## The Process of Resource Leveling

It is important to remember how we are defining the term resources. Resources are the people, equipment, and raw materials that go into the project. Resource leveling focuses only on the people and equipment; the materials needed for the project are dictated by the specifications.

Resource leveling begins with the initial schedule and work package resource requirements (see Table 7.1). The leveling follows a four-step process:

1. Forecast the resource requirements throughout the project for the initial schedule. The best tool for this process is a resource spreadsheet such as the one portrayed in Figure 7.11. This spreadsheet, correlated to the schedule, can forecast all the people and equipment needed on each day of the project. The initial schedule is sometimes called an early start schedule. At first, this might seem like good project management, that is, getting as early a start on everything as possible. But an early start schedule usually has a lot of uneconomical resource peaks and valleys. For example, the overallocation of the teens during the first half of the home landscape project is the kind of misallocation common to early start schedules.

2. Identify the resource peaks. Use the resource spreadsheet (Figure 7.11) and the resources histogram (Figure 7.13) to find the periods in the project where there are unrealistic or uneconomical resource amounts.

 Week of Jun 15 Week of Jun 22 Week of Jun 29 Week of Jul 6 SIMITIWITIFIS SIMITIWITIFIS SIMITIWITIFIS SIMITIWITIFIS S 1 Ml T

70h 60h 50h 40h 30h 20h 10h

Wor^r I36hl36hl36hl36hll2hl I 164hl40hl56h l56h 156hl I l56hl 16h I24hl24hl24hl I I24hl24hl40h I24hl24h I I l24h

Teens: Overallocation I I Allocation I I

• There are three teenagers assigned to the project. Together, they have a total of 24 hours available each day.

• The initial schedule in Figure 7.11 is not realistic because the teenagers are overallocated during the first half of the project.

### FIGURE 7.13 Resource histogram.

3. At each peak, delay noncritical tasks within their float. Remember that float is schedule flexibility. Tasks with float can be delayed without changing the project deadline. By delaying these tasks, you'll also be filling in the valleys of the resource histogram, that is, moving tasks from periods of too much work to periods when there is too little work. This means that you will need fewer people, and they will be more productive, but the deadline will stay the same. (A comparison of the initial schedule in Figure 7.11 with the leveled schedule in Figure 7.12 demonstrates how task 5 was delayed within its float, thus removing a resource peak for the homeowner on June 24.)

4. Eliminate the remaining peaks by reevaluating the work package estimates. Using the project float in step 3 may not be enough to eliminate all the peaks and valleys. For example, instead of having two or three people working together on a task, consider whether just one person could do the work over a longer period of time. (Task 12 in Figure 7.12 was changed from two teenagers for one day to one teen for three days.) Alternatively, available people might be added to a task to shorten its duration. When performing these changes, take note that each change to a work package estimate is going to change the amount of float, or time flexibility, for that task. In other words, after changing a work package estimate, you will need to return to step 4 and recalculate the initial schedule. Then you will also need to repeat the first three steps of resource leveling. (This kind of recalculation is made much easier by using project management software.)