What is Resource Loading and Leveling

Resource leveling in Project Management

Resource Loading and Level

The two important concepts involved in project scheduling are resource loading and resource leveling. Resource loading can be defined as resource allocation towards the work elements involved in the project. It keeps changing through the entire project due to its dependency on the individual activity requirements. Consequently, variable loading takes place for some resources during the course of the project. This means that sometimes resources do not have any work to do, while at other times, they have too much to do. For example, a painter may apply the first coat on the wall, but before the second coat is applied, the first coat has to dry for a day or two. For this period, the painter may not have any work at all.

For example, consider the schedule of a construction project, where requirement for carpenters is as follows:

Week

Number of Carpenters

1

6

2

10

3

4

4

12


In this project, the number of carpenters required is varied. In the first week, 6 carpenters are required. Additional 4 carpenters will need to be hired in the second week. If the mentioned number of carpenters are employed, in the third week, 6 of them will be idle. In week 4, two more carpenters will be required, making the total to 12. This type of scenario is common in the projects due to the varying amount of workload. For the Project manager, this is a major challenge, as the resource will either be underutilized or overloaded.

It is clear from this resource loading graph that the project manager will need to Other hire or sack a few carpenters every week, which will result in an additional cost to the contractor as well as a loss of goodwill among the prospective employees. The other option is to hire the maximum number of carpenters for the whole project, which is again a costly proposition, as some of these carpenters will be idle at different times in the project. In such a situation, it is necessary that the project manager devises an improved schedule, which will make the requirement of carpenters as uniform as possible for the complete duration of the project. This is achieved by resource levelling.

The graph shown in above Figure provides information that can be used for planning resources and estimating budgets. In addition, the graph can be drawn to provide the following critical information about the project plan:

Level of load for resources when they are assigned to various activities

Areas of resource conflicts

Depletion rate of material resources based on replenishment rate and consumption rate

Resource leveling, as defined by PMBOK@ Guide, is “a technique in which start and finish dates are adjusted based on resource constraints with the goal of balancing demand for resources with the available supply.” The objective of resource levelling is to bring down the fluctuation in demand for any resource during the execution of a project ‘Thus, resource levelling can be defined as a technique of analyzing the unbalanced use of resources over time and making the schedule in such a way that this imbalance is reduced. It is done primarily to avoid uneven allocations, over allocation or conflicts in the project. Over allocation of resources refers to a situation when certain resources are allocated more tasks than they can perform. It can cause the project team to work overtime, thereby leading to the project burnout. Project burnout refers to a situation where project personnel get tired and stressed due to excessive overtime. It may affect their performance as well as the quality of jobs performed by them. Conflict refers to a situation when the same unit of resources is required by more than one activity. In such a situation, the activity must wait until the required unit of resources is available This results in unnecessary delays in the completion of the activity, which affect all the subsequent activities.

The resource levelling aims to allocate the resources efficiently so that the project can be completed in the given period. Thus, resource levelling can be divided into the following two areas:  Time-constrained Approach: In this approach, importance is given to the projects being completed by using all the resources within the specified date. The priority of the project managers is to complete the project on time, even if it requires acquiring some additional resources. In this case, the resources will be acquired as and when required, even if it costs more to the project.  Resource-constrained Approach: In this approach, projects must be completed with limited resources even if the project duration is extended. The project is scheduled in such a way that the available resources are used efficiently, and it is Competed without using any additional resources. In this case, only 4 or 6 resources may be hired, and the schedule of work will be adjusted accordingly, so that all the resources are occupied at the optimal level, even if the project is delayed.

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