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Resource Management

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 19th February 2016

Explain the following approaches to resource scheduling:
a) Resource smoothing
b) Resource levelling

a) Resource smoothing is the process used to resolve any over allocation issues without affecting the project end date.  For resource smoothing the project manager can use the free float available on a task (assuming there is free float) and reallocate existing resources to different tasks by using some of the free float (for example extending a task by a week).  This will reduce the free float on a task but the project end date won’t be impacted.
b) Resource levelling is the process used to move resources to a different task when the relevant resources are not available.  For example if 3 software developers are required for a 2 week period (6 man weeks) but only 2 developers are available then the project manager can level resources by allocation 2 developers over 3 weeks – this will delay the end date.  This process is used when no free float is available and will impact the project delivery date because the task will be delayed.

Explain three approaches/tactics which a Project Manager might consider when optimising the resource allocation for a project.  Identify in your answer any assumptions/implications made
a) Hire additional resources
b) Change the phasing of the project
c) Seek for efficiencies

a) If after levelling and smoothing the project manager still has a demand for resources another approach to consider will be to hire additional resources to complete the tasks and therefor meet the project end date.  The project manager will have to get the approval from the sponsor as this additional resource cost would not have been in the original project budget and can cause the project to overspend.  Another implication of hiring new resources will be that they will have to go through and induction/on boarding process which will take time and have an impact on the project end date.
b) Another approach the project manager can take is to change the phasing of the project to optimise the resource allocation.  This means some work will be descaled or deferred to a later stage and again the project manager will need  to get the approval from the stakeholders.  An example will be where we need 3 developers to deliver the functionality of a new system but we only have 2 developers available .  The Project manager can get agreement from the stakeholders to defer the cosmetic changes (i.e colour and layout of screens) to a later stage as the essential functionality will be delivered.
c) Another approach to optimise the resource allocation of the project is for the project manager to seek for efficiencies.  The project manager can look for areas where resources can be optimised e.g sending resources for additional training to broaden their skill set. The assumption here would be that there is time to spend to get resources trained up and agreement is needed for the cost in doing this.  An example will be to train a developer (with only one development area) in multiple areas so that you have a resource that is cross skilled.