You’ve assigned and scheduled resources. To optimize resources, first find out whether any of the resources are over allocated. Choose View Resource Sheet.
Over allocated resources stick out-they’re red and bold, and a leveling icon appears in the Information column. If you point to the icon, a screen tip appears with a leveling setting (for example, Day By Day) to select when leveling this resource.
(See “Using the Leveling Feature,” later in this section.) If you-have over allocated resources, you level the resources by
• delaying a task until the assigned resource can complete it
• delaying part of the task by splitting the task
• assigning additional resources to toe task Project 2000 can automatically level resources to avoidable location and optimize resources. Project takes a number of factors into account when leveling. However, Project 2000 levels resources by delaying or splitting tasks-it doesn’t add resources.
Delaying tasks extends the project schedule; adding resources increases costs unless the added resources were under allocated. There is another possibility, of course: you can incur overtime to complete the project. We don’t recommend starting a project with scheduled overtime. There’s ample evidence that the typical rush project with extended periods of overtime has high hidden costs, including lowered employee morale and product quality.\
Project’s bias is to optimize resources and costs while adjusting the timeline. This may not be the appropriate solution for your project, so you may prefer to optimize resources yourself. Project 2000 provides all the information you need to level resources. See Chapter 11, “Preparing Your Project for Publication,” for detailed information on leveling tasks individually and using automatic leveling.
Using the Leveling Feature Before using Project’s leveling feature, there are two settings you should adjust for the absolutely critical tasks: constraints and priority. Set constraints on the Advanced tab of the Task Information dialog box, shown in Figure 4.12. Choose the Constraint type, and then set a Constraint date.
Tasks, like projects, have a priority setting between 0 and 1000. Tasks with lower values are leveled before tasks with a higher priority. Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the difference between 500 and 550. If a task must be started or finished by a particular date, constrain it and then set its priority to 1000. Save a. copy of the unlabeled project file before proceeding . You might also want to choose Project >- Project Information to check the scheduled finish date for the project before resource optimization.
Choose Tools Resource Leveling to open the Resource Leveling dialog box, shown In Figure 4.13. Use this dialog box to set how Project 2000 should level resources. With Automatic Leveling Calculation enabled, Project will-adjust tasks as soon as you assign a resource that creates an over allocation. For now, leave this option on the default setting, Manual, so that leveling occurs when you open this dialog box and click the Level Now button.
In the Look For Over allocations drop-down list, choose the time period that Project should examine to spot an over allocation. If, for example, you check over allocations on a week-by-week basis, a person can be scheduled to work sixteen hours two days in a row. If you check on a day-by-day basis, the.person is over allocated on both sixteen hour days, so the tasks on those days would be adjusted. After you set the time period, click the Level Now button, and Project examines over allocated resources and the tasks causing over allocation, and then adjusts the tasks to optimize the resources.
If you allocated a resource to a summary task and one of its sub tasks, leveling pauses and you are prompted to stop leveling or skip this task. Note the summary task with the resource assigned, stop leveling,and then remove the assignment and start leveling again.
Leveling takes only a few seconds. Choose View core Views> Leveling Gantt, shown in Figure 4.14, to see the changes made by leveling.
Optimizing the Project Schedule
You optimize the schedule to ensure that the project will be completed in an acceptable time frame. Don’t worry about optimizing unless the schedule runs longer than desired. Choose Project > Project Information to see the current project Finish Date.
If you need to adjust the project to finish on time, here are a few strategies:
• Start earlier: Change the project Start Date in the Project Information dialog box (Project >Project Information).
• Change one or more calendars: If you’re going to be ‘working Saturdays or longer hours on the weekdays, adjust the calendar accordingly ,(Tools :> Change Working Time).
• Do less: Get a stakeholder agreement to limit on project scope by eliminating deliverables or cutting the project into phases, one or more of which will be completed by the desired finish date.
• Decrease quality: Adopt lower-quality standards or looser measurements, but only after reviewing Bonus Chapter A, “Setting Quality Standards,” on the Downloads page of the Sybex Web site
In every project, there are tasks that require more attention because failure to complete them on time affects the project completion date. These tasks are in the critical path. To view the critical tasks in your project, make sure that you’re in Gantt Chart view, and then choose Critical from the Filter drop-down list on the Formatting toolbar:
Project hides all non-critical tasks. The remaining critical tasks are the tasks that should draw your attention during the project or those that you should focus on optimizing to affect the timeline now. For example, you can do the following:
• Review tasks to identify and eliminate optional tasks.
• Make sure that task constraints, especially Start After constraints, are necessary.
• Break down critical tasks into work packages that you can assign to separate resources.
• Review and remove unnecessary links on the critical path.
• Add resources to critical tasks. After you make one or more of the adjustments listed earlier. return to the Resource Sheet to make sure that you haven’t accidentally introduced an overallocation. If you have, you can do the following:
• ASSignadditional resources.
• Replace one resource with another.
• Adjust the amount of time that a resource is available for a task. After you’ve made changes, level the resources again and then check to make sure the project finish date is still acceptable.