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resource allocation

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  1.  
    • Michael
    • Dec 4th 2006 edited @ 04/04/2016 12:42 pm
     
    UPDATE:

    Intervals now includes a resource allocation report. For more details on this feature, please see the following post:
    Intervals project management software resource allocation report

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    We recently received the following Feature Request:
    "I am just fiddling around with Intervals for my first time today. So perhaps this feature exists and I just haven't found it yet. I am curious if there is a way to predict workload. It appears that you can track what's already happened, but can you predict someone's workload for the next few months? For example, I have an employee who only works 21 hours a week. I want to be able to predict out whether if I assign her say these four tasks, I will have gone over her 21 hour a week limit. If this already exists, just let me know. Otherwise it would be mightly helpful."

    We are contemplating this feature and we'd love to get thoughts on what others would like to see.

    Other project management software often has very laborious and complicated ways of pulling off resource allocation. It can include any of the following:
    1. setting up a users maximum weekly hours
    2. "resource leveling" - the ability to shuffle due dates based on availability
    3. requesting time off
    4. not assigning tasks to someone if they are not available or overtaxed with hours

    We want to do it in a very simplistic way because this one feature can add a lot of complexity. In it's simplest form we may just add the "maximum weekly hours" to a user, then have a report where you can:

    - select the user
    - start & end date
    - see how much work they are currently assigned

    Thoughts?
  1.  

    This topic hasn't received much attention in awhile, but today we received another request:


    I really like what you guys have going here. The one thing that is missing for me is some sort of resource allocation ability. I can not find a way to say - I have so much resource available from these people at these times and this resource has been allocated to these tasks. I have resource left over or maybe I don't. But, I don't see how to allocate resources?
  2.  
    I'd say set up a Maximum weekly hours. But don't make it a required field. Sometimes I don't even use that kind of management.
  3.  

    Firstly, what a great system. You guys have done an awesome job. from the point a task has begun it's got everything I need but the planning before (at a resource level) seems to be lacking. two of the most important questions I need to answer from a planning perspective are...

    1.) When can I start the next job? Clients are for ever asking me when we can start on their job and unless I can get a report on a certain resource's allocation it's just a guess.

    2.) Is a resource over allocated? Although they're the best person for the task, should I rather reallocate the task to someone else. Without knowing their estimated time allocation I wouldn't be alerted to make this decision before it was too late.

    A simple way I've seen this done is by having a workload report. It would look almost identical to the Timesheet table (.../time/) with columns for dates and rows for tasks but the tasks will show estimated hours not time entered.

    I'm dying to implement your system with all our projects but without the ability to plan at a resource level I don't think it's going to deliver what I need. please let me know what the chances are of getting something like this and the time-frame that may be involved.

  4.  
    This is something I know we would love to have. We have one person in charge of scheduling for all the people in our creative department, and if he could see a projection of work hours, his life would be a lot easier. I believe the primary feature we'd like is to be able to see how many hours worth of tasks have been assigned to each of our artists for the upcoming day/week/month. I'll send him over to look at this thread so he can add any additional thoughts. Thanks for considering this!
    • qrund
    • Dec 10th 2008 edited @ 12/10/2008 2:52 pm
     
    I too would like to see the ability to see the estimated work load by resource. I think that one step in the right direction would be to simply add a time filter to the task list. Since the task list already tallies the total estimated hours for the tasks and filters exist for people, I could filter the task list to just show tasks due this week or month. This would give me a rough indication of the workload for the week. Adding the filter for an person would show me their rough workload for the time period. It would not solve all resource allocation issues, but it seems a step in the right direction.
  5.  
    Allocating new work according to workload is essential, especially when more than 4 or 5 resources are to be managed effectively. This need not be very complicated - A report or graph showing the estimated time for tasks open and scheduled to start in the time-frame set {(from (date) to (date)} per resource would be a great start. I know you are already working through the hols, so wishing you strength and inspiration to make our lives easier.
  6.  

    We defintely would benefit hugely from being able to know when resources are available vs not (possibly in a calendar format) so that we can schedule them for a task. It would also be nice to know if you double/over booked a resource, some notification that this is an issue would greatly help!

    I like the idea of setting up max hours per week per resource as a optional field. Also the workload report would be a good way to look at who is working when, however I would not forgo on having calendar view also.

  7.  

    I'll add my comments (I've already put in a feature request.

    As I begin to work with a number of people, having a way to track available hours would be really great. Perhaps allow for folks to map out the hours of availability in given weeks, and then reporting both on future hours available, as well as reporting previous hours available vs. used, and comparisons with estimates for projects and tasks, etc.

  8.  

    No movement on this I see.

    I really just need to view a calendar showing what it shows now, only by resource.

  9.  

    Hi I've just posted to
    https://www.myintervals.com/forum/discussion/568/forward-planning-and-development-scheduling
    (hope that link will work!!)
    Maybe if MyIntervals can not produce some nice feature to do this on screen, some guidelines or data report so that we can do this manually with Access or Excel. If we developed something we would be happy to share with the community.

