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Best Approach for Over Allocated Resources... RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi

    I am using MS Project 2007.  It is a plan that I inherited.

    There are several over allocated resources.

    What is the best technique for identifying the top 10 over allocated resoruces?

    For example, is it best to count the people with 200+ hours in a day as top priority or is it best to consider the people with the most tasks?

    What is recomended?

     

    Thank you,

    Dora

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011 6:26 PM

Answers

  • Hi Dora,

    My only reason for suggesting that you go to the Entry Table is because that table has the Indicators column by default. Of course, you could just add that column to any table rather than changing the entire table.

    The reason for displaying the Indicators column is that it provides a huge clue, namely an exclamation mark, about which resources are the most significantly over-allocated. Although anyone who has 10 minutes of work to do in 5 minutes is likely to show up in red font in Project because they're technically over-allocated, the resource only gets an exclamation mark indicator when the over-allocation meets or exceeds the level set in the "Look for overallocations on a _____ basis" setting.

    Since the file has so many resources that are over-allocated I assume that some of them are significantly over-allocated so my thinking was that taking this setting to "month-to-month" would show (by displaying an exclamation mark) which were the most grossly over-allocated. In other words, it might be premature to worry about a resource that has 45 hours of work to do in a 40 hour week if someone has 320 hours of work to do in a month. Because you have the timeline set to months and weeks you may effectively already be seeing this.

    If you took the next step and hit "level now," then Project will only try to resolve over-allocations that are month-by-month or greater. Of course, when leveling the only thing that Project can do is delay work so you're probably not going to get Project to resolve all of the over-allocations. Manual leveling--moving work from one resource to another, changing the distribution of the workload, getting more resources, etc. is likely to be required.

    Hope that helps clarify my thinking.

    David


    David Kaiser, PMP, MCTS, MCITP
    Schedule Associates International
    www.ScheduleAssociates.net
    Tuesday, October 25, 2011 4:46 PM

All replies

  • Dora --

    Good question.  If you level one resource at a time in the Resource Usage view, it is very wise to determine which resource to level first.  There are several factors you might want to consider, such as:
      -- Which resource is the most overallocated
     -- Which resource is assigned to the most Critical tasks
     -- Which resource is the scarcest resource (most difficult to get in your project because they are a very skilled worker)

    Once you consider these factors, then you can decide which resource to level first, second, and so on.  So, your example is just one way to identify the top resources for leveling.  Hope this helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]
    VP of Educational Services
    msProjectExperts
    http://www.msprojectexperts.com
    http://www.projectserverexperts.com
    "We write the books on Project Server"

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011 9:15 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Dora,

    I like Dale's emphasis on identifying resources that are assigned to critical tasks as well as those resources that are the scarcest.

    In addition, you might make use of the "Look for overallocations on a _____ basis" setting found in the Resource Leveling dialog box accessed via the Tools-->Level Resources menus. Try going to the Resource Usage view and choosing the Entry table. The "Look for overallocations..." setting determines when the exclamation mark icon in the Indicators column is shown and also is a threshold setting. Project will only try to resolve resource overallocations that are at that level (i.e. day-by-day) or worse.

    So, in answer to your question, take this setting to "month-by-month" and see if you have any resources for which there is an exclamation mark. If so, those are your most overallocated resources, meaning they've got more hours of work to do in a month than there are hours in which to do it. If you have more than 10 resources with exclamation marks then I'd probably look for those with the most hours of Work as opposed to those with the most tasks.

    If you don't see any, change the setting to "week-by-week" and see if any have exclamation marks. Repeat as necessary. In doing this you're working your way from the most overallocated resources to the least.

    Hope that helps!

    David Kaiser

     


    David Kaiser, PMP, MCTS, MCITP ------------------------------- Schedule Associates International
    Wednesday, October 12, 2011 7:30 PM
  • Hi Dora,

    While the advice from Dale and David is very good, you have to ask how on earth did you get into this situation in the first place.  Understanding this is key to how best to sort it out.

    For example, if the resources were incorrectly assigned to tasks in the first place it is often easier to start again and try and assign them correctly.  (Especially if you’re using resource driven scheduling)  If the build-up of hours at the front end was caused by the project starting late or resources arriving late then maybe it’s best to re-examine task dependencies to see if the original plan was correct.  You can only really flatten out a bow wave if this is the problem by understanding task priorities.

    I’ve had to deal with this problem a few times recently and by knowing why it’s occurred I was able to choose the right form of corrective action.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers,

    Tom.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 10:29 AM
  •  -- Which resource is the scarcest resource (most difficult to get in your project because they are a very skilled worker)

    Hi Dale

    Would you elaborate more on what you mean by te "Scarcest Resource" pelase?

    Thank you,

    Dora


    Thursday, October 13, 2011 3:40 PM
  • "Look for overallocations on a _____ basis" setting found in the Resource Leveling dialog box accessed via the Tools-->Level Resources menus.   ***What are you suggesting I select, month by month?  I don't normally use this since it produces dates that are too unrealistic.***

    Try going to the Resource Usage view and choosing the Entry table. The "Look for overallocations..." setting determines when the exclamation mark icon in the Indicators column is shown and also is a threshold setting. Project will only try to resolve resource overallocations ***How? It seem I need to do something. Project does not seem to be helping.*** that are at that level (i.e. day-by-day) or worse.

