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Balancing workload

24 August 2007

As the Project Manager of your project you need to stay in controll of the allocation of your resources. You should always be able to answer the question: “Who do what and when?” Microsoft Project 2007 supports you in this matter in a very good way.A project is a pre-defined scope of work that you need to deliver within a certain time, within budget and on time.To have an honest way of doing so you should always try to maximise the allocation of the resources and make sure that everybody always have tasks allocated to them. Planning a project is a science in it self and it will often require a number of iterations before you are satisfied with the plan. During the Start-up and Execution-phase of the the project you need to balance the workload for all resources and also take into consideration aspects such as comptence, general performance, parallell tasks, complexity of tasks and availability of the resources. Try to get a feeling for each resource as soon as possible in the proejct and how each individual performce and his/her capability of delivering on time. The general rule of thumb is to allocate resources to not more than 100%, try to stick with that and it will increase your possibilitis to deliver on time. The information that you enter in Microsoft project 2007 must be in line with the reality and it is no use for anyone to allocate a resource to 130% when you know that he only will be able to deliver 85% that specific week. It will end up with irritation and dissapoinments.After you have done you initial Gantt-chart and assigned tasks to resources you can use two of the views; Resource Graph and Resource Usage (or a combination of them both)Resource GraphThe Resource Graph shows you which resources that are over or under allocated in the project. The blue colors are showing that the resource not is over-allocated. Red indicates over-allocation and that You should investigate if you need to take actions.


Resource Graph in Microsoft project 2007 

Resource Graph showing overallocation for the resource Carp1.

 This graph gives you a good overview of the workload over time per resource. The picture above shows that the Carp1-resource is over allocated to 150% and this is a situation that you need to solve. You can either reschedule tasks or add more resources to the tasks.

Now you know that the Resource Carp1 is over allocated during a certain duration but you do not know which tasks that are causing the over allocation. For this purpose you can use the Resource Usage-view. 

Resource usage-view

Resource usage view in Microsoft Project 2007

Resource usage-view showing overallocation of two resources (red text).


This view is very useful to use when analysing why certain resources are overallocated. In this case it is the Carp1 ande Carp2-resources that are overallocated. In larger project with many resources and that has a long duration it is recommend to print this view in a color-printer and tejp the pages together. You will in this way have an excellent overview of the resource-allocation over time.

When balancing the workload you can either do that in the Gantt chart or directly in the Resource usage-view. It is easier to do it in the Gantt chart because it provides you with more valuable information about duration, dependencies, etc… You are although able to do it in the Resource usage view as well by editing the workload per task per week. Click the cell for a certain task and day and change the work.


Update work in the Resource usage view in Microsoft Project 2007

You are able to update the work in the Resource Usage view.


You can see that the tasks Install Roof and Lay tiles has been edited for resource Carp2. Please note the symbol to the left of the name that indicates that the task has been updated and that the resource Carp2 is no longer overallocated on Tuesday the 12th of March 2007. This change will impact the duration of the tasks Install Roof and Lay Tiles and you need to analyse the Gantt chart to secure any dependencies. If you can’t change the duration of the task you need to add more resources to these tasks.

Split view between Resources Graph and Resources usage

You can also split the window to display two views. You do this by;

1. Choose Window->Split

2. Choose View-> Resource Graph.

This will provide more information in the same screen.


Split view in Microsoft Project 2007

Split view for Carp1 which still is partly overallocated.

Microsoft Project 2007 also gives you the opportunity to do a automatic leveling of the resources but I strongly recommend you to not use the feature because it gives you a false feeling of having solved the problem and you do not have total control of what MS Project has done. Do the resource balancing manually and you will still be in controll.

Good luck!

 //Johan Beijar

Good Luck!

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    One Response to “Balancing workload”

  1. Oshadha Says:

    Cooooooool work.
    Gud luck…..

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