What If You Have More Resources Than You Need for the Project

If you have more resources than needed for the project, you need to determine whether this is a help or a hindrance. Depending on the type of project, the situation, and the number of extra resources, you can do one of the following:

• If the underallocated resources have the same skills and availability as other resources that are overallocated, you can use them to balance the workload.

Even if you have no overallocations, consider assigning multiple resources to tasks

to shorten the schedule.

If you can't use the resources, find another project for them. Having extra people

without work can get in the way of progress on the project. It can also place an unnec

essary burden on your budget.

Adjusting Resource Availability

If you find that resources are overallocated or underallocated, check with the resources to see whether their availability can be modified to reflect how they're needed on the project. For example, if a full-time resource is consistently 50 percent underallocated throughout the life of the project, you might consider changing his units to 50 percent and making him available as a 50 percent resource on another project. Or if a part-time resource is consistently 20 percent overallocated, ask her if she can add more time to her availability on the project.

To change resource units, in a resource sheet, double-click the resource name to open the Resource Information dialog box. Click the General tab. In the Resource Availability table, specify the units in the Units field. If necessary, enter the starting and ending dates of the new levels of availability.

To change a resource's working time calendar, click the Working Time tab in the Resource Information dialog box. Make the necessary changes to increase or decrease the resource's working time on the project.

Adjusting Assignments

You can shift assignments around to fix overallocations and underallocations. This shifting assumes, however, that you have resources with similar skills and availability who can fulfill the necessary tasks.

If you can't add or replace resources to take the burden off overallocated resources, you might be able to delay tasks or assignments until the resources have time to work on them. Or you can simply add overtime work to account for the overallocation.

Adding More Resources to Tasks

You can add underallocated resources to tasks to assist overallocated resources. Depending on the task type, you can distribute the work or the assignment units among the assigned resources, thereby balancing the workload better.

For more information about adding resources to tasks, including the impact of effort-driven scheduling and the different task types, see "Adjusting Resource Settings to Bring in the Finish Date" earlier in this chapter.

Checking and Adjusting the Project Plan Replacing Overallocated Resources

You can replace an overallocated resource on an assignment with an underallocated one as long as they have the same skills and availability. To replace a resource on a task, do the following:

In a task sheet such as the Gantt Chart, select the task for which you want to replace resources.

On the Standard toolbar, click Assign Resources.

In the Assign Resources dialog box, click the resource you want to replace. The currently assigned resources have check marks next to their names. Click the Replace button.

The Replace Resource dialog box appears (see Figure 9-23).

Assign Resources

Assign Resources

Figure 9-23. Use the Replace Resource dialog box to remove one resource and add a different one in a single operation.

5 Click the resource you want to add to the task and then click OK. The old resource is replaced with the new one.

Delaying a Task or Assignment

You can delay a task or assignment until the assigned resource has time to work on it, as follows:

Leveling delay. This is a task delay—the amount of time that should pass from the task's scheduled start date until work on the task should actually begin. It delays all assignments for the task. Leveling delay can also be automatically calculated and added by the Microsoft Project leveling feature.

For more information about leveling, see "Leveling Assignments" later in this chapter on page 285.

Note Don't confuse lag time with task delay. Lag time is the amount of time to wait after the predecessor is finished (or has started, depending on the link type) before a successor task should start.

For more information about lag time, see "Delaying Linked Tasks by Adding Lag Time" on page 154.

Assignment delay. This is the amount of time that should pass from the task's scheduled start date until the assignment's scheduled start date.

Because it's best to delay within available slack time, review the tasks or assignments in context of their slack time and then add delay as time is available. Otherwise, you could push out the finish date of the task (or even of the project) if it's a critical task. To check available slack, do the following:


Click View, More Views. In the More Views dialog box, click Resource Allocation and then click Apply.

Click the Resource Usage portion of the view and then click the resource or assignment for which you want to examine slack and possibly delay. Click the Leveling Gantt portion of the view. Click View, Table, Schedule.

