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Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 18th May 2017

Question 5
(a) Within resource scheduling, explain each of the following terms:
• Resource smoothing
• Resource levelling
(b) Explain three approaches / responses which a project manager might consider when
optimising the resource allocation for a project. Identify in your answer any
assumptions and implications made

Resource Smoothing
Resource smoothing is used to resolve over allocation of resources without affecting the project end date. The project manager will use Smoothing when there is a shortage of a particular resource such as software developers or testers, and the resource histogram shows peaks and troughs.
A smoothed resource profile requires the project manager to delay some tasks or lengthen the duration of the tasks. This achieved by using the task’s float. Following discussions with the team the project manager may decide to use 2 resources for 2 weeks instead of 3 resources for 3 weeks.

Resource Levelling
Resource levelling occurs when a resource is over allocated (it may already have been smoothed) and/or there are task conflicts.
The start and end dates are adjusted to balance the workload of primary resources. This can lead to a later project finish date.

  • De-scope project
  • Increase work efficiency
  • Work longer hours
If resource smoothing or levelling has been applied but there is still a demand on resousces the project manager may reduce the scope of the work in order to reduce the resources required, This assumes that the PM has discussed this with stakeholders and has their agreement.
Increased Work Efficiency
The project manager may Increase the amount of work the resources are able to do to alleviate resourcing conflicts. This would include identifying skill shortages and training requirements , speeding up the time to make decisions, reviewing work processes, looking for bottlenecks for example where we are waiting for equipment from suppliers. This assumes that the project is not so complex that this is not possible, and the executives agreed on the decision making process.

Work Longer Hours

The project manager can ask resources to work longer days or work weekends so tasks are not delayed. However, this assumes that there are no conflicts with working time directives, and that the teams are willing to do this. Care needs to be taken not to stress the team.