    So, in answer to your question, take this setting to "month-by-month" and see if you have any resources for which there is an exclamation mark. ***I have the timeline set to Months and Weeks. I currently see by week who is over allocated ***If so, those are your most overallocated resources, meaning they've got more hours of work to do in a month than there are hours in which to do it. If you have more than 10 resources with exclamation marks then I'd probably look for those with the most hours of Work as opposed to those with the most tasks. ***I have 54 overallocated resources.  Someone else built this plan and I am trying to clean it up. ***

    If you don't see any, change the setting to "week-by-week" and see if any have exclamation marks. Repeat as necessary. In doing this you're working your way from the most overallocated resources to the least.

    Hi David

    Please see my questions in the above quote. I am familiar with the resource usage view and moving time.  I am also familiar with what over allocated resources look like. :-)

    It was not clear in your reply why you wanted me to select the "Entry Table" from the resourdce usage view. What does that give me besides more columns to view?  All I need is the task ID, Resoruce name, % Work and Start and Finish date, which i already show.

    I am looking for the best strategy to manage leveling the overallocated resources since I have over 50.  I appreciate your reply.

    Thank you,

    Dora

     

    Thank you

    Dora

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 4:02 PM
  • Hi Dora,

    While the advice from Dale and David is very good, you have to ask how on earth did you get into this situation in the first place.  Understanding this is key to how best to sort it out.

    For example, if the resources were incorrectly assigned to tasks in the first place it is often easier to start again and try and assign them correctly.  (Especially if you’re using resource driven scheduling)  If the build-up of hours at the front end was caused by the project starting late or resources arriving late then maybe it’s best to re-examine task dependencies to see if the original plan was correct.  You can only really flatten out a bow wave if this is the problem by understanding task priorities.

    I’ve had to deal with this problem a few times recently and by knowing why it’s occurred I was able to choose the right form of corrective action.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers,

    Tom.


    Hi Tom

    I inherited the plan and am trying to fix it.

    Regards,

    Dora

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 4:03 PM
  • Dora --

    Scarcest = most difficult to get in your project because they are a very skilled worker and every other PM wants them for their own projects.  Hope this helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]
    VP of Educational Services
    msProjectExperts
    http://www.msprojectexperts.com
    http://www.projectserverexperts.com
    "We write the books on Project Server"

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 10:54 PM
    Moderator
  • Dora --

    Scarcest = most difficult to get in your project because they are a very skilled worker and every other PM wants them for their own projects.  Hope this helps.

    Oh.... these resoruces are 100% dedicated to this project.
    Friday, October 14, 2011 8:29 PM
  • Hi Dora,

    I guess I'd have to ask by what you mean by the "the top 10 over allocated resoruces?"  Do you mean those who are more overallocated than others? 

    You can get some guidance in a numeric sense about how overallocated resources are in a couple of ways:

    1) Add the Peak Units field to the left side of the Resource Usage view.  The Peak Units added to a table shows the highest peak for that particular resource for the entire project.  Somewhat useful -- except that 5000% peak may only be for 1 hour.

    2) Add the "Overallocation" field to the time-scaled (right side) of the Resource Usage view.  Zoom out to show weeks or perhaps months in the timescale.  The Overallocation field shows in hours how many hours above the resource's max is assigned.  More useful in that you can begin to get a sense if the people are 2 hours overallocated in a week or 200 hours overallocated in a week.

    I hope this helps.

    Julie

    Friday, October 14, 2011 9:16 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Julie

    Yes, top 10 are those more over allocated than others.

     

    I appreciate your reply.  This is very helpful!

     

    Thank you,

    Dora

    Monday, October 24, 2011 3:52 PM
  • You're most welcome, Dora and thank you for the feedback.

     

    Julie

    Monday, October 24, 2011 4:57 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Dora,

    My only reason for suggesting that you go to the Entry Table is because that table has the Indicators column by default. Of course, you could just add that column to any table rather than changing the entire table.

    The reason for displaying the Indicators column is that it provides a huge clue, namely an exclamation mark, about which resources are the most significantly over-allocated. Although anyone who has 10 minutes of work to do in 5 minutes is likely to show up in red font in Project because they're technically over-allocated, the resource only gets an exclamation mark indicator when the over-allocation meets or exceeds the level set in the "Look for overallocations on a _____ basis" setting.

    Since the file has so many resources that are over-allocated I assume that some of them are significantly over-allocated so my thinking was that taking this setting to "month-to-month" would show (by displaying an exclamation mark) which were the most grossly over-allocated. In other words, it might be premature to worry about a resource that has 45 hours of work to do in a 40 hour week if someone has 320 hours of work to do in a month. Because you have the timeline set to months and weeks you may effectively already be seeing this.

    If you took the next step and hit "level now," then Project will only try to resolve over-allocations that are month-by-month or greater. Of course, when leveling the only thing that Project can do is delay work so you're probably not going to get Project to resolve all of the over-allocations. Manual leveling--moving work from one resource to another, changing the distribution of the workload, getting more resources, etc. is likely to be required.

    Hope that helps clarify my thinking.

    David


    David Kaiser, PMP, MCTS, MCITP
    Schedule Associates International
    www.ScheduleAssociates.net
    Tuesday, October 25, 2011 4:46 PM