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Simple Tips for Leveling Resources in MS Project

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I found that whenever I tried to level resources in my projects, things didn’t quite turn out how I wanted.  With a few adjustments however, it worked great.  Here are a few tips to help you level resources effectively (I’m using Project 2010, older versions have mostly the same options though):

  • Don’t use predecessors in place of leveling.

If one task needs to happen before another logically, than set the predecessor.  If you want one task to happen after the other because the same person is working on both tasks, use leveling.  Using predecessors in place of leveling can result in spaghetti when you need to shuffle tasks around.


  • There is a Priority column.

Use the Priority column to choose which tasks get done first when you have a preference.  A higher priority will occur first.  I usually use a number between 1 and 1000 to represent this.  Using the priority column along with the next tip will help MS Project know what you want when it levels.  To show the Priority column, right-click on one of your columns and select Insert Column.  Scroll down and select Priority.  You can then drag it where you want.  Use this column with the next tip.


  • Set leveling to use priority, then id.

The default MS Project leveling order won’t always do what you expect.  Change this option to sort first by priority, then by ID.  To adjust this setting go to the Resource tab and click Leveling Options.  Change the Leveling order to Priority, Standard.    After you have done this leveling should work much more like you expect.  You can control the leveling using the Priority.


  • Uncheck Leveling can create splits in remaining work in the Leveling Options.

This will prevent MS Project from splitting your tasks up.  There will probably be cases where you want to split a task, but for me I find this is rarely what I want leveling to do.


  • Try automatic leveling.

I find that automatic leveling even works pretty well (You can switch between manual and automatic on the same Leveling Options page).   With automatic set MS Project will reorganize your tasks as you make changes.  With a good script or some copy / paste, you can even test quickly how adding additional resources will affect your project.


  • Tasks won’t level without a Duration and Start.

If your tasks seem to be ignoring your attempts at leveling, make sure you have this information set.  There is also a checkbox in the Leveling Options that will tell leveling to ignore Manually Scheduled tasks.


Leveling in MS Project can seem strange or difficult at first, but when you use these tips leveling will help do the work for you.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 21:29  


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