Review the Free Slack and Total Slack fields to find tasks that have slack (see Figure 9-24). You need to drag the vertical split bar to the right to see these fields.

0 Resource Name




Schedule phone training

S hrs



S Network support manager

1 144 hrs


Order systems furniture Evaluate server room needs

S hrs 16 hrs.

I Work Work

Evaluate computer networking needs Order Internet phone lines

16 hrs

I Work

Inventory existing computers

40 hrs

Take down systems furniture

16 hrs



Task Name Start

Finish I

Late Start

Late Finish

Free Slack

Total Slack



jorder systems furniture | Thu 5/20/04

Thu 5/20/04

Wed 5/26/04

Wed 5/26/04

4 days

4 days


Evaluate server room needs Thu 5/20104

Fri 5/21/04

Tue 5/25/04

Wed 5/26/04

3 days

3 days


Evaluate computer networking needs Thu 5/20/04

Fri 5/21/04

Tue 5/25/04

Wed 5/26/04

3 days

3 days


Order internet phone lines Fri 5/21 /04

Fri 5/21/04

Wed 5/26/04

Wed 5/26/04

3 days

3 days


Inventory existing computers Thu 6/10104

Wed 6/16/04

Thu 6/17/04

Wed 6/23/04

5 days

5 days


Take down systems furniture Thu 6/17/04

Fri 6/16/04

Thu 6/17/04

Fri 6/18/04




Install systems furniture at new location Mon 6/21 j04

Wed 6/23/04

Mon 6/21Í04

Wed 6/23/04

0 days

0 days


Install network wiring at new location Thu 6/10/04

Fri 6/11/04

Tue 6/22/04

Wed 6/23/04

8 days

6 days


Figure 9-24. Use the Schedule table in the Resource Allocation view to find available slack in which to add task delay.

6 Also review the chart portion of the Leveling Gantt. The thin bars to the right of the regular Gantt bars show any available slack (see Figure 9-25).




21 I 24




Network support


—i NetWork supp

ort mana ort mana ort mana

1er 1er 1er

—i Network supp

—, NetWork supp

■This thin bar indicates available slack.

■This thin bar indicates available slack.

Figure 9-25. Use the Leveling Gantt portion of the Resource Allocation view to find available slack in which to add task delay.

After you find tasks with slack that you can use, add leveling delay as follows:

1 With the Resource Allocation view displayed, click the Leveling Gantt portion of the view.

2 Click View, Table, More Tables. In the More Tables dialog box, click Delay, and then click Apply.

3 In the Resource Usage portion of the view, click the assignment whose task you want to delay.

4 In the Leveling Gantt portion of the view, enter the amount of time you want to delay the task in the Leveling Delay field.

If you want to delay an individual assignment for a task that has multiple resources assigned, add assignment delay instead of leveling delay, as follows:

1 With the Resource Allocation view displayed, click the Resource Usage portion of the view.

2 Click the column heading to the right of where you want to insert the Assignment Delay column.

3 Click Insert, Column.

4 In the Field Name box, click Assignment Delay and then click OK.

5 In the Assignment Delay field of the assignment you want to delay, enter the length of the delay.

This entry indicates how much time after the task's start date the resource is to wait before starting work on this assignment.

Specifying Overtime Work to Account for Overallocations

Often, you can't reassign overallocated work to other resources or delay a task until later. In this case, overtime might be the answer.

Microsoft Project does not automatically assign overtime or the associated overtime pay rate when a resource's work exceeds your definition of a normal workday (for example, 8 hours) or a normal workweek (for example, 40 hours). You need to specify overtime work, in addition to total work, for the resource.

For example, suppose a resource is assigned to 10 hours of work in a day. You can specify 2 of those hours as overtime work. The work still totals 10 hours, but 8 hours are regular work and 2 hours are overtime.

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.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment