After entering the information from Table 1 and setting the baseline, baseline duration of the project is of 81 days, which is starting form 4th June, 2012 and is planned to finish on 25th September, 2012.
June 4, 5 and August 27 are bank holidays, and it’s also a non-working day for the project therefore, an exception is given in the project calendar for it.
The budget assigned to this project after allocating resources and adding cost information is £ 793,960. From this budget £453,760 is allocated to resources (£ 236,800 to engineers and £ 216,960 to technicians). Budgeted component cost is £ 236,000, while budgeted facilities cost is £ 51,000 and budgeted other cost is £ 53,200.
Issue with Resources
There is an issue in sticking with our baseline plan. As we are provided with a team of five engineers, so when we allocate them resource, they are over allocated. For instance from 1st June to 18th June engineers are over allocated, similarly from 16th August to 20th August same issue comes.
The reason behind this issue is that some of our tasks, which are utilizing all of our five engineers, are parallel. So it is impossible for them to work on two or more different tasks in the same time.
This issue can be resolved by any of levelling technique, but it will result in either delay of the project or splitting of resources. But in any of this case we will divert from our baseline.
The only way to stick to the baseline and avoid over allocation is the availability of two more engineers to the project. But by bringing these additional resources our budget will be disturbed and the cost of the project will increase.
In today’s most competitive world, projects are paired with the strict deadlines which should be realized in order to achieve excellence. This condition increases the importance of good scheduling and effective utilization of limited resources. Resource levelling as per PMBOK (PMI Standards Committee, 1996) is any form of network analysis in which scheduling decisions are driven by resource management concerns. The job of project manager is to create a balance among the resources and make sure that right resource is available at the right time. Some resources can be assigned to multiple tasks, and it is a possibility that same resource is required for both tasks on a particular day. So resource levelling comes into play in this scenario. Resource levelling can be articulated as an attempt to eliminate the manpower peaks and valleys by smoothing out the period-to-period resource requirements (Harold Kerzner, 2009).
Improving Resource utilization though Resource Levelling
When we talk about resources, it refers to the 4M’s (Man, Machine, Material and Money). The job of project manager is to create a balance among the resources and make sure that right resource is available at the right time. Resource levelling is required when a task is under or over allocated, and both are undesirable situations for a project manager. Resource levelling increases the utilization and efficiency of resources. If a resource is under allocated, it means that you are not getting the maximum profitability available by dividing the work and resources evenly. Similarly over allocation will put an extra burden on resources and it can result in demotivation as well as delay in schedule. When the resource is used on more constant base, they require less management as they know their job and understand the project. While, on the other hand, less constant resource usage can result in lack of concentration and laziness which will take things off the track. Resource levelling reduces the confusion among the personnel about on what project to work on and creates a more clear and understandable scenario (Kathy Schwalbe, 2006).
Leveling without Splitting Tasks
As the resources appear to be unbalanced, there are certain tactics to set them to optimal use. One way is to split the tasks into two parts so as to engage the resources in another important activity. Splitting is not always the best choice rather there are other strategies to level the resources. Delay in tasks is helpful to adjust the resources if there is no time deadline and linking which is almost impossible in practical as there is always a strict timeline to follow with a certain task depending on each other. The tasks are delayed by moving one of the simultaneous tasks ahead if both are unrelated and there is no deadline, as well. Suppose we have two tasks with the same resource and start time:
Now we can move the “Task B” ahead to March 20 so as to balance the resource work allocation
In the situation, where we have the linking and deadlines to follow, there we can delay only those tasks which have some slack available as in our project we can see:
The activity “preliminary test of life support system” has a free slack of 20 days, which means that we can delay this activity without delaying the following activity. But we have the condition of time constraint, which is set to as soon as possible which means that we cannot delay this task. In analyzing our assigned project, we don’t have any of the above luxury to level the resources as we cannot split tasks which could have been suitable tactics in given scenario.
PMI Standereds Commity. (1996). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge
. North Carolina, USA: PMI Publishing Division.
Harold Kerzner. (2009). A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling
(10th ed.). New Jersey, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Kathy Schwalbe. (2006). Information Technology Project Management
(4th ed.). Canada: Thomson Course Technology.