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Over Allocation on a Resource that is NOT Over allocated!

BY: Collin Quiring

This post is about a Resource over allocation we discovered in Microsoft Project Professional 2010.  To make it simple, this is not connected to Server, not an online instance, just a desktop version of Project Pro 2010.  Specifically, this is about a situation where we had a Resource that was clearly NOT over allocated.  I have some screenshots below that explain the situation in detail.

We also tested this in Microsoft Project Professional 2013 desktop and had the exact same results.  Both the problem and the resolution worked the same in 2013 as in 2010.

So we are all on the same page, what is the definition in Microsoft Project of an over allocated Resource?  It is “a resource is assigned to more work on a specific task or all tasks than can be completed within normal working capacity.”  In Project the field reference does not have the space between words and is just called overallocated or overallocation.

In this case, we had a Resource that was clearly not over capacity or over allocated.  But, in the Team Planner the Resource was showing over – including on weekends.  The weekends were NON-working days AND no work was assigned.  But, it also shows over allocation on days that are not over allocated.

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Here we see in the Resource Sheet that the Resource called Team Lead is showing an over allocation (in red) and this screenshot shows that this is a normal Work Resource with a Standard calendar.

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There is no calendar assigned to the Tasks.

The Project Calendar is the Standard Calendar as well so the Resource and the Project calendars are in sync.

This screenshot is from the Resource Usage view which shows that the Resource named Team Lead is showing an over allocation on a handful of weeks.  BUT, look at those numbers – the assignments are only 3, .55, .45 or .12 PER WEEK!  The Resource has 40 hours a week available.  Obvious math shows that this screenshot “is impossible” because the Resource is not over allocated.  In fact, it is almost perfectly the opposite – the have a week with less than an hour of time against it so they have over 39 un-assigned hours!!

Here are the overallocations marked in red in the Resource Usage view:

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Now, here is another interesting screenshot.  In this one, in the Task Usage view (Gantt Chart) we see the little red man indicator that tells us the Resource Team Lead is over allocated.  We also see that when we add the column Overallocated, it states that the Resource is NOT overallocated!

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So, Microsoft Project is actually giving us BOTH answers at once – the real one that the Resource is not overallocated and that the Resource is overallocated.  In fact, hovering over the red man indicator gives us the expected message of “This task has resources assigned which are overallocated.  Right-click for options.”

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But, we know that it is not over allocated!

After searching Bing and Google we discovered that there may have been some sort of bug prior to SP1.  The bug was that if a Work value is less than 1% of the duration of a task, the system wouldn’t correctly calculate the allocation and would end up showing that the Resource was overallocated even though it wasn’t.  However, changing the work above the 1% threshold didn’t affect this for us (and, we were on a post SP1 version) so we set it back.

After more searching and experimentation we discovered that the error is related to the Leveling Period for the Project.  NOTE – we in no way wanted to or used the leveling from within Project.  We merely changed the settings.  When you go into the Leveling Options in the Resource tab the default setting looks like this:

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The only item that we changed was the “Look for overallocations on a…” basis.

We changed it from “Day by Day’’” to “Week by Week”.  AGAIN – we did not actually click on “Level All” or actually ran any sort of leveling!  We only changed that drop down setting and clicked on OK.

And, with that one and only change, suddenly, the overallocations disappear!

No assignments changed, nothing else was changed.  But, the over allocations went away immediately:

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It removed the overallocations in Team Planner as well:

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It is all about the calculation method.  I don’t think that I would call this a bug.  I think this is a bit of weird math that happens when you have certain settings and views combining.

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