Resource Leveling Across Multiple Projects using Priority RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've read the related threads, but still haven't found a scenario similiar to ours.

    We have an annual Admin project schedule for all resources in the Enterprise Resource Pool in MS Project Server 2010.  The admin project schedule simply allocates approx. 2 hrs./day for each resource to do Non-Project work.  To ensure these 2 hrs/day are not ignored or moved, we set the priority to 900 on those tasks...leaving the overall Project Priority level to 500.

    In comes two new projects, looking to allocate a particular resource.  The PM built the schedule based on project demands and it turns out they both projects (Project A & B) need the same resource at the same time.  Perfect opportunity for leveling.  Projects A & B have an overall Project Priority of 500 as well all tasks except for one has a priroity of 500, with the exception task having a prioirty of 700.

    When I open all 3 projects (Admin, Project A, Project B) and to attempt to level using 'Level Resource' and I select that single resource for one of the projects (drop down gives you the option to select a project...not sure what that does??) and select OK.  It pushes the Project A & B start dates to start in the following year when the Annual Admin project is schedule to end.  Despite the fact that the resource has plenty of availabilty (8hrs- 2hrsAdmin = 6 hrs available for projects).  Why is MSP ignoring those available cycles, and instead waiting for the Admin project (Project Priority = 500, but task priority = 900) to complete before allocating Project A & B to that resource.

    Please Help!!!!

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013 2:28 PM

All replies

  • Hi Green Legion --

    A bit more information could help here:

    • When you look at the calendar that is associated with the over allocated resource, how many hours of working time are available during the time frame in question? This would normally be 8 hours per day... unless someone has set up the calendar differently. Based on an 8-hour workday, it sounds like the remaining availability each day for that resource should be 6 hours.
    • You have stated that in the admin project, the resource in question is assigned 2 hours of work each day... but what about the other two projects (Project A and Project B)? How many hours per day are assigned to the resource on those projects? If the PM assigned the resource full time (8 hours of work per day) to tasks during that time frame, then that may be causing the behavior that you see. In fact, if the PM assigned ANY resource to Project A or Project B full time -- and that same resource is also assigned a constant amount of daily work in the admin schedule, then that could explain the behavior.

    Good luck!

    -- tz

    Tony Zink | Vice President, EPMA | | Blog: | Training:

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013 2:49 PM
  • Hi Tony, thanks for the quick reply.  Yes 8 hours is the capacity for each resource in the Enterprise resource pool.  Therefore theoritically leaving 6 hours a day as available for project work. 

    Yes the PM did assign the resource to full time (8 hrs a day).  But I would expect MSP to break those tasks up into buckets that would equate to their availablity until the total effort is complete.  Am I not thinking about it correctly?

    Green Legion

    Eugene Parker

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013 2:58 PM
  • Hi Eugene --

    The built-in leveling tool in MS Project is an often misunderstood beast... and it is not capable of handling all over allocation scenarios. If MS Project detects a resource over allocation in a project schedule (i.e. assigned work is greater than the resource's capacity during a time frame), then the built-in leveling tool will attempt to do one of the following:

    • Move one of the assigned tasks to a time frame when the assigned resource has enough remaining availability to do the work.
    • Split the task and move a portion of that task to a time frame when the assigned resource has enough availability.

    If you want to handle the over allocation using another technique, such as increasing the resource's capacity (i.e. longer work days), redistributing the assigned work (6 hours assigned per day rather than 8), or reassigning the work to another resource, then you will need to use other features in MS Project to do that.

    Good luck!

    -- tz

    Tony Zink | Vice President, EPMA | | Blog: | Training:

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013 4:02 PM
  • Tony, I was looking for the leveling tool to:

    • Split the task and move a portion of that task to a time frame when the assigned resource has enough availability.

    What do you think is preventing that from occuring?


    Eugene Parker

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013 4:17 PM
  • Hi Eugene --

    IF the leveling tool splits a task (i.e. you have selected the 'Leveling can create splits in remaining work' option in the resource leveling options dialog), it will only happen when (a) the task is in progress, (b) a shorter duration task overlaps with a longer duration task, and (c) the shorter duration task has a higher priority. If the tasks have not started, then the leveling tool will not do any task splitting; it will only delay an entire task until the next time when the assigned resource has enough availability.

