Working on a project without proper planning is the worst idea, and sometimes things do not go according to your plan, even if you make your best plan. One of the hardest issues for a project manager is managing resources when working with limited resources.
So, it is essential to know what resource leveling is and how to utilize it to keep the project running smoothly.
Here we will discuss everything from what is resource leveling to different tips and use cases where you can efficiently utilize it.
Resource leveling is a project management technique involving allocating resources, scheduling, and resolving conflicts to complete the project using available resources efficiently. The main resources here include:
· Human resources, etc.
Resource leveling is essential to make the most of the available resources instead of increasing the resources or scope constraints. However, it is not as easy as it sounds because project managers have to use different resources across different projects simultaneously, which increases the complexity. However, things vary in different situations:
· With a consistent deadline, the resources can be increased
· With consistent resources, the deadline can be extended
In either case, the goal is to manage the process within the requirements.
Every project comes with specific constraints. In most cases, the time is tight, and resources are managed. However, here we will elaborate on how resource leveling work under different circumstances.
If the project is strictly oriented around its deadline, you cannot waste much time. In such a scenario, the best practice is to prioritize the risks and allocate resources to the most important, complex, and time-consuming tasks because you cannot leave those for the last. Such tasks need to be allocated to the best resources as you cannot compromise on the quality.
While doing that must ensure that none of the resources are overloaded with work. It's the project manager's job to get the right quality from the right people within a given time without overloading. It is because overloading can result in a lack of quality.
In some cases, the timeline or deadline for the project is not that strict. Quality is what matters the most for such projects. So, the project managers have to work on maintaining top quality while using the same resources. In this case, the stress on employees and other resources must be decreased to get the best quality when delivering the deliverable. There are no tight time constraints, so the resources must not be overloaded.
Several resource-related risks may affect the project during its development. So, project managers have to manage their available resources strategically. Here are a few instances where you can use resource leveling.
One of the most important things to achieve with resource leveling is optimizing your resources. You need to use the resources fully without under or overloading them. Resource leveling helps you see which parts of the project need more resources and which has room for flexibility in resources to get the most done.
Resource leveling is significant for preventing delays in a project which helps in better cost and employee efficiency. With proper usage of resources across different projects, it becomes easier to manage everything while staying under constraints and finances.
Task overloading is a problem that leaves employees stressed and unable to deliver the best quality. Longer exposure to overburden can affect employee satisfaction, and they may switch to a better place. So, a manager must prevent task overloading, which is very much possible with resource leveling. As right resources get allocated for the right task, the chances of overburdening are minimal.
Quality is the last and most important thing for which resource leveling is used. With proper resource allocation through prioritizing tasks, quality can be maintained. It helps managers deal with all aspects of the project and iteratively ask for improvements instead of leaving everything for the last day. This way, the manager can adjust internal deadlines for better quality while meeting their main deadlines.
While resource leveling can be used for managing project resources, it can also help maintain a healthy work environment and work-life balance for employees.
Knowing how to do resource leveling alone may not get the job done; a few practices will help you increase your efficiency. So, here are our top 5 keys to becoming efficient with resource leveling.
Instead of expecting 100% efficiency from your end, make realistic estimates of the project resources. After you make the estimates, increase them a bit for added assurance that you will easily manage everything under the given constraints while using the available resources.
Before starting a project, you need to work on any resource gaps. There might be a need for a new employee or some tool. As a project manager, you can face unexpected issues and delays, and the only way to deal with them is to plan ahead and fulfill these gaps as soon as possible.
One of the best ways to be efficient is to prioritize different resources and tasks. For example, you can divide the project into smaller sections and assign the hardest ones to the best employees first. The smaller and easier ones will have less priority and can be left for less competitive employees or for later times. Do the same with other resources, and you will hardly find any sudden issues.
As an organization, there must be a dedicated resource manager. Having one manager handle everything is inefficient as resource managers have lots of time-consuming activities. Having a dedicated manager for the resources will help maintain the best availability and allocation of resources.
Once a resource is allocated, it will be free after some time and allocated to some other task. A resource manager must keep track of all the allocation and reallocation needs. Without this, there are chances of everything mixing up, and you will lose track of the priorities of different resources.
Knowing what is resource leveling and where you need it and how to implement it correctly is also essential. There are 4 different strategies for implementing resource leveling for your project. Here are the details about those 4 strategies to implement resource leveling for your project.
It is a resource-leveling method that is oriented according to the project duration. It is sued to schedule flexibility according to the critical and non-critical milestones during a project's lifecycle. This way, the most critical activities are efficiently managed within the deadline.
The crashing method includes adding more resources to a project to meet certain deadlines. Here you have to work on the highest priority tasks while increasing the least cost for the task to maintain profits. However, this strategy needs approvals from higher management, but it gets the job done within time.
This strategy allows allocating only one resource to one task at a time while considering the longest path of the tasks assigned. So, listing and prioritizing tasks is necessary. After working on the longest path, the delays in the workflow will not affect the main deadline with the right prioritizing and allocation of resources.
It is effective when you have to deliver the project before or before the deadline. So, speeding up work is necessary as there could be several requests for rework. However, this technique only works if different tasks are overlapped.
Knowing what is resource leveling and what tools you can utilize to make things efficient will change your project management game. While there are not many options, here are the 3 most helpful tools you can use for resource leveling.
Gantt chart is a great option for managing a timeline and planning your resources according to the critical part method. It gives a good overview of the dependencies and timeline details.
Several online and offline project management software options can help maintain progress by giving managers insight into their progress and timeline. It can also help in rescheduling different tasks for better efficiency.
A network diagram can visually show different tasks and their relationships in the form of a chart to plan, schedule, and track the project progress with smaller milestones. It also helps identify critical and non-critical paths through prioritizing, which helps meet deadlines.
When the resources are limited, you need to make the most out of them instead of increasing your resources. Increasing resources may disturb the project budget and goals, so knowing what resource leveling is will be helpful.
We hope you know which strategy to implement and which tools to use to make resource leveling efficient and improve project management.