Leveling delays project end date compared to manual rescheduling RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    Best wishes to you all!

    New year, new problems. When I build my plan in MS Project and reschedule overallocations (to available date) on the go, instead of leveling everything at once after assigning all resources first, I get a shorter total duration. There is one factor which I can imagine has an impact on the result:

    - The tasks are not dependent on eachother. Most tasks have a predecessor but most task in a summary share the same predecessor. And even tasks from different summaries share the same predecessor.

    Other than that I can't see why MS Project isn't managing my resources as efficient as I do myself with the option 'reschedule to available date'. I.a. I think that MS Project just may not be the right application to do both: project planning and resource planning. Basically the planning is really about managing resources so to have resources with an allocation of close to 100% spread over multiple projects. I'm working with MSP for 2.5 months now and doubt that this is possible in an easy way. If I'm totally off here I'd really like to hear.

    I used this settings to level: Manual, Clear leveling values before leveling checked, Level entire project checked, Leveling order: ID Only, and only Leveling can adjust individual assignment on a task and Level manually scheduled tasks checked.

    When leveling by ID Only I expect MS Project to level the tasks according to their ID number. So in most cases task 1 starts sooner than task 5. I had a few cases (f.e. 2 tasks in same summary, same resource, same predecessor, no successor) where the first task got scheduled behind the second task.

    • Edited by Peperbusse Monday, January 5, 2015 12:04 PM
    Monday, January 5, 2015 11:17 AM

All replies

  • Hallo,

    If you want Project to give its best results, ask it to do its best and use Standard for leveling order. I doubt if you can do better than that.


    Monday, January 5, 2015 12:07 PM
  • Hi Jan,

    Tnx for your response. Only leveling order based on ID gives me a one week earlier end date. The Standard and Priority and Standard leveling order give me an end date that's 5 weeks later than the one I managed to get with rescheduling after assigning every single resource.

    Monday, January 5, 2015 12:27 PM
  • Peperbusse --

    The built-in leveling tool in Microsoft Project can only take two actions to level resource overallocations:

    • The tool can delay tasks or assignments.
    • The tool can split tasks or assignments.

    When you use the feature named Reschedule to Available Date, you are actually using the built-in leveling tool.  Notice that the preceding two bullet points do not say that Microsoft Project will ever change the Units value of an overallocated resource to resolve the overallocation, nor will it redistribute Work hours between tasks to resolve an overallocation.  I think these may be your expecations, but if so, this is NOT how the built-in leveling tool works.

    You, on the other hand, can make intelligent decisions about how resources should be allocated, and you can manually resolve overallocations by changing Units value or redistributing work.  Therefore, what I would recommend in your case is a combination of using the built-in leveling tool, and where it does not perform as expected, then use your own PM skills to resolve the overallocations in the most efficient manner.

    Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Monday, January 5, 2015 3:26 PM
  • The beauty of MSP is that it is a tool which allows you to model scope, time and cost all together. You can't do any better than that if you separate the tasks from the resource management. I see many situations where there is an attempt to separate the "schedule" from the resources and/or from the costs (they do it in a spreadsheet). This causes one big problem every time and that is that is it is impossible to keep them synchronised.

    In project management, which is defined from the start as being about the tasks, the planning objective is not to make sure that everyone is working or necessarily "really about managing resources so to have resources with an allocation of close to 100% spread over multiple projects", but if that happens it is a bonus. It is getting the tasks done that is most important.

    I never use the "reschedule to available date" because we see a few posts from people who say it crashes MSP etc. Instead, I always go to leveling options and check. Try first of all leveling with none of the fine tuning check boxes turned on. And if you do use them, try not to use them in combination. Leveling by priority is useful because it gives you a way to nudge the leveling to your preferences.

    Be sure that there are no resources assigned to the summaries.

    You mention that you have manually scheduled tasks as well as some tasks which have no predecessor and/or no successor. Do you also have tasks with date constraints, and predecessor/successor links to/from summaries? All of these will make leveling more problematic, if not cause leveling problems directly. It is possible to make a closed network (every task has at least one FS0 predecessor and at least one FS0 successor, except the first and last of course) with no manually scheduled tasks, no predecessors/successor on summaries, no date constraints. The residential construction template is a good example, which includes some resource over-allocation for leveling practice.

    Monday, January 5, 2015 10:59 PM
  • Dale: Tnx. I guess you're mainly right about my expectations. Was expecting a little bit more possibilities when it comes to resource management. When we really want to do more with it, and as Trevor says make all resources work close to 100%, we have to look at another software package. Something I have to discuss with coleagues later.

    Trevor: Tnx. I'll definitely have a look at the template. I perfectly understand that you say MSP is a beauty, but with the expectations I had on forehand, it is a bit dissapointing. This doesn't say anything about MSP, just about my expectations.

    My main concern in this is that it isn't very easy to see which resources have remaining availability and directly assign this resource to a task, or even better, have the software do this for me. Make the software work on the most effecient planning in which, over multiple projects, resources work close to 100%. I'm gonna look for a way to make it work. Help from you guys does get me through. Really appriceated! Thanks!

    • Edited by Peperbusse Tuesday, January 6, 2015 6:38 AM
    Tuesday, January 6, 2015 6:36 AM