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Explain The following approaches to resource scheduling
- Resource Smoothing (10 Marks)
- Resource Levelling (10 Marks)
Resource smoothing is used when the end date of the project cannot change so we are time constrained. Smoothing makes use of free float and total float reallocate the resources allocated to a task around without having impacting the overall delivery schedule. For example if we have a task which is originally scheduled to use 3 resources for 2 days, by making use of float we can use 2 resources for 3 days).
Resource levelling is different from resource smoothing as tasks are on the critical path. Therefore any changes to the schedule and the completion of the tasks will mean a delay within the overall project delivery as there is no float available. Resource levelling should only be considered when all other options have been exhausted and no additional resource is available as it will make delivery of the project late.
Explain 3 approaches / tactics which a project manager might consider when optimising the resource allocation for a project (identify in your answer any assumptions / implications made) – 30 marks
De-scoping – If resources available and the timescales for delivery are fixed then the project manager in conjunction with the sponsor may look to de scope some of the activity. For example the implementation of a new computer system for a call centre must have functionality to enable for queries and orders to be dealt with effectively, but may choose to de scope up selling capability in order for the project to go live. This may be because the outgoing system simply must be replaced because it is no longer supported.
Splitting Tasks – The splitting of tasks can be utilised when a resource is simply not available when it is required to perform the activity. This can typically happen when a precious resource such as an expert may not be available for a 5 day task in one continuous chunk but can do 3 days one week and finish the task a couple of weeks later. This may allow delivery to be achieved without affecting overall delivery, but this is less efficient as their will be a mobilisation / re mobilisation effort associated.
Working Overtime – When the project needs to be completed and there is no possibility to extend the deadline or bring in additional resource at short notice. The advantages here are that there is no handover of task to another resource needed. However the project manager needs to be aware of working time regulations and the possible negative impact on productivity if the use of overtime is becoming a regular occurrence to meet deadlines.
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