Need help with Leveling gone crazy

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    • #363287

      I’m ready to choke project. Oh boy, I wish I could.

      I’ve created a WBS for a pretty extensive project detailing facilities/building upgrades, resultant user moves, etc. As we have several buildings across the campus that are affected, I started with a template for one and copied it for each building, changing the start time and building name as I go. This seemed like a lot less hassle than recreating the wheel for each building. We also have some new buildings coming online, and old ones going away, with hard set times that affect my schedule (e.g. I need to make sure I finish moving users before their building is demolished). The new buildings, building demos, and individual move groups are the only tasks with manual scheduling. Everything else, i.e. all sub-tasks to a particular move, are autoscheduled based on predecessors.

      With that, I have been wresting with Project to level out my schedule using half-way reasonable logic. For example, given one building, I have a grouping of tasks that should be conducted reasonably close to each other- “Move Day Preparations”. MS Project schedules these grouped tasks over the course of a few months. Clean refrigerator on day one, ready for move out 3 months later- even though I only scheduled less than a week of actual work. Project is giving my resources to other buildings (more on that in a moment). I would expect to have a way to tell it, “No, do them sequentially, immediately after each other, on the same day if possible.” Then the next issue. The next group of tasks involves “Packing,” such as tearing down systems furniture, boxing up users, etc. Project decided to start this 2 years after the “Preparations”… I have no constraints on either, and “Preparations” is the only predecessor to “Packing”. Again, I can’t find anything to say, “Look project, start the move 2 days after finishing up the preparations. I don’t want people to be ‘prepared’ for 2 years…” Project decided the team I have assigned to complete these tasks is better used on other buildings for those two years (presumably), even though the building I’m staring at has the highest priority (990) assigned to each of its tasks (while other buildings get their own priorities lower than 990), this building has the earliest start date, and it appears first in the WBS.

      Oh, and then, even after leveling the whole project (multiple times now), I have resources that are 2,000% utilized. No constraints on those tasks, Auto-scheduled of course, ASAP. But nope, Project starts 10 different tasks across buildings, for the same resource, at the same time. Grrrr.

      Can anyone give me a clue what I might be doing wrong here? I’ve searched and searched for these issues, but can’t find resolutions.

    • #363294
      Avatar photoLarry Christofaro

      Ah, my favorite subject. I read your issues and they certainly sound like something isn’t right. If Project isn’t prioritizing properly against task priorities, make sure you have your leveling order set to Priority/Standard (Resource tab, Leveling options). I can’t answer your issues with over-allocation as this goes beyond what Project will do, but I’m sure there’s an answer. Question, are the task units set no higher than the resource max units?

      Start with that and let me know what you come up with. Worst case I can take a look at your project if you want. I’m sure there’s an answer.

    • #363355

      Thanks Larry,

      You got me with the Priority,Standard option… I overlooked it an thought it was a default sort option. This cleared up the basic scheduling priority issue, but I’m still having a problem with over allocation- or at least a hint of it. I don’t see the burning man anywhere, but when I review the resource graph I see peaks of 300, 400, up to 900% on a resource that’s allocated only 200% max (2 people). No individual task is using more than 100%, two people working in parallel on separate tasks. For example on Nov 8th I see a peak of 431%, though the resource usage screen only shows 14.65 hours of work that day- from that same resource. About what I would expect. I don’t know if peak is just showing some down-to-the-minute overlap, or what, but it’s disconcerting to say the least.

      Meh, maybe I can live with not looking at that screen.

      Thanks a lot for fixing my oversight 🙂

    • #363357
      Avatar photoLarry Christofaro

      Well, one out of two ain’t too bad. At least we’re progressing. Knowing that we are working with peak units helps to answer that question. Peak, as you mentioned, can be a peak at a particular minute even though the total number of hours is less than full time. The ROG (Red Overallocation Guy) and when he appears is an interesting little factoid. It actually depends on the setting in Resource Leveling options. If you set it to minute by minute then all those tasks will turn red. If you change it to week to week you will get less…:-).

      OK, the next question is “how did it happen that allocations are all over the board”. Many thing can make it happen and the easiest is when you are entering actual time. Let’s say that you have two tasks that cross a single day with a FS relationship. You enter 7 hours for a resource on the first task which sets the finish time for that task to 4pm. Then you enter 8 hours for a different resource on the second task on that same day and it has to cram the 8 hours into that last hour of availability, hence you get 800% peak units. Generally speaking you can ignore peak units. Make sure that the resources are allocated properly across whatever time frame you want (day or week, I like week). As far as the resource graph, right click on the graph and pick something else besides peak (the default). Try Work or Percent Allocation, or just play with any of them.

      Hopefully this will answer the rest of your question, but let me know (I love this stuff…)

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