9 Tips for Dealing with an Over Allocated Resource
Date: Friday, July 20 @ 10:12:34 EDT
Topic: PMConnection Articles

OK, here is the situation;  you are looking into the future of your project and realize you have an over allocated resource.  What should you do?

Well, before we look at the various options, we must first understand how a resource gets over allocated.

A resource becomes over allocated when we assign more work to that resource the can be completed within a particular time period, given that resources availability.  For example, lets say we have one person who is assigned to our project 100% of their time (or 40 hours per week).  If we attempt to have that resource complete more than 40 hours worth of work next week (either on one task or a combination of tasks), they are now over allocated.

Here are some ways to deal with an over allocated resource:

  1. Do Nothing*:  Perhaps the resource is only slightly over allocated.  In this case we may choose to do nothing.  It is anticipated that the resource will be able to give a little more (work harder) and complete the task within the given time period.
  2. Add an Additional Resource:  Assigning an additional resource to assist with a task could reduce the amount of Work that resource A is required to complete.
  3. Reassign a Task:  Perhaps it is a combination of tasks that is causing the over allocation.  Reassign one task to another person who has the skill set and the availability to perform that task
  4. Extend the Duration of the Task(s)**:  Extending the duration of the task or tasks allows the resource to complete the same amount of Work, but over a longer Duration.
  5. Delay the Start of a Task**:  If it is a combination of tasks that is causing the over allocation, delaying the Start date of one of the tasks could eliminate the over allocation.
  6. Extend the Resources Working Day***:  This involves asking the resource to work longer than 8 hours per day
  7. Extend the Resources Working Week***: You are now asking the resource to Work on a weekend day, or more than 40 hours (work longer).
  8. Implement Improved Technology****:   This equates to "working smarter, not harder"!  The analogy I will use is that we employ an air nail gun to build a fence instead of using a hammer and nails.  The amount of Work or effort required to complete the task will be reduced.
  9. Reduce Scope*****:  The last resort!  So you are constrained...you have no additional resources who can assist, you have no additional budget to purchase improved technology, and you can not extend the duration of any tasks because it will cause the project to be late.  Your last resort is to reduce the amount of Work needed to be completed by reducing the scope of the project.  So instead of building the fancy Flash intro to a website, a standard homepage will be employed.
Here are some possible impacts of these options:

*Doing Nothing:  As you can imagine, this introduces some Risk to your project.  What if they can't or don't get the task complete?  What will be the impact to the project?

**Extending the duration of the task(s) or Delaying the Start of a task:  If any of these tasks are on the critical path of your project, you just extended the Finish date for that project!

***Extending the resources Working Day or Work Week:  Either of these options could result in paying over-time, thus increasing the cost of your project.

****Implement Improved Technology: Undoubtedly this will come at an increased cost!

*****You better make sure you have approval from the customer or project sponsor before choosing this option!!

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