How would resource loading or resource leveling help address multitasking situations?

Case Study 12.1: The Problems of Multitasking An eastern U.S.
financial services company found itself way behind schedule and
over budget on an important strategic program. Both the budget and
schedule baselines had begun slipping almost from the beginning,
and as the project progressed, the lags became severe enough to
require the company to call in expert help in the form of a project
management consulting firm. After investigating the organization’s
operations, the consulting firm determined that the primary source
of problems both with this project in particular and the company’s
project management practices in general was a serious failure to
accurately forecast resource requirements. In the words of one of
the consultants, “Not enough full-time [human] resources had been
dedicated to the program.” The biggest problem was the fact that
too many of the project team members were working on two or more
projects simultaneously—a clear example of multitasking.
Unfortunately, the program’s leaders developed their ambitious
schedule without reflecting on the availability of resources to
support the project milestones. With their excessive outside
responsibilities, no one was willing to take direct ownership of
their work on the program, people were juggling assignments, and
everyone was getting farther behind in all the work. Again, in the
words of the consultant, “Project issues would come up and there
would be nobody there to handle them [in a timely fashion].” Those
little issues, left unattended, eventually grew to become big
problems. The schedule continued to lag, and employee morale began
to bottom out. Following their recognition of the problem, the
first step made by the consultants was to get top management to
renegotiate the work assignments with the project team. First, the
core team members were freed from other responsibilities so they
could devote their full-time attention to the program. Then, other
support members of the project were released from multitasking
duties and assigned to the project on a full-time or near full-time
basis as well. The result, coupled with other suggested changes by
the consultants, was to finally match up the project’s schedule and
activity duration estimates with a realistic understanding of
resources needs and availability. In short, the program was put
back on track because it was finally resource-leveled, particularly
through creating full-time work assignments for the project team
that accurately reflected the need to link resource management with
scheduling.
How would resource loading or resource leveling help address
multitasking situations?

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