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Project resource demands are often inconsistent throughout the life of the project leading to times when resources are over-allocated.
Project resource demands are often inconsistent throughout the life of the project leading to times when resources are over-allocated. The project manager and core team must resolve the over-allocation to prevent a delay or reduction in the quality of the deliverables.
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As all elements of the project plan are brought together, it is often found that the resources required for one task overlap with what is needed for other tasks. This cannot be determined until all the tasks have been estimated, resources assigned and the project tasks scheduled. Resolving these over-allocations is often called resource levelling. Proactively managing these occurrences will ensure the best solution based upon the project goals and objectives. In addition, the resources may have been levelled at the time of project plan approval, but as some tasks are delayed and others are accelerated, conflicts can arise where none had been. Again, resolution should be proactive to ensure the project objectives are met.
When project planning is near completion, check for resource over-allocation. Project management software can help with this. Whenever a project activity significantly changes schedule, either a delay or acceleration, check again for resource over-allocation.
For each constrained resource, analyze resource allocation.
This is often done with a spreadsheet where the required number of hours or weeks of work by a resource type for a a task are assigned to the time period in which the task is to be accomplished. This can also be done graphically. Check for conditions where the required amount of resources exceeds the resources available to the project.
If over-allocated, replan one or more of the tasks.
First consider doing all the replanning within a single task. By isolating the resolution to one task, it has a minimal impact on the rest of project planning. Things that could be done to replan a task are to change the assigned resource, change the “definition of done,” or change the timing of work within the task.
If still over-allocated, change the project schedule using float.
If the over-allocation cannot be resolved within one task, change the timing of tasks using the over-allocated resource. Change timing of selected tasks so that they occur in times when the resource is under-allocated. Do not reschedule critical path tasks, rather reschedule tasks that have float. This will consume float.
If still over-allocated, request changes to project boundaries.
If the problem cannot be resolved within the project, go to stakeholders for permission to change the boundaries. You could extend project schedule, descope the project, or exceed the budget. This is the last step after you have first taken the project management steps listed above.
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