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Tutorials and tips

Knowledge Base

BigPicture allows us to assign multiple Workload and Holiday Plans to a single user. Thanks to this functionality, we are able to predefine a day in which a working scheme changes for an employee (part / full time), or the day when they join or leave the company. Thanks to this feature planning a workload becomes more handy and precise.

Resource Manager

In order for you to easily manage Workload and Holiday Plans assigned to your Resources, BigPicture has now a dedicated section - a Resource Manager which allows you to take even more control over your resource - workload planning.

The Resource Manager can be accessed by selecting Administration - Resource Manager (on the left hand side) from the 'BigPicture' dropdown menu on the top.


Resource List View

First view in the Resource Manager section is a complete view of all your resources.


As we can see, it allows us to display all Resources in the company and corresponding Workload / Holiday Plans assigned to them.

Besides that, it allows us to add new Resources (from the list of JIRA users) in a very convenient way. When adding new Resources, we can assign Workload and Holiday Plans to them right away.
New Resources are being loaded to the list automatically by scrolling down the Resource View window.

Single Resource's Detailed View

From the Resource List View it is easy to access yet another view in the Resource Manager - Resource's Detailed View. What you need to do is to click on the name (Full Name) of the selected Resource. 

Below we can see an example of a Detailed View for one of employees:


As we can see, the view is divided into two separate sections: Resource Workload Plan and Resource Holiday Plan. We'll take a quick look on the first one.

Resource Workload Plan Section

What is Resource Wokload Plan?

Resource Workload Plan is a list of all Workload Plans which are assigned to a specific Resource. It is sorted chronologically from the earliest date when WP was assigned to that Resource.

If it is hard to imagine the above correlation, it is probably due to the fact that Wayne (employee from the previous screenshot) has only one item assigned to his Resource Workload Plan. We will add another one and it will all be clear. 

Before we do that, let's take a look at the only item in Wayne's plan. It holds the following information: 

  • Wayne is assigned to "Half-Time Workload Plan", which means he works as a part-timer in our company. 
  • Thank to Start Date column, we know that Wayne works in this timely manner since the 1st of July 2017.
  • Thanks to the infinity symbol in the End Date column, we know that Wayne does not plan to leave our company and is employed as a part-timer on a permanent employment contract.

Let's assume now that at the beginning of 2018 Wayne will move to the full-time contract. How can we add this information to our BigPicture? 

The answer is: by adding to Wayne's Resource Workload Plan a new position (item).

Adding a New Item

In the row above the first item:

  1. Select Workload Plan, to which you want to assign a new employee.
  2. Determine the Start Date when they should be assigned / added to that plan.
  3. Press the "Assign Plan" button.


How did it work out in Wayne's case?

Let's add to his Workload Plan an item called: "Full-Time Workload Plan" and set the Start Date to the 1st of January 2018. 


What changes can we distinct in in Wayne's Plan?

  • Now his Plan consists of two items.
  • Newly added item is displayed second on the list. It is located there because (as we've already mentioned) items on the list are sorted chronologically by their Start Date. 
  • Our new item has an 'infinity' for the end date.
  • End Date of the previous item has switched from 'infinity' to the 31st of December 2017.


Few words about the last paragraph. As you've probably already noticed, when adding a new item in the Resource Workload Plan, we did not define its End Date. That's because every item in the plan has an open End Date by the default. It has fixed Start Date, yet the End Date is either open (is infinite) or it is automatically recalculated by BigPicture based on other items present in the Plan.

  • If Item A's successor is the Item B, then End Date of Item A will automatically be Start Date of the Item B minus 1.
  • In case Item A is the last item on the list, then its End Date will be the 'infinity', which means its End Date is undetermined.

In order to make it easier to distinguish BigPicture's automatic calculation from Dates predefined by a user, all these recalculations are written in grey font.

Thanks to the fact that BigPicture makes sure that all values in the End Date are properly populated, no items in a plan will ever overlap with each other. Thanks to this functionality you can rest assured that for each day, each Resource will be assigned to only one Workload Plan!

Adding New Item to the beginning of a Plan

In the previous example we've added a new item to Wayne's Resource Workload Plan, yet it landed at the end of this Plan, since it was supposed to start later than the item which was already present.