    Regards from London...Rob

  10.  

    Hello, the company I work is new to Intervals and we would really love to see a report on work-load resource forecasting. The current reports do not give us the forecast, it just shows us what time has been submitted.

    I love your idea of having a simple tool that shows "resource leveling" - the ability to shuffle due dates based on availability. Someone else recommended the simple way of having a workload report. It would look almost identical to the Timesheet table (.../time/) with columns for dates and rows for tasks but the tasks will show estimated hours not time entered.

    My company currently has me searching for another project management system that has a tool like this. I really don't want to go away from using Intervals, however this tool might be the deal breaker for our company's management.

    Thank you!

  11.  

    I agree with the need for this and that is doesn't have to be complicated to start. It seems that the beta "periscope' report could be one place to start, with being able to see # of hours a resource is allocated for by week. I wouldn't want to set a max hours without being able to see what they are on. I'd prefer to leave the ability to overload them, but the insight to be able to fix that.

    I can't stress enough the importance of raising this feature up on your priority list!

  12.  

    I see that I am not the only one who has found INTERVALS to be soooo user friendly and fantastic at meeting basic project management and team coordination needs that we are willing to deal with the pain involved in some lacking features while we hope they show up down the road!

    After 2 months of testing with our mid-management team- we started full implementation May 1. I am THRILLED to say that even our most change resistant team members have come on board already and we are 100% converted at this point! (In only 2.5 months!!! unbelievable!! and best yet---- EVERYONE LIKES IT and sees benefits!!!!)

    Now- I must agree that I and one other guy here would GREATLY agree that RESOURCE schedule reporting would be greatly appreciated. We thought the PERISCOPE report was going to help us with that- but haven't figured out how to make it really helpful yet. It seems to look at project start date and end date and the total estimated hours and tell us what % complete we are. Generally useful on clear fixed scope type projects-but not so much for the 90% of our projects that continually unfold from one phase to the next. If it showed HOURS assigned for each week and could be filtered by Resource that would truely be awesome!!

    Another thought would be using the SUMMARY REPORT - but with the option of looking at ESTIMATED HOURS in future time periods! CAUTION - ESTIMATED HOURS for these reports need to come from TASK estimated hours- NOT from Work Type estimated hours (where all the reports currently gather their data from)..

    Hope you get this one figured out- in the mean time....what I do is use the MY TASKS report and filter by each employee, then export to Excel and sort and tally by time periods to see what people are assigned to....cumbersome, but...gets me there- thankfully we don't have THAT many employees and I don't do this every week!! Keep up the GREAT work!!

  13.  

    For our company this is also the key feature that is missing from Intervals - we use it primarily as a task management tool for web development and not being able to have a quick view showing what people are supposed to be working on, if they have capacity and an overview of project timescales makes life more difficult than it should be ...but then no other web based software at this price point seems to offer this functionality either.

    For me, the key place to show this would be on the Home/Calendar. Probably the easiest implementation I can think of is to show a task's entire duration in this view, even if it was replicated on each relevant date rather than stretched across a range of dates (as you'd see in iCal for example). the forward chevrons could be kept but either colour coded to denote 'start date' & 'continues' (or changed so only one was shown to represent a task being 'in progress')

    For forward planning, it would be pretty easy to work out if someone was overbooked by looking at the estimates in the detailed view (if you didn't have *too* many tasks in one day) - or maybe some kind of 'utilisation by resource' view could be implemented showing 'name = x/x hours' estimated on each day?

    It would also be great to see projects displayed using a more complete view, so a quick overview of what is on across a whole company can be seen - despite having a small team, we often have a large number of projects on the go at the same time, run by many different people and having a one stop place to see this in the Calendar view would be an great benefit.

    *edit*

    Ah, just saw this...

    https://www.myintervals.com/forum/discussion/364/have-actual-start-and-end-times-for-tasks-and-draw-time-line-on-the-calendar/#Item_4

    ... I should probably check this forum more often. I even posted on that message.

    No Gannt style view

    :(

    Will have to keep on checking. There's a massive gap in the market for an online resource management/workflow tool at a reasonable price point.

  14.  

    I agree that this functionality would be a really great addition to Intervals. For our company (IT consultancy) the most efficient way of doing this would be as follows:

    - Set up future, inactive projects
    - Add worktypes and time against them but do not create tasks yet
    - Within intervals have a report which shows total unallocated worktype time by worktype. This would allow me see what the demands are likely to be.
    - You would then want to be able to profile your users as being capable of delivering certain worktypes (effectively creating resource types) and have a maximum amount of time per worktype per user per week.
    - You would then want to be able to compare your unnallocated worktype time against capacity (i.e. total users x (availability-allocated time))
    - The shuffling and the viewing on a calendar would be nice in the future but these raw figures would at least allow you to know whether you had enough (or too many) bodies to service the upcoming workload.

