What is Resource Leveling? | A Comprehensive Tutorial
Last updated on 24th Aug 2022, Blog, Tutorials
Resource smoothing is one of the project management tools used in resource optimization techniques.It is explained as a technique that adjusts the activities of a schedule model so that all needs for the resources do not go beyond the resource limits already pre-explained during the planning.there are only some reusable resources that are limitless thus the time schedules have to be imposed and adjusted to maintain the limited availability of the resources in a given time.Resource smoothing is one of the tools used to reconcile limited resources and time but a more varied approach than resource leveling.It is used when the time constraint takes more priority in project planning.The objective of this project management tool is to finish the work or activity within the required date .And at the same time, avoiding the peaks and troughs or the resource demand.
A smooth resource profile is usually achieved by the delaying some tasks or works.This will reduce the flexibility of the schedule when it comes to the dealing with a delays but it is more cost effective in managing and using the resources.Use resource smoothing when have to optimize the resources and it cannot extend the schedule.Since I cannot extend the schedule, the project finished date and the critical path will stay the same.Here the activities cannot be delayed more than their total and free float.Using float in this technique will cause you to lose a little flexibility from the path.However , the schedule will be optimized, efficient, and also cost-effective.In resource smoothing,it must be careful to avoid any delay in an activity as it may affect the critical path.Time is the major constraint here.Have a fixed schedule and are asked to optimize resources.Resource smoothing is also known as the time constrained scheduling (TCS).The project end date cannot be modified, and has to optimize resources within the float.
A Real World Example:
- Let’s say I want to apply for the PMP exam and have allocated 60 hours to study in three months.
- This translates to twenty hours per month.
- However, while scheduling the date for the exam to find that the only available appointment is in 4 months.
- Now I have to distribute these 60 hours throughout the four months, meaning 15 hours per month.
- This is an example of resource smoothing.
- Since I have enough time, there is no need to use all 60 hours in 3 months.
- Can ease the burden of these 3 months and use the 4th month as well.
When to use Resource Smoothing:
Time constrained scheduling (TCS) is another name for resource smoothing.Cannot change their project’s finish date.Thus, I have to make the best use of the resources while staying within a float.A real-world example of resource smoothing is the same as when you want to take a test and have set aside 60 hours to study over three months.This equates to a total of 20 hours every month.However, when it comes time to schedule the exam, I discovered that the sole open appointment is four months away.Must divide the 60 hours into the four months, resulting in the 15 hours every month.This is a resource smoothing example.There is no requirement to use all 60 hours in the three months because I have adequate time.Can use the fourth month to help relieve the stress for the previous 3 months.
Risks associated with Resource Smoothing:
When it comes to resource smoothing, I should try to maximize the resources while maintaining the timetable as short as possible.Since we will not be able to extend the timeline, the project’s critical path and complete date must stay the same.Must be cautious and avoid the project delays, as they may disrupt the essential path. When it comes to resource smoothing, time is essential.Have a set timeline to adhere to, and must optimize the resources properly.As a result, reduced slack reduces scheduling flexibility during an execution.Likewise, the number of important operations is typically improved, and the critical path explanation may be altered.
Why is resource leveling important?
- Leveling resources is critical because it prevents the over-allocation, boosts productivity, lowers burnout, and ensures a high-quality output.
- The sequencing of work is maximized by ensuring that proper resources are working together at the right moment, decreasing the possibility of an error or missing something.
- What are the impacts of resource leveling?
- Managers are able to make better use of available resources when those resources are standardized.
- Waste, overcommitment, cost overruns, and the need to add or remove jobs are all things that need to be addressed in order to achieve this aim.
- Possible to do either on a single project or across a large number of projects in parallel.
- However, being ‘more productive’ can mean various things to different people.
- Let’s explore the 3 specific reasons why resource smoothing improves the team performance.
1) Eliminate overallocation
- Overallocation can cause an employee stress, fatigue, and lowered morale due to having too many tasks and not having enough downtime at work to regroup.
- This can ultimately lead to unhappiness at their job and can impact the team’s ability to meet the goals.
- Overallocation is an issue for the bottom line and it’s also an issue for the team’s ability to meet their project objectives.
- Using resource smoothing, would adjust the important project steps to reduce the working demand on the team.
- When employees have reasonable project schedules and built-in downtime make possible by the smoothing.