What happens if we wish to add an item which we'd like to be first in our plan? Maybe due to an oversight in our HR department, we missed the information that Wayne was on his internship in our company for the first month of employment and he was a full-time employee then. Will BigPicture allow us to alter this information?

It will indeed! The only thing we need to add is an item linked to Wayne's "Full-Time Workload Plan" that starts on the 1st of June 2017. This is what we will receive:  

Just as we've expected, the item jumped to the first position on the list as BigPicture had recalculated its End Date to be the 30th of June 2017 - exactly the day when Wayne's internship ended (the day before he has become a part-time employee). 

Adding a New Item Between Other Items in the Plan

While performing such operation we must be aware of one condition. That every single item in the Plan must start on a different day. BigPicture will not allow to add an item if its Start Date would clash with a Start Date of a different item. Just as mentioned before: For each day, each Resource can be assigned to only one Workload Plan! 

Editing an Existing Item

Beside adding, we can obviously modify any existing item. We can edit Workload Plan and Start Date in every item. While editing Start Date, End Dates of all contiguous items will be automatically recalculated by the BigPicture.

Let's illustrate it on Wayne's example. Say that we've found an error in his plan i.e. that Wayne has worked for us since the 15th and not the 1st of July. After modifying an item which is in the middle, Wayne's plan looks as follows: 

As you've noticed, beside Start Date's auto-adjustment of an item in the middle, the End Date of the first item has also changed. 

Deleting an Existing Item

Of course we can also delete any item which we do not wish to use anymore and BigPicture will automatically recalculate End Date of an item which is predecessor to that deleted item. 

You must be aware though, that BigPicture will make other auto-adjustments when we delete a Workload Plan to which other Resources are assigned. In these cases BigPicture will assign these Resources to a Default Workload Plan with Start Date remaining unchanged.

Adding an Item with Defined End Date

The fact that all items have an open End Date makes it very easy to manage our Resource Workload Plan. Though, at times, it may create some inconveniences. How would we describe in BigPicture that one of our Resources works on a time-limited contract? Or that the person leaves our company on a fixed date?

I.e. how would we present it in our Workload Plant that Wayne leaves the company on the last day of October 2018? 

We can achieve it by adding to the Wayne's plan an item marked as 'unavailability'. This item can be added like all other items that we've mentioned, with one exception. From the list of available Workload Plans we select a special item called: Unavailability, which to be honest is not much different from other items and acts as any other 'regular' item.

As you can see, thanks to 'Unavailability' item we've made a record in Wayne's Resource Workload Plan which states that on 1st of November 2018 his contract is ceased and he no longer works for our company. As the times does not have an End Date, it means that we are not currently planning to re-employ Wayne.

It is worth mentioning that you may add as many 'Unavailability' items to your plan, as you wish and they can be added in between other items.
I.e. if Wayne decides to come back to our company at the end of year 2018, then we can add a new item to his Resource Workload Plan which will automatically set an End Date to the 'Unavailability' item and will allow him to continue with his activities. 

Summary

That's all about Workload Plan functionalities. To summarise, we have to remember that: 

All items in our Plan start with only Start Date as a defined value (which means they have an open End Date) and their End Dates are recalculated by the plugin based on Start Dates of their contiguous items in the Plan. 

Resource Holiday Plan Section


This section works exactly like Workload Plans section and does under the same rules. Please refer to the screenshots below and you will surely see the similarity.

What might have caught your attention is the fact that in Wayne's Resource Holiday Plan the 'Unavailability' item is missing, for the period when he didn't work in our company. It is optional to add this item as it already exists in the Resource Workload Plan and BigPicture will easily calculate the capacity based on all Wayne's working days.

Migration of Existing Data in the Resource Workload & Holiday Plans

Concepts of Workload and Holiday Plans were implemented in BigPicture with version: 6.8.0. What about data of clients who used earlier version of our plugin? How will these plans be migrated? 

In previous versions of our plugin assigning Workload and Holiday Plans did not record the Start and End Dates. While migrating to new model of Items (which have only open End Date) we've had to set a 'default' Start Date of migrated items. We've decided it to be the 1st of January 2001. We think it is distant enough not to interfere with current projects. 

Below we can see data of yet another example employee - Gwynn Morriss after migration to Resource Workload and Holiday Plans. In this example Gwynn was previously assigned to Plan: "Full-Time Workload Plan" and "RSA Holiday Plan".

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