Inside Out

Resource leveling on demand

Through automatic resource leveling, Microsoft Project has the capability to automatically schedule assignments only when the resources actually have time available. However, if you set up automatic leveling, your schedule will be recalculated every time you make a sin gle change that affects scheduling or assignments. If you have a large or complex project file, you are likely to find that this constant recalculation significantly slows down work in your project file. Because of this performance problem, automatic resource leveling is not recommended.

Instead, have Microsoft Project level resources only when you explicitly give the command. Click Tools, Level Resources. Make sure that the leveling options are what you want, and click the Level Now button.

An advantage to directing when Microsoft Project levels is that you can immediately review the results of leveling in the Leveling Gantt and undo the operation if you don't like the results. Having Microsoft Project level only when you say also ensures that you have control over when task splits and delays are being made.

Another alternative, which is not recommended, is to turn on automatic leveling and turn off automatic recalculation. If you want to do this, click Tools, Options and then click the

Calculation tab. For Calculation Mode, select the Manual option. Any time you want Microsoft Project to recalculate values in your project based on scheduling changes you've made, press the F9 key, which calculates all open projects. (If you want to calculate just the active project, press Shift+F9.) Whenever you've made changes that require calculation, the status bar says Calculate.

Whether or not you use automatic resource leveling, be aware that Manual calculation brings with it its own slough of problems. You have to remember that the data you're looking at might not be accurate at any given time, and that can cause you or others to make deci sions based on faulty data.

For the best performance, most accurate data, and the most control over task splits and delays, make sure that resource leveling is set to Manual, and calculation is set to Automatic.

Setting Leveling Priorities

You can set a priority for each task if you like. The priority levels range from 0 (the lowest pria ority) to 1000 (the highest). All tasks start with a default priority of 500; that is, they are all te equal in priority. Microsoft Project uses the task priority setting as a leveling criterion. If you io have certain tasks that are so important that you never want the leveling feature to split or delay them, you should set them for a priority of 1000, which ensures that Microsoft Project will never level resources using that task. You might have other tasks that, although important, enjoy more potential flexibility as to when they can be completed. Those tasks can be set with a lower priority, such as 100. Having tasks set with lower priorities gives Microsoft Project the flexibility it needs to effectively level resource assignments.

To change the priority of an individual task, do the following:

1 In the Gantt Chart or other task sheet, double-click the task whose priority you want to change from the default of 500.

2 In the Task Information dialog box, click the General tab.

3 In the Priority box, enter the number representing the priority you want for this task.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

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