- They have more time to rest, and their brains have more time to solve issues in the background.
- Smoothing also makes it simpler for PMs to reassign work because employees have buffer time built into their schedules.
- With resource smoothing you can adjust the project duration to focus on the most important steps.
- This helps to avoid overallocation and lessen the working demand on the team.
- Reasonable allocation of limited resources promotes the work environment in which employees are less stressed and therefore more effective at solving issues.
- In the end, the project gets done, and the team avoids overallocation and also the resulting burnout.
2) Meet deadlines more easily
- While resource leveling is a great way to tackle overallocation, it often extends the length of the project to prevent task overlap and accommodate task dependencies.
- Resource smoothing, on the other hand, prompts to identify the important tasks and cut out the tasks that aren’t crucial.
- Allowing to meet the deadline without peaks and troughs in the available resources.
- When to combine resource smoothing with resource leveling.
- Matching resource availability with the appropriate finishing date.
- By implementing a time-constraint-focused on technique and maintaining overallocation in mind.
- Spread available resources out to avoid extreme changes in the resource availability during the project time period.
- which helps the team finish strong.
Let’s look at an example:
This example of resource smoothing shows how resource optimization techniques can be a powerful part of the team’s project planning process.This approach helps to put less demand on individuals so that they can simply meet the deadline.Resource smoothing is often brought in as a last resort to fast-track a project when an end date is required to be met.But if implemented proactively,that can meet more of the completion dates simply instead of scrambling at the last minute.When meeting deadlines on time, the benefits are obvious.Company spends less time and money on every project (the team doesn’t have to backtrack and clock more time).Customers are happy because they receive their deliverables on time, and employees enjoy the satisfaction of completing the projects on time.
3) Create buffer time to produce quality work
- Resource smoothing helps to raise the quality of the team’s work by providing adequate time to complete projects while ensuring that available resources are allocated properly up to the finish date.
- When implementing smoothing, employees don’t have to rush through projects to get everything done (which can impact their quality of work).
- Consider whether a time-focused approach like smoothing could help the team set for better quality goals.
- If a team is often running behind or struggles to produce because they’re always so busy, smoothing will help the team gain a new perspective on project scheduling, which improves working conditions, reduces stress, and provides breathing room to achieve higher quality deliverables.
How Resource Guru helps you implement resource smoothing:
Resource smoothing is a useful technique to keep in the skillset, but may find it hard to implement with only manual tools.can’t eliminate the overallocation with standard project management tools like Excel, task-based scheduling software, or by using leveling techniques alonely.Those tools don’t take employee capacity into account, which is the basis of resource demand decisions and the resource smoothing.Resource management software can simplify this process for the team.Can also see real-time team resource availability, track down in-the demand skill sets, and stay informed of the conflicting project commitments.As implemented, resource leveling and smoothing are able to check the effect of the changes to make sure that team has a balanced workload and isn’t overallocated.
Resource smoothing vs. resource leveling:
If resource leveling is resource availability-focused, resource smoothing is time and resource limitation-focused.By combining the resource leveling and resource smoothing, able to meet the deadlines without peaks and troughs in the resource availability (smoothing).while ensuring that they get the most out of using the tools, employees, and materials available without spreading them too thin (leveling).
When using a time constraint-focused technique, able to reign the project plan in to match the time period of need it to fit.Once I have implemented the resource leveling and made sure that available resources are adequate, look more closely at whether the work can be finished by the project end date.If it can’t, or if you need buffer time to prevent the burnout on the team, look at the project schedule holistically and decide on which actions are part of the path to completion.Managing the tasks in relation to importance and finishing date is known as smoothing.
Advantages of using resource leveling:
- Minimizing the production delays
- Identifying and utilizing the downtime
- Team members can better prepare for tasks with more time to adjust between the activities.
- Team members are not working on projects they aren’t trained for.
Disadvantages of resource smoothing:
- It might demand some extra resources.
- The activity dependencies might not be modified adequately.
- May have more difficulties adding more tasks or removing strain tasks.
- Might have experience delays or budget overruns in a project
Benefits of resource smoothing:
Resource smoothing — also called the time-limited resource scheduling. It’s used when time is the dominant consideration for the project. If there is a fixed deadline for a project accomplished, resource smoothing delays tasks that are not on the critical path to prioritize the available resources for those that are.
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