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Tutorials and tips

BigPicture allows us to assign multiple Workload Plans, Holiday Plans and Skills 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), the day when they join or leave the company or whenever they are to obtain a new skill that can be actively used. Thanks to this feature planning a workload become more handy and precise.

The Resource Manager can be accessed by selecting Administration in the BigPicture dropdown menu and then the first tab - Resource Manager (on the left hand side).


Resource List View

The 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 organization and their current Workload Plans, Holiday PlansandSkills - if their periods match today's date.

Adding a new Resource

It also allows us to add new Resources (from the list of JIRA users) in a very convenient way. When adding Resources, we can assign Workload Plans, Holiday Plans and Skills to them right away.
New Resources are being added to the list automatically at the bottom of the Resource View or placed in the right place in alphabetical order once you reload the page.


When you select Plan or Skill, it's start date is set to  by default. You can edit this dates to reflect reality - see paragraphs below.

Single Resource's Detailed View

From the Resource List Viewit 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 the employees:

As we can see, the view is divided into three sections:

  • Skills
  • Workload Plans
  • Holiday Plans

We'll take a quick look into them.

Skills section

Since BigPicture 6.14.0 we've changed the way Skills feature works and brought it much closer to reality.

You can now consider Skills as each Individual'satributes, defined in Resource's Detailed View, not Team view.


In that section, there is displayed a full list of skills that have been assigned to an Individual. If you want to add another skill, start typing its name or use a dropdown list:

You are not allowed to assign one skill many times to a particular resource. System is blocking such an action.

Once the skill is added, it needs a corresponding period that tells you when it was acquired and when it was lost. By assigning new skill to a resource, we assume that:

  • start date of every new skill is today (of course you can plan ahead, i.e. Jan will become a Certified Java Developer in September, so this Skill can't be actively used until then)
  • end date is infinite because people rather acquire skills than lose them (of course Jan may no longer want to be a Tester once he becomes a Cert. Java Dev.)

We planned Jan to obtain Java Developer skill on September 1st and there's no indication this skill will end anytime soon (but we can edit the end date later if needed):

And now we'll plan Tester skill to end the day before Jan starts working as Java Dev., by clicking Edit next to that skill and clicking Update afterward:

Workload Plans Section

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

Let's take a look at the only item in Jan's plan and analyse:

It holds the following information: 

  • Jan is assigned to "Full-time Workload Plan", which means he works as a full-timer in our company. 
  • Thanks to Start Date column, we know that Jan has been working in this manner since the 1st of January 2001.
  • Thanks to the infinity symbol in the End Date column, we know that Jan does not plan to leave our company and is employed as a full-timer on a permanent employment contract.
  • Efficiency - this feature allows you to multiply Resource capacity. Some companies use one Jira user to represent each of their sub-contractors. Or they have machines that work more efficiently. Therefore they needed to multiply work capacity. We know Jan is an Individual, so his efficiency is 1. If Jan was a machine working 24/7 (or a 3 people sub-contractor company), we can easily reflect that by putting 3 in theEffciencyfield.

Adding a new Item

Let's assume now that at the beginning of 2019 Jan will switch to the Monday-Wednesday contract.
How can we add this information to our BigPicture? By adding a new position (item) to Jan's Workload Plan.

  1. Click on the empty space to select Workload Plan you want to add.
  2. Determine the Start Date for that Plan.
  3. Press the "Assign" button.
  4. See how previous Plan's End date is adjusted accordingly.

What changes can we distinct in Jan'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 2018.


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 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 you 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 and deleting a Workload Plan

Besides adding, we can obviously modify or delete any existing item. We can editWorkloadPlan and Start Date in every item. While editing Start Date, End Dates of all contiguous items will be automatically recalculated by the BigPicture.


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 thesecasesBigPicture will assign these Resources to a Default Workload Plan with Start Date remaining unchanged.

Adding an Item with defined End Date e.g. Unavailability, Personal holiday, Vacation

The fact that all items have an open End Date makes it very easy to control our Resource Workload Plan.
But how can we represent that one of our Individuals 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 Jan leaves for a 2-month journey around the World starting on November 1st 2018? 

We can achieve it by adding a special item called: Unavailability as a Workload Plan and setting Start Date for the first day of unavailability. Notice how End Date was applied automatically because the Monday-Wednesday Workload Plan is still planned from Jan1st2019.

Let's now assume Jan liked the World so much, that he decided not to come back. We can plan it forward by deleting his Mon-Wed Plan and see the Unavailability being automatically set to indefinite.

Summary

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

All items in our Plan starts 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. 

Holiday Plans Section

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

Let's assume Jan returned from his trip around the World and we need him to move from our Polish branch to American. So different holidays need to be reflected with Jan's Holiday Plan.
You can do it exactly as in Workload Plan section, click on the empty space and start typing or use dropdown list and assign a Start Date. Again, the previous Plan's End Date is adjusted automatically.


What might have caught your attention is the fact that in Jan'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 of Jan's working days.

Skills (Administration)

You might have noticed, that each Individual can have skills defined as their attributes. Switch to the Skills tab in Administration where you maintain a list of skills available for your users. Tester, Project Manager and Developer were added by default for your comfort.

You can edit, delete or add new Skills directly from that screen:

For every skill you are allowed to define:

  • name
  • code (with colour)
  • description

Soon you'll be provided with a wide range of icons that you can add to skills to facilitate taking use of skills in the application.

 Please note, that skill icon inherits color from its code to provide you with consistent view of a skill within the whole application.

Workload plans (Administration)

This section of BigPicture Administration allows you to create, edit or delete Workload Plans you apply to your Resources. You can also synchronize your Plans with Plans from your Tempo plugins.

Adding a new Workload Plan

Click Add Plan and use the pop-up to enter name and code for that plan. You can also define the color of icon that will represent that plan across the whole plugin.

Details of the Workload Plan and managing them

Once your Plan is created with name and code, click Details to go into that Plan's details. Firstly, enter the number of hours per day on the appropriate days of week.
Our plan is Wednesdays only, so after entering 8 hours in the box on the top, this yellow marker will show up presenting the exact range of working hours on that day of week. Grab it on the top to drag&drop the entire 8 hours up or down, grab it on the bottom to extend the working hours. Click Save when finished.

Here's how a ready plan looks like.

Now you can apply this plan to your Resources in the already mentioned Resource Manager.

Holiday plans (Administration)

This section allows you to Create, Edit and Delete your Holiday plans to reflect all fixed and floating holidays in every county/branch across the World - for years ahead. It also allows you to synchronize your Holiday Plans with Plans from your Tempo plugins.

Adding a new Holiday Plan

As in the Workload Plans, click Add Plan to open a pop-up, where you define the name, code and color.

Details of the Holiday Plan and managing them

Once your Plan is created with name and code, click Details to go into year's calendar view. You can plan for years ahead using arrows in the top-right corner.

Click Edit to start putting your bank holidays in the right places. Notice Fixed mode/Floating mode button that appeared in the left-top corner of your calendar. Click that button to switch between the type of holidays you will be now entering. Each day you marked creates a box on the right where you can name that holiday.

Fixed holidays you enter for this year will be populated to following years, but floating will not. All added holidays will be listed on the right to help you manually populate the floating ones.

Click Save when finished to lock the calendar edits. If something's not perfect in any of already created Holiday Plans you can always use the above mentioned procedure to fix it.

BigPicture 6.8.0 and newer: Multiple Workload and Holiday Plans per Individual

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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