    Even if those conditions ARE met, the leveling tool will not redistribute SOME of the assigned work from a particular day to another day; it will move ALL of the work from that day to another day. For example, if a resource is assigned to two concurrent tasks on a given day -- 4 hours on one task and 6 hours on the other task -- the leveling tool will not move 2 hours (the overage) from one of the tasks to the next day. Instead, it will move the entire 4 hours from one task or the entire 6 hours from the other task to another day.

    The MS Project leveling tool is not useful in some situations; the important thing is to understand how it works and recognize the situations when it CAN help. In other situations, you will need to use other tools or techniques to resolve your resource over allocations.

    Good luck!

    -- tz

    Tony Zink | Vice President, EPMA | | Blog: | Training:

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013 4:45 PM
  • Hi Eugene,

    Two settings can prevent this from occurring:

    In Leveling Options, the option "leveling can split..." is off;

    In Options, Schedule, "Split in-project tasks" is not checked on.


    Tuesday, August 27, 2013 8:36 PM
  • Hi Tony,

    I'm afraid you are a little too general on this:

    -- 4 hours on one task and 6 hours on the other task -- the leveling tool will not move 2 hours (the overage) from one of the tasks to the next day.

    Yes it can and will! If you level hour by hour and if the 4 hous are duration 4h, units 100% and similar for the 6 hours, it definitely will.

    It will not if 4 h of work= 1d duration @ 50%

    Leveling can much more than what most people think!


    Tuesday, August 27, 2013 8:39 PM
  • Why not simplify by removing the Admin project and setting max units for each resource to 80%?

    Only need an admin project if you need to specifically track admin time in time sheets in a way Project Server can't handle directly.

    Rod Gill

    The one and only Project VBA Book

    Rod Gill Project Management

    Thursday, August 29, 2013 9:24 PM
  • Hello Jan, I think i did as you suggested.  We have the admin project setup with a priority of 900 for the 2hr/day admin task, I have not set up the admin tasks for 2014, so it only reflects 2013. 

    I created two (2) new projects (project A & B) and instead of using the "work" column to reflect the hours I used the duration column.  The work column doesn't even exist in my two projects.  I typed in 45 h into the duration field and hit enter, it gave me 45 hours as you noted, so I did that with all taslks in Project A & B.  Prioirty is set to 500 on both Projects A & B.  Project start date varies by a few days (B-is later by 2 days) but they start in the past (09/09 & 09/11).  Each task has a single resource assigned @ 100%.

    Before leveling the primary resource that is over-allocated.  I opened Leveling options (see below):

    I hit ok.

    I opened all three projects (IT Admin, Project A & Project B),  then proceeded to Level Resources with the "Level Resource" icon on the ribbon.  I selected Project A from the drop down menu and highlighted the resource that is over-allocated an hit level now.

    Results - Project A & B start dates shifted out to the next available day where no tasks were booked for that resource.  It appears as TZ indicated above, that it won't attempt to split the record.  Project A & B will not book anytime in 2013 due to the admin tasks at a priority 900.

    I'm seriously considering Rod Gill's suggestion to remvoe the Admin project, and simply reduce the resources to a value that equates to their admin task.   But we have varying departments in IT, who have varying levels of admin so.

    But i think there is one simple element that I am missing........what is it????????????????????????? 

    Green Legion

    Eugene Parker

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013 7:47 PM
  • Hi Eugene,

    "In order to test my car, I used a kitchen robot"

    That is as curious as sying "In order to enter work, I entered duration". Of course Work exists, just insert the column if you need it.

    The whole problem is when you say "we have the admin project set up with a 2 hrs per day admin task"

    If that is done by one long task with 25% units indeed leveling reacts as you describe. No work CAN be scheduled for anything else because 25% plus 100% makes 125% which is an overallocation. That is exactly the situation I describe in my post and of which Tony Zink thinks it is the only one.

    The admin task is best introduced as a recurring task: 1 2hr task @100% PER DAY so from now till year end about 70 small tasks.



    Wednesday, September 25, 2013 8:29 AM