Oracle Primavera Cloud features a resource leveling tool to help reduce resource overallocation. Resource overallocation occurs when you assign a resource to work more than they are capable of. This is a common issue that occurs often when you have overlapping activities that require the same resources. If you assign the resource to work full time on two simultaneous activities, they will become overallocated.
To alleviate resource over-allocation in OPC, you can try using the resource leveling tool. Resource leveling allows the program to reschedule activities in a way that reduces overallocation. Essentially, the program moves tasks to allow the assigned resource to work on everything they’re assigned to. When used effectively, the resource leveler can quickly assist in capacity planning.
In this article, we will cover how to check for resource allocation and use the resource leveling tool in Oracle Primavera Cloud. This function is available for any user assigned the Oracle Primavera Schedule Cloud Service license type.
Viewing Resource Allocation
There are several ways to track overallocation in Oracle Primavera Cloud. If you want to track the allocation for each individual resource, you can use the Resource Usage graph. On the other hand, if you want to view allocation for all resources at once, you can use the Resource Analysis page. We’ll take a look at both of these options.
Resource Usage Graph
The Resource Usage Graph is available from the Activities page within the project’s Schedule app. To access this graph, select Layout > Project Usage. The Project Usage section will appear at the bottom of the screen, replacing the Details. Here, you can track your units, costs, and work over time. To view individual resource data, select the Resource Usage tab.
This tab displays two sections. On the left side, you’ll see a list of the resources assigned to the project. On the right side, you’ll see a spreadsheet or graph of the selected resources’ usage over time – depending on the view selected. At the top of the right panel, you’ll be able to switch between the Not Stacked Histogram, the Stacked Histogram, or the Spreadsheet view. For viewing overallocation, keep the Not Stacked Histogram option selected.
Select the checkbox next to a resource within the list to view their usage within the project. For tracking overallocation, make sure you only have one resource selected at a time. A graph will display, showing the resource’s allocation over time. Here, there’s a red line indicating the resource’s Max Availability. If the resource’s allocation is above their Max Availability, their usage will display as a red bar. You should note down any resources with red bars, as you will need to correct these overallocations. Continue checking and unchecking the resource boxes until you’ve gone through them all.
Resource Analysis Page
You can also check for overallocation on the Resource Analysis page. This page has a benefit over the Resource Usage Profile – it allows you to view all resource allocation at once. Additionally, the Analysis page allows you to also view resources that are underallocated. This can assist in replacing overloaded resources with those with more availability.
To access the Analysis page, hover the cursor over the project’s Resources app and select Analysis.
The Analysis page will list each assigned resource, along with their corresponding units over time. For each resource, there are three values: Max Availability, Over/Under, and Allocation. Max Availability is the max amount of units the resource can work per the duration – such as 40h/week. Allocation is the amount of units you have assigned the resource to work. Under/Over will display how many units the resource is under or overallocated.. If the resource’s Allocation is more than their Max Availability, their Under/Over will display in red with a caution symbol – indicating overallocation. If the resource’s Allocation is less than their Max Availability, their Under/Over will display with a negative symbol – indicating underallocation.
Through this page, you can quickly identify overallocated resources. Additionally, you can see the availability of other resources within the same time period. In the example above, I can see that Tim Stephens is overallocated for the first week in January. To ease this allocation, I could look to other resources that are underallocated in the same period, such as Steve Robbins. If I replace some of Tim Stephen’s assignments with Steve Robbins, there would be less overallocation.
Before we do that, however, we’ll use the resource leveler. Whereas reassigning resources is a manual process, the resource leveler is automatic. Now that I have identified that I have overallocated resources, I can use the leveler.
Using the Resource Leveler
The resource leveling tool is available back on the Activities page. Before leveling, you may want to first adjust the leveling priorities. This is not a mandatory step, but it can give you more control over how the leveler works.
Setting Leveling Priorities
If you have many activities with overallocation, setting leveling priorities may be a good idea. When you use the leveler, the program will attempt to move activities around to ease overallocation. Setting leveling priorities gives you some control in which activities are moved. Priorities allow you to rank tasks, and the leveler will look at these rankings to determine which activities to move. If, for example, you have tasks that you don’t want the leveler to adjust, you can set them to have a lower priority.
To set priorities for activities, you need to add the Leveling Priority column to the table. Select the Add Column button, type in Leveling Priority, and select the eye icon to display it. For each task, you can double click in the cell to choose a priority from Top to Lowest. The higher the priority, the more likely it is that the leveler will move the task.
I’ll start by setting priorities for my activities. It’s a good idea to give your high float activities a higher priority, as they can move without delaying the project. For critical activities, I would recommend setting the priority to low.
Once you have priorities set, you can use the resource leveler.
