Resource planner

Introduction

The resource planner is part of TimeLogs resource management concept, which let you plan your most scarce resource – the employees, this without having to enter data more than once and be able to align the project budgets and deadlines with employee capacity, other projects planned, vacation and bank holidays – internationally.

You find the resource planner in the Project menu.

Description

The resource planner concept is pivoting around two central interfaces – the Employee view and the Project view. Staff your projects in the project view building the plan that executes the project in time and on budget.

Fine tune the overall workload on each employee, legal entity or department to available capacity, handle conflicts and immediately understand the impact on the project plans.

You can plan in days, weeks, months, quarters and see the workload in hours, man days and %.

Get started

To start using the resource planner, there are a few steps to go through

1. Activating the resource planner in your system

 

2. Initial import of employees

  • Entering the page will launch that the resource planner imports all active employees in TimeLog to the resource planner. It will take 5-7 seconds per employee so maybe time to grab a cup of coffee.
  • When completed, the wizard will ask you to Add projects to the resource planner. Follow the guide to the Projects -> Search Projects interface

 

3. Initial import of relevant projects

  • On projects, you would like to see in the Resource planner, check the checkbox to the right of the projects
  • Select Add to the resource planner from the dropdown menu above the table
  • Click OK (For easy overview in the resource planner, please add projects you want to plan only)
  • When completed, the wizard will ask you to import existing resource plans. If you do not use the old resource planner, you click Skip and go to resource planner. Otherwise, click Add resource plans

 

4. Initial import of existing resource plans

  • The resource planner will build a resource plan identical to the old resource planner
  • Both soft and hard bookings are added

 

5. You are ready to go

Please note that when if you have both resource plans turned on, you can still see and use both plans, but they are not kept in sync and will handle daily changes differently forward. Hopefully the new resource plan will be so appealing that you never return to the old one

 


 

Date span

The date span controls the period shown in the planner. You can either click the fixed date spans left to easily start planning and enter er custom range.

Since the resource planner supports planning in quarters, months, weeks or days, The start and end date selected controls which will be the first and the last period shown. If you are planning in a month view and enter the start date March 15th and the end date April 15th, then the resource planner will show the workload from March 1st to April 30th. If you then change the view to day view, the resource plan will show the workload on the exact days from March 15th to April 15th.

You cannot select a start date before today’s date since the resource planner only works with future planning.

 

View options

View options are located above the grid right. There are four options available to tune the view to your preference:

  • Grouping
  • Capacity
  • Planning detail
  • Units

Grouping

Grouping controls if the resource plan group by employee (the employee view) or by project (the project view). Both views preset a tree structure, in which you can drill down to an unlimited detail level.

Employee view

The employee view (default) is presenting the planned workload summarized in a tree structure like this

Employee (Heat map)

→ Project

→ Summary task

Task (The employee allocation level = the planning level)

The purpose of the view is to provide the overview of the employee’s workload and identify, if there are periods with too much or too little work assigned.

The totals located to the left of the grid are aggregated from the lowest level in the grid (task = allocation level). In this way, it is easy to explore how much allocated, planned, registered and unplanned work the employee has on lower levels.

 Employee view RP

Project view

The project view is presenting the planned workload per project with the project WBS (task) structure as the lower levels like this

→ Summary task

→ Task

→ Employee allocation (Heat map and planning level)

The purpose of the view is to provide an easy overview of when work is planned in the project and a fluent way to assign and plan employees on the tasks while keeping the overview of the employee's overall workload (in a heat map).

The totals located to the left of the grid are to be read row by row. The budget column is not aggregated from lover levels:

The project rows compare the overall project budget (maintained in the project), with the total planned, registered and unplanned work on the project. The task rows compare the task budget (maintained in the project), with the total planned, registered and unplanned work on the task and so forth.

 

Capacity

Capacity controls if the planning grid shows the utilization (planned hours) or the availability (remaining capacity for planning).

Utilization

  • In the utilization view, the grid shows the planned work. The heat map goes from dark blue (low utilization) to deep red (high utilization). If the heat map shows light/white background, then the employee has a balanced workload.

Availability

  • In availability view, the grid shows the available capacity for planning - the opposite of the utilization. It is calculated as Total capacity minus Total planned hours. Total capacity is calculated as Employee’s norm hours minus Bank holidays minus Planned absence (vacation etc.).

The heat map goes from deep green (high availability) to deep red (low availability). If the heat map shows light/white background, then the employee has a balanced workload.

 

Planning detail

Planning detail controls the granularity of the planning. Options are day, week, month, and quarter. No matter if the planning detail is set to day, week, month or quarter, the workload planned is always saved per day.

