As all elements of the project plan are brought together, it is often found that the required resources for one task overlap with the needed resources for other tasks. This cannot be determined until all the tasks have been estimated, resources assigned and the project tasks scheduled. Resolving these over-allocations is often called resource levelling. You can rely on project management software to find and fix these, but the software doesn’t understand the tasks, the people, and all of the options. Instead, proactively manage these occurrences to ensure the best solution based upon the project goals and objectives.
Or you may have developed the perfect plan and ensured that there is no resource over-allocation. But then reality occurs. A task is delayed and overlaps with other tasks. Suddenly a resource that had excess capacity becomes over allocated.
So what do you do? When project planning is near completion, check for resource over-allocation. Project management software can help with this. Whenever a project activity significantly changes schedule, either a delay or acceleration, check for resource over-allocation.
1. For each constrained resource, analyse resource allocation. This is often done with a spreadsheet where the required number of hours or days of work for a task are assigned to the time period in which the task is to be accomplished. This can also be done graphically.
2. If over-allocated, First attempt to replan one or more of the tasks. By isolating the resolution to one task, it has a minimal impact on the rest of project planning. Things that could be done to replan a task is to change the assigned resource, change the “definition of done,” or change the timing of work within the task.
3. If still over-allocated, change the project schedule using float. Change the timing of tasks that are using the over-allocated resource so that they some of them occur in times when the resource is under-allocated. Do not reschedule critical path tasks, rather reschedule tasks that have float.
4. If still over-allocated, request changes to project boundaries. Go to stakeholders for permission to extend project schedule, descope the project, or increase the resources-usually leading to increased cost. This is the last step after you have first taken the project management steps listed above.