Time, resource and quality are linked in the project plan, so change to one is likely to have an impact on another. Such challenges can arise at any time, but they come to light particularly when comparisons are made between what the resource pool managers are able to supply and what the project manager wants. This must be resolved through resource levelling.
The resource plan in Table 7.4 contains an example of a resourcing peak, which is circled. This is where the effort required from people exceeds their capacity to deliver it. Equally, there are examples of resourcing troughs, where people appear to be unproductive. Resource levelling aims to smooth the peaks and troughs so that resources are being used as effectively as possible. This is more easily done in a project where the resources have been assigned full-time, since the troughs are gaps in which people could be more productive rather than periods when they could be engaged in another project. This removes much of the need to negotiate with resource pool managers. However, because the opposite is true where the resources are assigned only for part-time engagements, it is significantly more difficult to level the resource plan.
Shifting tasks is one way of moving effort from one part of the plan to another and can work in a project's favour, for example where a peak is resolved by shifting the task with float to a point where a trough is filled. However, there are often more creative options available. These will be used not only at the end of the planning process, but also when the plan has been approved and is in operation. Further techniques to level and control the plan will be discussed in later chapters.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.