Project Map, where you can find a link to an article about each project management goal. Most of the articles include links to supporting information or procedures that you perform in Project or Project Server. These "goal" articles were designed to help you not only use Project but also better understand project management.

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Surveyor using equipment

number 1 Resolve resource overallocations     When a resource is assigned too much work in a given period, the most effective way to reallocate or reschedule the work is to look at all pertinent details and decide yourself which tradeoff to make.

Click all of the following that apply:

Click all of the following that apply:

Number 2 Resolve resource overallocations by leveling     Project can automatically level an overallocated resource's workload by delaying (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 splitting tasks until the resource is no longer overallocated.

Number 3 Resolve resource underallocations     To maintain progress on tasks, you need to make sure that resources are assigned to work consistently throughout the project and are not underutilized when work is needed.

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  • Control resource availability throughout a project to decrease the amount of work for a resource. If a resource isn't needed as much as you had planned, you can limit the resource's availability and lower your project costs by reducing a resource's working days and times, shortening the span of dates during which the resource is available, and specifying less unit availability throughout the project.
  • Increase task duration if the scope of a task has increased. You can increase task duration (if no actual work has been entered) to change the amount of work required of the resource assigned to complete the task. If actual work has been recorded, you must manually enter the remaining work on the task.
  • ShowAdjust a resource assignment

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Number 4 Add a note about resource changes     You may want to record changes that were made to resource assignments and the reasons for those changes so that you can remember details if you work on a similar project in the future or conduct a lessons-learned (lessons learned: A review of best practices, project insights, and client information. As the project team disbands and new projects begin, reviewing the lessons learned lets you record information gathered and generated through the project.) exercise at the end of the project.

Number 5 Evaluate the results of resource adjustments     After 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.) the schedule (schedule: The timing and sequence of tasks within a project. A schedule consists mainly of tasks, task dependencies, durations, constraints, and time-oriented project information.) and correct any overallocations or underallocations, you should review the schedule to ensure that you will still meet the budget (budget: The estimated cost of a project that you establish in Project with your baseline plan.) and planned finish date for the project and any related projects.

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Number 6 Compare two versions of a project and report differences     If you have saved a backup copy of the plan, you can compare specific fields (field: A location in a sheet, form, or chart that contains a specific kind of information about a task, resource, or assignment. For example, in a sheet, each column is a field. In a form, a field is a named box or a place in a column.) to ensure that the changes you made are what you intended.