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Issues with leveling

Copper Contributor

Hey all, got another one for you... I'm having some issues trying to level my project and no matter what I try, I'm not getting the results I'm hoping for. I've tried every combination of work types with and without effort driven applied, increasing duration, adding lag time, auto level both at the resource and project levels, changing start dates... I'm at a loss as to how to proceed. One thing I don't want to do is assign additional resources to these tasks. The amount of work for the task really shouldn't change, a task might only take half a day of actual work, but could be completed over the span of a day or two if necessary, but the actual amount of time spent on the specific task to complete it shouldn't change and the unused capacity on those days can be spent doing other things. (ie. the example of 2hrs to write an essay, but having 2 days to complete it... presumably, the rest of that time is spent working on other things?)

 

Here's what I'm looking at; this image covers 2 sub-projects in my master plan that I would like to run at least somewhat concurrently. My resource BJ is overallocated on several tasks. Using the auto-leveling functions either does nothing or actually creates more instances of overallocation.

 

Joe1250_0-1699391753697.png

 

I don't think I understand exactly how changing the duration impacts things, but I've been experimenting with increasing the durations of different tasks with limited success. Sometimes it will resolve a task (not usually the one I'm tinkering with), but will often create a new overallocation somewhere else. Same thing with trying to add lag time.

 

I've tried manually adjusting tasks using the team planner and was able to resolve the overallocations relatively easily (not sure why the auto leveling wouldn't be able to do the same thing?), but doing so also creates constraints for tasks not to start before a certain date and I don't think that's the solution I want... presumably that would throw a wrench into things if I had to add or shift things around later?

 

Joe1250_3-1699393440751.png

 

Here's BJ's schedule. I've cut out a section of time during the middle of the projects when he doesn't have any tasks scheduled.

Joe1250_1-1699392416005.png

 

Based on this and the tasks identified as overallocated in the previous image, what should I be doing to resolve these overallocation issues? And if adjusting durations of the specific tasks is the key (deadlines are flexible so end dates can change, but would still be nice to keep the projects as short in total duration as possible), what is the logic here? I would have thought giving more time to the task that is overallocated would do the job, but it doesn't seem to. I've also tried working top down and bottom up with adjusting durations on predecessor and successor tasks with no luck. And in case it doesn't seem like it, I have actually spent a significant amount of time researching this and trying to solve it myself before resorting to posting this.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks,

Joe

3 Replies

@Joe1250

Still confused I see, as are we all. I read your post yesterday and also conferred with a colleague about how best we might help you. Project can be a very complex app especially with regard to the whys and wherefores of the leveling algorithm. I've never used it myself and never delved deeply into how it works with various scenarios. You might want to check out this post on the StackExchange forum:

https://pm.stackexchange.com/questions/25701/leveling-algorithm-appears-to-be-taking-total-slack-int...

 

In your current posting you present a considerable amount of information but for someone on this forum to really help, we would need to look at your files in depth and spend a fair amount of time to experiment with your files to provide some kind of answer. It's not a simple or quick process. I do not have the time to provide that assistance and I doubt my colleagues do either. Since you are struggling with Project, you might want to consider hiring a competent Project consultant for in-depth training.

 

John

best response confirmed by Dale Howard (MVP)
Solution
Great questions and very normal challenges. Here's my recommendation of managing 10-15 projects at any given time and always resource loading.
1. Setup the task types correctly as intended for the type of work you're doing
2. Resource load them and adjust your resources
3. Setup your tasks with dependencies on the actual work dependencies
4. Do NOT use resource leveling, it causes too many problems that you're not able to decipher
5. Review your Resource loading and prioritize 'who' you want to add additional dependencies on their tasks to not only prioritize their work but it will help with the resource loading for that individual.
**NOTE: As you add dependencies due to resource overallocations, document your 'notes' with some info that you can later filter and present as a report. This is great for building a case for getting additional resources.
**NOTE: Use your critical path and total slack to review the tasks for the overallocated individuals. If they're Overallocated and on or very near the critical path use a custom field to flag those tasks as Risks. Along with your notes, this is another segmentation of your schedule to get the right visibility of your challenges and have data to back it up.
6. Repeat step 5 as necessary to level (prioritize) the work
I know this is simplifying it but give it a whirl and let us know how its coming along. Also, download Dale Howard MVP's filters to verify that you have all of your dependencies and constraints set. Here's a link to it and he has a free download https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oidjqs_0EXg&t=6s

Thanks Tony! :)
1 best response

Accepted Solutions
best response confirmed by Dale Howard (MVP)
Solution
Great questions and very normal challenges. Here's my recommendation of managing 10-15 projects at any given time and always resource loading.
1. Setup the task types correctly as intended for the type of work you're doing
2. Resource load them and adjust your resources
3. Setup your tasks with dependencies on the actual work dependencies
4. Do NOT use resource leveling, it causes too many problems that you're not able to decipher
5. Review your Resource loading and prioritize 'who' you want to add additional dependencies on their tasks to not only prioritize their work but it will help with the resource loading for that individual.
**NOTE: As you add dependencies due to resource overallocations, document your 'notes' with some info that you can later filter and present as a report. This is great for building a case for getting additional resources.
**NOTE: Use your critical path and total slack to review the tasks for the overallocated individuals. If they're Overallocated and on or very near the critical path use a custom field to flag those tasks as Risks. Along with your notes, this is another segmentation of your schedule to get the right visibility of your challenges and have data to back it up.
6. Repeat step 5 as necessary to level (prioritize) the work
I know this is simplifying it but give it a whirl and let us know how its coming along. Also, download Dale Howard MVP's filters to verify that you have all of your dependencies and constraints set. Here's a link to it and he has a free download https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oidjqs_0EXg&t=6s

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