Working with Resources in ALICE Core

Assigning resources to your schedule in ALICE enables a powerful set of optimization benefits. Alice will dynamically shuffle resources to help you find the fastest feasible schedule duration while abiding by your scheduling, logic, and resource constraints. 

Most teams do not fully resource load their schedules today because it's a time-intensive process in legacy tools. However, we know that an some consideration of resources is necessary to realistically assess the feasibility of your baseline schedule based on the required resources in the schedule and your estimation of available resources.

With ALICE, users can assign resources and resource logic one time and create unlimited resource loaded schedules. The process is not all-or-nothing - users can add detail where it is strategically beneficial and keep a coarse level of detail in less critical areas of the schedule.

Read on to learn how to create and assign resources to tasks in ALICE Core, how traditional resource loading is applied in Core and some of the unique benefits to using ALICE to explore schedule resources. 

Resource Basics

The following resource data types are supported in ALICE:

    • Crews
    • Equipment
    • Materials (reusable or consumable)
    • Metadata, including:
      • Rates
      • Custom properties
    • Indirect Costs
    • Calendars

In order to assign a resource to a task, the resource must first exist in the resources tab. If your ALICE project was created by importing an existing schedule, the resources from the native schedule will be imported. Resources can also be created and assigned within ALICE.

Tip: You can also import resource metadata from a historical project and easily assign the resources to your new schedule 

Functionality of the Resources tab

Click the resources tab in the upper right corner of the plan page to view, create, and modify your labor, equipment, materials, rates, and calendars. 

 

 

Crew Resource Field Descriptions

  • Crew Name
    • Assign crews based on discipline, scope, and schedule detail
    • Crews can be grouped under a subcontractor or managed independently 
    • If you imported an existing schedule, this field will be pre-populated.
  • Imported Resource Peak
    • This field defines the calculated peak of resource histogram from an imported schedule. It is non-editable.
  • Max Units/Time
    • This field defines the maximum number of crews available.
      • ALICE will not schedule your tasks such that the simultaneous number of crews needed is greater than this number.
      • When assigning crews to tasks on the plan page, users cannot assign a crew count greater than the max units/time defined in the resource tab.
    • Users can optimize resources by removing the max units/time constraint or increasing the upper limit in the resource tab. 
      • The max units/time can also be modified on the explore page to explore scenarios.
    • If you imported an existing schedule, this field will be pre-populated.
  • Default Units/Time (applies to tasks)
    • Set this value to control how many crews are assigned by default to a task.
    • This is used to estimate Planned Labor Units = Crews required for task * # of work hours in original duration and relevant task calendar.
    • A change here applies to the task and planned labor units. 
    • If you imported an existing schedule, this field will be pre-populated.
  • #Pers/Crew (applies to the project)
    • Set this value to control the number of people per crew at the project level. 
    • Please note that number of people per crew is tied to the daily workforce limit feature calculation.
  • $Crew/Hour (applies to the project) 
    • This field is used to calculate the direct cost of crew labor hours and the idle cost (downtime) for the crew when it demobilizes and remobilizes until it fully demobilizes from the job. 
  • Calendar for Crews
    • Calendars are defaulted to the task calendar. However, users have the flexibility to assign a default crew calendar and optioneer with crew calendars and task calendars 
    • Activity calendars are task-based by default (like P6)
    • Your default crew calendar in P6 is imported as your crew calendar in Alice.
  • Idle Cost  
    • Turn on idle cost if you want to see a quantified measure of efficiency in your optioneering. Faster solutions can result in lower idle cost due to reduced downtime for crews 
    • Turn off idle cost if you want to easily see only direct labor cost changes, like the additional cost impact of overtime work or productivity changes. 

Assigning Resources to Tasks

After the resources have been created in the resources tab, they can be assigned to specific tasks in ALICE. Resources can be assigned one at a time or in bulk.

We recommend you start by resource-loading critical path activities to quickly identify risks and opportunities on the critical path that can make the biggest impact to project duration.  

Assigning Crew, Equipment, Materials, Rates and Calendars one at a time

  1. In the Gantt chart, "right-click" and select "Edit Columns".
  2. Select the column name of the resource you wish to assign and click "Done" to add the appropriate column to the Gantt chart. 
  3. Double-click on the resource cell to open the assignment window.
  4. Select the required resource(s), define the amount needed, and click Save to complete the process.

Assigning Crew, Equipment or Materials in Bulk

  1. Use the filter or sort tools to isolate the tasks to which you wish to assign resources.
  2. Bulk select the tasks using the checkbox icon on the top left of the Gantt chart.
  3. Click Save to complete the process.

Tip: deselect a resource type to bulk un-assign the resource 

Our tutorial library includes visual examples of resource assignment for crews, equipment, materials, and calendars.

Resource Calculations for Imported Files

For a full list of mapped fields and logic, click here.

ALICE imports your budgeted labor units, actual labor units, and remaining labor units from your original P6 file.

Additionally, ALICE estimates your planned labor units using duration*default units/time (workforce required for tasks) this is an additional column labeled Planned Labor Units  

ALICE Core utilizes the concept of budgeted labor units to optimize resource loading. ALICE calculates the minimum resources required per task and the peak number of resources required for the project based on your histogram peak from P6. 

Tips for Resource Loading a schedule with Core  

  1. Analyze the critical path in your baseline solution
  2. Start by creating a labor resource pool for crews that are on the critical path  
  3. Use the filter builder to filter the activities that require the same resource type
  4. Bulk assign the resource type and quantity required per task (default units/time) 
  5. Repeat this process for all critical tasks to de-risk and optimize the critical path   
  6. Repeat this process for all activities to resource load your entire schedule and develop an anti-fragile schedule 

First, create labor resource types

Next, filter and select activities that require the same crew types

Note: In this example, the user has created a mobilization crew and is bulk-assigning the crew to all mobilization & demobilization activities. 

Lastly, bulk assign required resources and type in the required count of labor for the tasks 

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