Join Bonnie Biafore for an in-depth discussion in this video Replacing overallocated resources, part of Project Management Foundations: Schedules.
Another way to balance workloads is to reassign work to others who have more time available. If you have someone who's over-allocated, and you have someone available with the proper skills, this can be a good way to reduce their workload without lengthening the project. First, look at the people who are over allocated on your project. Then determine whether you can find people with the same skills to take on some of the over allocated assignments. Depending on the constraints on your project or your company, you can consider other employees, contractors or third party vendors. If you find people with the right skills who are available at the right time. Go ahead and start the procurement process as soon as you can. Once you're sure you have the replacements lined up, change your schedule to reassign the over allocated work.
Then, let your over-allocated resource know you've gotten them some help. The upside to this approach is significant. The work you reassign occurs when it was originally scheduled. This approach looks like it won't increase the length of the project. But this isn't always the case. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when procuring replacement resources. Replacements could be less experienced, so they might take longer to complete the work.
They could deliver lower quality. Or they could need support from the very people you're trying to offload. Or, if you find skilled replacements, they could come with a higher price tag. When you're on the hunt for replacements, scrutinize their abilities and cost. When you come up with options, evaluate each one to see which one is most appropriate for your project. If a replacement will take longer, do a what if change to your schedule to see if reassigning the work is better than delaying or splitting the original person's assignment. If the replacement costs more.
Calculate the extra cost to see if it fits within the project budget. Let's look at our sample project to see how to evaluate options and choose the right one. Suppose two content developers are assigned to right content and re-purposed material for the HR website. At the same time. The goal is to eliminate their over allocated time while keeping the project on schedule. The current finish date is December 31st and the development cost is about $86,000.
One option for balancing the content developer's workloads is to delay or split tasks so they can work on tasks one at a time. Re-purposing content is scheduled to occur near the finish of writing content. So you tried delaying the repurposing task. The result with this option is that the finish date pushes out to January 3rd. The cost doesn't change at all. Another option is to assign the repurposing task to someone else. Only one person in your company is available, a tech writer. So, you have one person, not two, to work on the task. In addition the tech writer is a new employee, so you expect it will take her longer.
The original estimate is 48 hours, so you increase that to 60 hours. This option pushes the finish date out. It delays from December 31st to January 7th. Because the tech writer's hourly rate is lower than the content developer's rate, the cost decreases to 85,200. Suppose you find out that a contractor you've worked with before is available. Her hourly rate is higher than what you pay the content developers. However, she's familiar with the project and works really fast. So you estimate that she can finish the work in 32 hours, instead of the 48 hours for the content developers.
She's also willing to work longer days to finish quicker. With this option, it takes her a little longer to complete the task because there's only one person working on the task, even though she takes fewer hours. So the project finishes only one day later, on January 1st. Although the contractor has a higher hourly rate, she works fewer hours so the cost actually decreases to 85,400. In this example, the project finish date is the most important factor. So hiring the contractor is the best alternative.
The contractor option has an added advantage of decreasing the cost. Reassigning work to other people who have more time available is a great way to balance work loads without lengthening the schedule.
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- Identifying the work that needs to be done
- Adding milestones
- Delaying or overlapping tasks with lag and lead time
- Assigning resources
- Balancing workloads
- Adding buffers and baselines to the schedule
- Uncovering and correcting out schedule problems<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.