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Critical Path and Resource Levelling

edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2015 Posts

I just started using Smartsheet for project planning. I have created a lot of tasks, put in the predecessors for each task, put in task durations and put in resources. The resulting plan shows that Person A is doing multiple tasks concurrently. He can't do this. MS Project has a feature which I think is called Resource Leveling that sorts this out. What I seem to need is an automatic way of not allowing any resource to be used more than 100% at any time. One of the tasks that he is allocated to needs to be delayed until he is available. Which task is delayed needs to be optimised to minimise the critical path duration. Does Smartsheet have a feature like this? Without it, it seems pretty useless to me. Without it I would have to put in "false" predecessors or "false" start dates to prevent the same person being used more than 100% at any time. This is a lot of work, and I would have to do all the optimisation myself. Also every time the chart cahnges which it wil do all the time) I would have to undo all these "false" restyrictions and do them all again. Surely this is the sort of thing that a project management package is supposed to do?


How do I do this within SmartSheet?


Thanks - Rowan



  • Jeremy Michels
    Jeremy Michels ✭✭✭✭✭



    Are you doing start to finish on the predecessors that you are setting. If you are not using predecessors in the resource managment you will get overlap. If you set these up right it will self adjust. 

  • rowan.bradley
    edited 11/24/15

    I don't want to use Predecessors to control this, because they are artificial (i.e., they are not real dependencies). The system shoujld be intelligent enough to know that a 100% committed resource cannot do more than one task at a time. If I put in dependencies to do this, then if something about the project changes (as it does all the time) then the dependency may artificially delay a task that doesn;t need to be delayed, or shift a task so that again a resource is doinhg two things at once. I will therefore continually have to be adding and deleting these artifical dependencies, which is all spinning wheels for no good reason.


    Surely to be an adequate project planning system, there needs to be a feature to do this automatically?



  • This is an issue I have had with SmartSheet for a while. The Allocation % entry does nothing in terms of adjusting schedules. For example, if I have a 10 hour task and a resource that is allocated 25% to it, it should take 5 days to complete but SmartSheet says 2. If I create my own Start Date, End Date, duration and Allocation % columns I can input formulas to make it work but I  lose Gannt and predecessor capabilities.

  • I'm discovering this now too, and it's pretty important. Please add my vote to prioritise this. 

  • This feature should be a priority (especially if other PM software packages have it). Also, it seems like there should be a way to perform this resource leveling across multiple projects.


    I've got a similar situation to Rowan except that my teams are working on many different projects. As one schedule shifts or is adjusted, all of the sudden, half my people are over allocated on half of the projects. It's pointless for me to try to reallocate their time manually, because one little change to one little schedule could throw the whole thing out of whack again!

  • Please add my vote to this, as well.  My team is in dire need of this feature. 

  • +1 as well, it seems essential for every day project management and using predecessors is a hack that can introduce a range of different problems.

  • Smartsheet Community Manager(s),


    Any response or update on where this falls in the Smartsheet Feature Roadmap? 


    Please add my vote as well! Cool


    Thank you,


  • In full agreement! There are two related features needed to make this happen.


    1) Durration Based on Allocation - The duration column should factor in the allocation of the resource, so that an 8 hour task takes 2 calendar days if the resource is allocated at 50%.


    2) Resource Leveling Function - This should be a function that is executed manually by the user. It takes every task that does not have dependencies and changes the start date so that the task owner is never over allocated. For example, if task 1 and task 2 are both 8 hour tasks assigned to the same person, it would start task 1 on Monday and task 2 on Tuesday. If the allocation were at 50%, it would start both tasks on Monday and end them both on Tuesday.

  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭



    How would the system know that task 1 is more important than task 2?

    Or is it only by virtue of being closer to the top of the sheet? (like MS Project)

    What if the resources assigned to a task with dependencies now conflicts with the task that has been moved?

    What if the task 1 and task 2 are in different sheets (projects/task lists)?

    What if those two projects are run by different PM's?


    These are rhetorical questions.

    I'm not disagreeing that attention needs to be paid by the developers in this area, but the requirements need to be fully fleshed out.





  • Roland Horwood
    Roland Horwood ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi all,


    I'd add my vote for a focussed resource levelling ability.

    My thoughts for leveliing are:

    • Levelled acording to a priority column.
    • Run manually by an admin.
    • Works across multiple projects, by selection.


    Regards - Roland

  • Craig,


    It's been years since I used MS Project, but as I recall, even 10+ years ago, it had an "auto-solve" feature where if there are two tasks that could be started at the same time, it would pick the one that allow the project to be completed at an earlier date.  I think there were some choices in how to configure it, but it worked amazingly well.


    I understand that if you have multple projects sharing the same resources, this becomes much more difficult.   But for the case of resources being assigned to a single project, this _is_ doable and it is extremely convenient.


    Alternatively, there should be posible to tag dependencies as "real" or "fake".   Real dependencies are ones where fundamentally, the dependent task needs the predessor task completed.  (e.g., you can't paint the nose cone until the nose cone is completed; or you can't write the test plan until the design doc is done).   "Fake" dependencies are there because Smart sheet is too dumb to do resource levelling automatically, and the project manager is going to have to waste a huge amount of time trying to add dependencies which are there because an individual contributor can't be over-allocated.    If they could at least be called out as separate things, then it would at least be easier to do this by hand.    Or maybe there could be a wizard that could add and subtract the fake dependencies based on various assumptions (like the resource is only going to be working on a particular project).    If the wizard could at least to the grunt work for a single project, then if there are multiple projects all completing for the same resource, the PM's can fight it out (nerf guns at 60 paces), and then manually add the dependencies or hack the start dates, or maybe set some kind of priority so that resource A will get asigned to project #1, and then to project #2. 

  • Yes, please add this feature! I'm going to have to find a different tool to use in the meantime.

  • I have just spent several hours evaluating Smartsheet to see if it could be used by my (several-hundred person) product development company. The user interface is very clean, the documentation is wonderfully complete, but the functionality for project planning is rather inadequate.

    As has been well-described above by other users over the last 18 months or so, it is a basic requirement to schedule tasks sequentially when they are being done by the same person/resource, without adding artificial dependencies.

    It appears to me at present that Smartsheet project sheets provide a way for you to do manual scheduling (with a bit of assistance to honour dependencies) and then be told where your resources are over-allocated so that you can re-schedule it all yourself!

    If I have misunderstood the capabilities then I would like to know!


  • Is there a program that does fulfill this feature? 



This discussion has been closed.