Time overrun is the common issue of majority of projects. Organizations try to evolve techniques to complete the projects within stipulated time. Any project can be completed within time when the available resources can be used in an optimized manned, i.e., without overbooking them or spreading them too thin among the activities. This can be done by using a technique called resource levelling. We will learn about resource levelling in this post.
What is Resource Levelling?
The resources are always limited in every organization. There may be several projects running in an organization at a time. If we take a single project, there are several activities running at a time. We have to complete the project within time, using the available resources only. The challenge is to adjust the activities in such a manner that the available resources may be used in an optimized manner. Resource levelling is simply the allocation of resources among the project activities in such a manner to resolve the conflict arising from over allocation.
Resource Levelling Techniques
There are basically two techniques of resource levelling, one is fast tracking and second is crashing.
Fast tracking is changing the sequence of activities from their original chronological order and running them parallel to each other in the project schedule. You can put only those activities in parallel, which do not have finish to start relationship and may feasibly be overlapped.
Fast tracking allows the project team to compress the project timeline and shorten the project duration.
Crashing is a technique in which the activities are compressed to complete them in less time. In the project crashing, additional resources are added to a project, rather than moving up its start date. There is a trade- off between time and cost of an activity. If the duration of an activity has to be reduced, it can be done by adding more resources to the activity. This will make the completion of activity costlier. So the project manager will have to make a trade- off between cost and completion time of the activity.
Crashing and Fast Tracking of activities can be easily understood with the help of the following diagram:
Fast- tracking and crashing both techniques are commonly employed to shorten the project duration. Fast- tracking does not require allocation of additional resources to the activities but only the scheduled start time of the activities is changed to run several activities in parallel. But there is always a risk in running too many tasks at a time. There is also a risk that although fast tracking may cut short the time of completion of some activities but it may not affect the project end date. Critical path is the longest path through the project so the end date of the project may only be changed if the fast- tracking be done on the activities laying along the critical path.
Crashing on the other hand does require allocation of additional resources to cut short the duration of activities. But it also means that the completion of a particular task becomes costlier when you allocate additional resources. A project manager should always keep in his mind that there is a trade- off of time and cost when using the crashing technique. Decision to use any of the technique should be taken based on available resources and time for a project.