When working with project schedules in Primavera P6, you may run into resource over-allocation. This tends to occur when dealing with resource constrained projects with limited availability. In these circumstances, you may assign a resource to work more hours than they are capable of working. Additionally, if you have overlapping activities that require the same types of resources, some resources may mistakenly be assigned to work multiple activities occurring at the same time. To deal with resource overallocation in Primavera P6 Professional, you can use the resource leveling tool. Performing resource leveling allows P6 to adjust schedule activities in a way that reduces or eliminates overloads for resources assigned to more than one activity within a project or across many projects. 

When the resource leveling is performed, the leveler will attempt to move activities with overallocated resources. Used effectively, the Level Resources tool can be a powerful tool for capacity planning, running what-if scenarios and helping determine the impact of resource over allocations.

In this article, we will cover how to check for resource overallocation and how to use the resource leveling function in Primavera P6 Professional.

With a resource loaded project, resource usage can be viewed using the Resource Usage Profile. This profile can be opened by selecting View > Show on Bottom > Resource Usage Profile.

Access Preferences in the Revu menu in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Using the Resource Usage Profile

The Resource Usage Profile allows you to select specific resources to view their allocation within the open project on a timeline. The graph will display the selected resource’s budgeted units, actual units, and overallocated units. The limit line displays the resources maximum units per month – any units that exceed this maximum will display in red.

Access Preferences in the Revu menu in Bluebeam Revu 2019

How to Level an Overallocated Resource

Here, the assigned resource Robert Smith has been assigned to work past his maximum units, causing overallocation. In order to ensure that the activity is completed on time, this overallocation will need to be resolved. This can be done automatically by using Primavera P6’s resource leveling tool.

Leveling is done based on priorities you define at the project level or at the activity level. The first step in the leveling process is to determine priorities. If you’re working on several projects simultaneously that feature an overlap of resources, you may want to assign Project level priorities. In this case, Robert Smith is only assigned to one specific project, so it would be best to set priorities at the activity level, instead.

To set priorities for your activities, you will need to turn on the Activity Leveling Priority column by selecting View > Columns.

Access Preferences in the Revu menu in Bluebeam Revu 2019
The Activity Leveling Priority column will be available from the General category. Move the column from Available to Selected columns and select OK.
Access Preferences in the Revu menu in Bluebeam Revu 2019
The priority rankings range from Top to Lowest and can be set against activities within the schedule to guide the leveler as to which activities should be moved. These can be set by double clicking in the Activity Priority Ranking column for the selected activity.
Access Preferences in the Revu menu in Bluebeam Revu 2019
Once you have entered priority values for your projects and/or activities within a project, you can then use the Primavera P6 resource leveling tool. Select Tools > Level Resources to open the resource leveler.
Access Preferences in the Revu menu in Bluebeam Revu 2019
This will open the Level Resources dialogue box.
Access Preferences in the Revu menu in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Resource Leveling Options

Here, you can define the parameters of the leveling process. First, choose which project to level resources for if there is more than one open. Then, adjust the following leveling options:

  • Automatically level resources when scheduling will level your resources every time you schedule the project. This is a useful option to keep selected to ensure that resources continue to be leveled as more schedule updates are done. If this was not selected, the leveled activities would return to their original positions once the project is rescheduled.|

     

  • Consider assignments in other projects with priority equal/higher than will include other projects within the range of the leveling priority you specify. For example, if you mark the checkbox and specify a leveling priority of 5 in this field, the leveler considers all projects with a project leveling priority of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. This only needs to be checked if you’re leveling resources assigned to activities within more than one project.

     

  • Preserve scheduled early and late dates will preserve the original early and late dates for the activities that were calculated after scheduling. Leveling pushes out activities to accommodate resource availability. The P6 Start and Finish fields reflect leveled dates. Preserving scheduled early and late dates prevents the Early Start/Finish and Late Start/Finish fields from changing. This allows you to compare the Start/Finish fields to the Early or Late Start/Finish fields to determine how leveling affected the schedule.

     

  • Recalculate assignment costs after leveling will automatically recalculate resource and role costs after leveling resources and roles.
  •  Level All Resources will allow you to level all resources simultaneously. With this deselected, you can then select specific resources to perform leveling on. In most cases, there is no harm in leveling all resources, so it may be a good idea to keep this selected – especially if you have multiple overallocated resources. 
  • Level resources only within activity Total Float will delay activities with resource conflicts only up to their late finish date. In other words, this option will only level activities with total float. This is generally a good option to keep selected, as deselecting it will allow P6 to assume the project can finish at any time as long as resource availability is met. In most projects, you won’t want to change the scheduled finish date as the schedule still needs to be completed on time. Keeping this selected will make it so the schedule won’t extend past the required finish date.

     

  • Preserve minimum float while leveling allows you to specify the exact amount of float you want to maintain when activities are delayed because of resource conflicts. If you have some activities that need to have at least some float, that can be specified here.

     

  • Max percent to over-allocate resources allows you to choose the maximum percentage by which resource availability can be increased during resource leveling. This increased resource availability is used to level if resources on an activity cannot be leveled after using up the activity’s float limit.

     

  • Under Leveling Priorities, you choose how you want to level your resources. Currently, it is set to level by the set Activity Leveling Priority in Ascending order. This is generally the desired option, but it can be adjusted by selecting another variable from the list.

     

  • Lastly, there is an option to Log to File, which will record the resource leveling results in a log file that is saved to your desktop. 

With all of the desired options set, select Level to start the resource leveling process.

Access Preferences in the Revu menu in Bluebeam Revu 2019

Resource Leveling Results

After resource leveling, the Resource Usage Profile shows that Robert Smith is no longer overallocated. All of his overallocated units from the units in the Mobilization WBS layer, which were previously all set to occur in January, have now been spread over February, March, and April. The leveler has pushed out the Mobilization activities so Robert Smith is no longer working all of those activities in January – now, they are occurring in the following months, when he has more availability.

Access Preferences in the Revu menu in Bluebeam Revu 2019
It should be noted, however, that although this solved the resource overallocation, this has caused the project as a whole to be delayed by several months. The original project Finish date was set to late September, as seen from the Early Finish column. Now, the project is set to finish in March of the following year, as seen from the Finish column.
Access Preferences in the Revu menu in Bluebeam Revu 2019

This is quite a delay that’s being made to correct the overallocation, which is something to consider when leveling. In many circumstances, you may choose to have the project finish when it was initially supposed to and simply replace some of the overallocated assignments with another resource.

Summary

Primavera P6’s resource leveling tool allows you to automatically level resources to resolve overallocation. When using the leveler, you can choose to have the leveling process performed according to your desired parameters. However, be careful when leveling resources, as it can often cause projects to be prolonged for a significant amount of time.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please use the comment section on the bottom of this page, and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to get more Primavera P6 tips & tricks directly in your inbox!

Lauren Hecker is a Primavera P6 Professional Instructor and teaches onsite and virtual Primavera P6 Fundamentals and Advanced courses. To see her next open enrollment course, please visit our calendar. To schedule an onsite or custom course, please contact us!

2 Comments

  1. Louden Greiner

    Version 17.12 doesn’t seem to have the option to level all resources, seems like it is the default option. Also, I remember there used to be a setting where you could allow for overallocations by a certain percentage, is that still an option?

    Reply
    • Lauren Hecker

      Hi Louden,
      I’m not sure if this is available in v.17 (I use versions 18-21) but in later versions of the program atleast there is an option to set a “Max percent to over-allocate activities”. This opytion is available from the Leveling window when you level your resources.

      Reply

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