Adjusting Leveling Settings
To open the resource leveler, select the Actions menu within the Activities page. From the dropdown menu, select Level. There’s also a keyboard shortcut for this tool of Shift+F9. The Level window will open, and here you can adjust the leveling settings. First, choose whether you want to level Resources or Roles – in this case, I’ll select Resources. Next, you can adjust the following leveling settings:
Preserve scheduled early and late dates: This option will preserve the project’s original early and late dates when leveling. The leveler will move activities to accommodate resource availability, which can often lead to increased durations. With this option selected, you can compare your project’s Start/Finish fields with the Early or Late Start/Finish fields to see the leveler’s effect. I’ll keep this option selected.
Recalculate costs upon completion: This option will automatically recalculate costs for adjusted resources. This is always a good idea to keep on to ensure your costs remain accurate.
Display leveling log upon completion: This will cause the leveling log to open once the process is complete. The leveling log will give more information about the leveling process and its effect on the project.
Under the Resources tab, you can choose whether to level all resources or just selected ones. In the case of my project, I have several overallocated resources. For this reason, I’ll keep All Resources selected.
Lastly, under the Prioritization tab, you can choose how the leveler will prioritize adjusting tasks. By default, the leveler will look to the leveling priorities that you set earlier. However, if you chose not to set priorities, you can choose another prioritization method, such as Start or Finish. I’ll keep this on the default of Leveling Priority.
If you want to save these settings to use with future projects, you can select Save. You can now run the leveler by pressing Level Now.
Resource Leveling Results
Before you can see the full results of the leveling process, the Scheduling/Leveling Log will open. This will occur if you turn on the Display leveling log upon completion option.
The leveling log will be very similar to the scheduling log that’s created after scheduling the project. For the most part, this log will give basic information about the project and leveling settings you chose. The only section here that will give new information is Scheduler Results.
The Scheduler Results section will show some basic information, such as the number of critical activities. Here, we can also see how the leveler worked with the tasks – such as which activities couldn’t be leveled. There will also be a list of tasks that the leveler delayed. These are the activities that the lever rearranged to clear up resource allocation.
You can print the log by selecting Print, and close out of it by pressing the X button.
Adjustments to Dates, Durations, and Resources
After leveling, you’ll immediately see some changes within the project. The project is now set to finish on February 6th, 2024 – up from the initial finish date of September 27th, 2023. The project’s duration has also increased – it is now up to 287 days from its original 193 days. The leveler works by moving overallocated activities to dates that the resource has more availability. Although this can help alleviate overallocation, it does delay the project’s completion.
We can see the effect of the leveler on resources back on the Analysis page. The leveler pushed some of Tim Stephens activities forward so he could still work on them. This cleared up the over-allocation that he had during the first week of January. As you can see, the leveler couldn’t remove all overallocation, but it was able to reduce it . For the remaining overallocation, I may want to reassign tasks or hire additional resources.
We can now see the obvious pros and cons of resource leveling. On one hand, the resource leveler reduced the overallocation – which may also reduce the amount of additional resources we need to hire. On the other hand, the leveler has pushed the finish date back by about 5 months. In most cases, you will not be able to delay the project this much. When using the leveler, you have to analyze what’s most important in your project – budget or time. If your project needs to finish by its set finish date, you may opt to hire additional resources. If you have an extremely fixed budget but a flexible time frame, leveling may be the solution.
Whichever method you choose, it’s important to evaluate the pros and cons and how it aligns with your project’s goals.
Retaining Leveling Results
It’s important to note that the leveled dates display the optimum positioning for activities based on the assigned resources. If you schedule the project again, the dates will return to their original positions. This can be useful if you aren’t happy with the leveling results.
To schedule the project and return to the original scheduled dates, select Actions > Schedule on the Activities page. Adjust your scheduling settings as needed, and press Schedule Now.
Now, the schedule’s dates and durations are back to what they were originally. The project’s finish date is once again in September, and the duration is back down to 193 days. However, this will also undo the adjustments that made to the resource’s allocation. Once again, my resources are very over-allocated.
If you decide that you want to retain the leveling results, you’re going to want to use the Level button to schedule the project moving forward. Leveling the project will schedule it using the last set settings – while also keeping the leveled dates. To keep my activities leveled, I’ll make sure to Level the project rather than Scheduling going forward.
The resource leveling tool in Oracle Primavera Cloud rearranges activities to deal with overallocation. By adjusting when tasks start, the leveler can help alleviate this overallocation. However, this tool should be used with caution, as it can extends the project’s duration and delay its compeletion. When considering leveling, it’s important to think about what yoru main objectives are. If the project has a tight budget and a flexible time frame, the leveler can be useful. On the other hand, if you have a strict deadline, you may want to choose a different method to deal with overallocation – such as hiring new resources. If you don’t like the leveling results, you can Schedule the project to return to the original dates. If you want your activities to stay leveled, use the Level tool instead whenever you need to schedule the project. Regardless of how you choose to deal with overallocation, OPC makes it easy to view and reduce this common schedule error.