Goal: Resolve resource allocation problems

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 must 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 make sure that the results meet your project goals.

 Tip   This article is part of a series of articles within the Project Map 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.

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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 examine all pertinent details and decide which trade-off to make.

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Number 2 Resolve resource overallocations by leveling     Project 2007 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 must 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.
  • Change a 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.
  • Assign a resource to another task to increase a resource's workload.
  • Replace a resource assignment with an underallocated resource to more evenly distribute work among team members.
  • Remove a resource assignment from an underallocated resource so that the resource has more time available to be assigned to larger tasks.

Number 4 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 make sure 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 5 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 make sure that the changes you made are what you intended.

Number 6 Communicate assignment changes     You might 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.

  • Publish the latest plan and team assignments if you are using Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007 to communicate the project information.
  • Add a note about schedule changes to log information about the changes that you made to optimize the resource workload. Such notes can be helpful when you are tracking actual progress, closing the project, or collecting data for the next project.

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Applies to:
Project 2007