If you are in week view and enter 25 hours planned work on an employee, it will automatically be saved as 5 hours per day in the week. If the employee has planned vacation on the Wednesday, the 25 hours will be saved as 6,25 hours on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

If you type in workload on a period, where there is already planned work, the existing work will be deleted and the work entered will be distributed instead.

The distribution algorithm used in week, month and quarter mode distributes any differences in decimals to the last day of the distribution period and rounds to 2 decimal numbers.

Example: It’s Wednesday. You book 5 hours on the current week. When you switch to the day view you will see an hour distribution of:

  • Wednesday: 1.67
  • Thursday: 1.67
  • Friday: 1.66

 

Units

Units control if the resource plan presents in hours, man days (hours / 8) or % workload (hours / total capacity). Planning in % workload is the fastest way to build a balanced plan. When done you can switch to hours or man days to see the absolute work planned.

Filters

You use the filter to limit the view in the resource planner.

  1. Click Filter
  2. Click Add filter
  3. Make your selection

The view is updated when you close the filter or click outside the expanded filter section. If you want to start over, click Clear filter.

All filters support that you can search for and select more options in the drop downs (multi-select). In addition, you can decide if you want to filter on the options matching the selections (IS) or if it should be matching all other options than the selection (IS NOT).

Note: If you filter on projects, the employee view will still show all employees, but only the workload from projects included in the filter and vice versa.

 


 

 

Key figures

When using the project budgets as the reference for your resource planning, then four key figures are valuable to utilize:

  • Budget: The number of hours / man days entered and maintained in each project on project and / or task level. Note: An exception is in the project view, where on employee level, the budget is the allocated hours on the task.
  • Allocated: The number of hours / man days entered on the allocation level in the projects.
  • Planned: The number of hours / man days planned in the resource planner (can be outsite the time period shown).
  • Reg.: The number of hours registered in the time sheet on the projects, task and allocations.
  • Unplanned: Unplanned is calculated from the above figures as Budget (or allocated) minus Planned minus registered hours / man days

 

Other grid data

Status

The column status shows the status of the project, task and / or allocation. You can use the status information i.e., to understand if a project is in quotation or in-progress (committed by the customer).

Job title

If you have entered a job title on the employees in the employee master data, then the job title will show underneath each employee in the employee and project views.

Note: You can use the job title to describe an employee’s key competence and in this way make it searchable, when assigning employees to tasks.

Start and end date

The start and end dates are entered and maintained in each project on project or task level. The dates are used to see the project time plans while planning the employees.

Note: Allocation start and end dates on projects are not supported in the resource planner.

Capacity and absence

If an employee has no capacity (due to part-time work, bank holidays, or vacation), in a period (a day, week, month, or quarter), then the period will appear grey in the heat map. You can still plan on periods having no capacity, but no heat map can be presented.

The employee capacity is only projected 18 months into the future from today's date. If you plan further into the future than 18 months, then the resource planner heat map will appear grey until the period is within 18 months from today’s date.

 

Distribution of unplanned hours (Employee view)

From the menu on the cells in the unplanned hours column, you can plan remaining work with the function Distribute unplanned hours.

From an employee row

When distributing from an employee row, the hours will be distributed within the remaining time plan on the different tasks. If there is 0 or negative unplanned work on a task or if the tasks time plan has already ended, then no unplanned work will be distributed.

From a project or task row

When distributing from a project or task row, you have two options when distributing:

  • Distribute evenly between the tasks start and end date - Works in the same way as described above under employee row planning.
  • Distribute between DATE 1 and DATE 2

The unplanned work will be distributed between the two dates selected. If done from project or summary task level, all work on the sub-tasks will be distributed within the period selected without using the task's start and end dates.

 

Assign and unassign employees to tasks

There are two ways to assign and unassign employees to tasks in the resource planner:

From the project module (projects added to the resource planner)

If you allocate employees to a task, then the employee is automatically assigned to the tasks in the resource planner as well.

If you delete an employee allocation, the employee assignment in the resource planner is also removed.

With the assigned function in the resource planner

If you assign an employee to a task (clicking the assign icon on employees), the employee is also allocated to the project - with 0 hours allocated budget.

If you unassign an employee (clicking the unassign icon on employees), the assignment is removed in the resource planner but not in the project.

 

Help us make it better

We continuously work to provide you with the best possible features to support your business processes.

Feel free to add your feedback on the resource planner in the feedback box below. You can add everything you like, and we're especially interested to learn what you miss and if you can solve your processes with what you have today.

Special remarks

Find more information on how the resource planner works in our FAQ here

Last updated 23 Jan 2023