Efficiency is key to success in today’s economic conditions. Allocation of resources in an efficient way within the project schedule is a good practice of resource management. Basically, resource loading, resource leveling, and resource smoothing are key terms of project resource planning. Project managers and planning engineers usually make safe assumptions on their project’s work schedule. As a result of these assumptions, work schedules often demonstrate more resources than they are needed to complete the project on time. A Resource loaded schedule provides enough information about its reality and demonstrates if it is applicable or not. This article discusses the basics of resource loading and demonstrates how to create primavera p6 resource loading spreadsheets.
What is the Difference Between Resource Loading, Leveling, and Smoothing ?
The number of resource loaded schedules are increasing in large and complex projects. Most schedule and cost management systems today rely on the resource loaded schedules because such schedules are capable of providing enough information regarding the targets of a project.
Modeling resources is key to success for companies in all types of industries. An integrated resource and schedule system effectively improves the quality of decision making within the organization. Once the work schedule is created and resource estimating process is completed, the resource allocation process comes. Resource loading demonstrates the number of resources distributed in specific time periods. Resource requirements are listed as a function of the period. It provides a general understanding of the number of resources required to complete the project. For better understanding, let’s review the figure below.
This figure demonstrates an example of manhour loading for a housing project. It shows a spreadsheet for the time distributed data of the production workforce, week by week. As shown in the figure, the total duration of the project is 10 weeks and the workforce is divided into categories. Electrician, Unskilled Labor, Skilled Labor, Foreman, and the Mechanic are the main categories. A stacked bar chart or a histogram can be created to represent the resource loading of the work schedule.
Resource leveling deals with the allocation limits of resources. It changes the project dates and may change the critical path. On the other hand, resource smoothing is applied after resource leveling. Resource smoothing tries to use the floats in the best way in order not to change the critical path.
Oracle Primavera P6 Resource Loading
Oracle Primavera P6 Resource Loading feature enables to monitor planned and actual resource quantities. Procurement plans, labor and equipment plans, resource leveling and payment plans can be made by gathering data from the resource loading histograms.
Potential risks, unproductiveness, and variances can be determined by comparing the planned and the actual figures.
The figure below (Figure 1) shows a sample pipeline project. The duration type of activities is Fixed Duration & Units. The first step is to create resources in the Primavera P6 Resources Library and define the units of each resources.
Before to create a material resource, define units from Admin | Admin Categories from the main drop-down menu at the top of the screen. This will display the Admin Categories window then, click Units of Measure tab and add a new unit, Figure 2.
Select Enterprise | Resources from the main drop-down menu at the top of the screen. This will display the Resources view in Figure 3.
Then click the “Add” button and create a material resource. Select M3 for the unit of measure from the Details tab as shown in Figure 4.
Now, assign this newly created Backfill Material resource and insert budgeted quantity for the Backfilling activity as shown in Figure 5.
As shown in Figure 5, we inserted 30.000 M3 Budgeted unit for the A1070 Backfilling activity. Original lag is used to shift the resource distribution of the activity. It can be either positive or negative. Resource curves are used to represent the resource loading of an activity within the schedule. If you don’t know how to use resource curves, please read this article from here: Primavera P6 Resource Curves
To show the resource loading of the A1070 Backfilling activity, Select View | Show on Bottom | Resource Usage Spreadsheet from the main drop-down menu at the top of the screen. Then, select the resource and customize the spreadsheet by clicking on and select Budgeted Units as shown in Figure 6.
Most of the schedules are not resource loaded. This means that quantities, material, and equipment resources are not assigned to the activities. Therefore most of the project managers can not prepare realistic plans due to the lack of information. Resource loaded schedules provide valuable information for the future earnings of projects. Integrating resources, costs, time and schedule improve decision making eliminate problems. A resource loaded schedule is the basis for project control and decision making. In order to monitor the real performance of a project, it must be done well. Primavera P6 resource loading spreadsheets and histograms are used to plan and track the resource performance of a project. By the help of Primavera P6 resource loading spreadsheets, resource allocation can be done effectively and resource leveling can be done when needed.
 Koster, K. (2011). What your schedule isn’t telling you.