  15.  

    OK I am very new to intervals too, so forgive me if I'm missing a trick. I think I also want to forecast in the same way as others have mentioned above. I want to be able to look at a given time period (this week, next week, next month, next October, whatever), and see a list of my tasks relevant to that month, with the time allocated to them and the time actually spent so far (if any).

    It seems to me that a simple way of acheiving this would be to be able to filter the list of tasks allocated to me, by date? Could this be done?

  16.  

    From the description of your need mentioned above:

    I want to be able to look at a given time period (this week, next week, next month, next October, whatever), and see a list of my tasks relevant to that month, with the time allocated to them and the time actually spent so far (if any).
    the home page, project activity report or periscope report might be options. For the home page you can run a filter by week, month or a custom date range for certain projects, assignees, etc. and each task will be displayed on its due date with the estimated and actual time tracked so far. It will be in calendar view as opposed to a report though. For the project activity report if "by task" is selected in the "summary only" drop down menu the top half of the report shows total time tracked for the date range selected but the bottom half of the report shows each task and the total estimated time for the task and the actual time tracked for the date range selected. The periscope report is very similar to a Gantt chart in display and will show each task and how many hours have been tracked in a "dipstick" like view. When running it please be sure to click on "show tasks" and "show milestones" in the left hand column.
  17.  
    We really need something like this. We work on small projects for multiple clients, and many of our resources only have partial availability (20 hours/week). We need the ability to see how much time is allocated/available for each resource so we can assign tasks and plan timelines for new projects. Intervals has worked great for us so far, but we need it to be able to handle the next step in our business development, which is the ability to plan workloads due to growth.
  18.  

    Yes, this is probably the only KEY thing missing from Intervals... A way to look at estimated hours for upcoming months (by project and by person would both be useful) to see where resources have estimated their time will go. This simple report would allow managers to get basic but important insight, useful for making project staffing (and even hiring/firing) decisions.

    It seems like the framework is all ready for something like this, it just isn't being allowed for some reason. Can we get this added soon? Or maybe an estimate on when it might be added?

  19.  

    Michael, this is the one thing I emailed you about recently too... I have to say, after investigating about 50 (yes fifty) different tools and add-ons with other systems, I come back to Intervals and it's the most comprehensive yet easy to use solution for a team.

    The big issue is traffic management.

    Think of the workflow:

    Project comes in from the sales guys, the producer (who coordinates who does what in the team) then puts the hours of the estimate in to the project, a few tasks (design, development, testing) also the start and end date of the tasks. At that point she would have allocated the resource to the tasks too.

    All seems fine, but then the producer will want to make sure she has not 'over allocated' resource. Or, artwork from the client comes in a day late - need to move a task ahead by a day, but not create a train wreck for the other projects that designer may be assigned to as well.

    How does she juggle the design resource she has? look at the calendar view on their home screen and see all the tasks... right now, it's a bit of a mess. She cannot see 'continuity' of tasks (tasks that span days) or who is assigned to any of these tasks without clicking on each one. Even if she does now move tasks around, it's hard to tell if the resource is free because you only see start and end per day.

    Take a look at some examples that do get there on resource planning (but kinda suck at everything else):

    1. Basecamp - wayyy too simple for managing anything serious, missing so much that Intervals has, but the calendar can show you - as ugly as it may be - who is working on what for any given day.

    2. https://plannerhq.com/ planner HQ is KILLER for resource allocation, it's like a dream, only it does NOTHING else. Which kinda sucks. But this one runs all of your resource in a grid by day. Which is novel.

    3. Wrike - its Gantt charts are exceptional, it's 'possible' to figure out what resources are doing on any given day - but then it also is so loose that you need to train people on what folders do what so that they don't screw up the universe by dragging and dropping a task to the wrong place. (seriously)

    4. Copper Project - actually, this app gets pretty close, but resource allocation still can only happen from the task level so the user experience of managing resources is just way tooo fiddly. But - it does have a visual grid of all the resources by day which is great for a producer.


    SO - what would the path of least resistance be to make Intervals handle resource allocation like this?

    The calendar HOME screen for sure, since it already does it in a sense.

    It would make sense to add more structure to it however - rather than these draggable bunch of start and end markers, make it a grid model that lets you drag tasks along it - horizontal axis should be time which can zoom in and out, and scroll across in some way (pagination or fancy-pants ajax updating scroll) and vertical should be in the format of what you want to see: By Project, By Person, By Client(?), By Milestone(?)

    Tasks should visually span days so users know when they start and stop, who is doing them and how long they are allocated to it without 'hovering' or clicking on anything.

    Tasks should be able to be dragged horizontally to adjust start date and end date SIMULTANEOUSLY and also have anchors on either edge to 'pull' start or end date

    Clicking on a task to edit makes sense in this view, right click to do the usual task shortcuts of changing assignee etc would be even better.

    So, hopefully this is more helpful than my last email...let me know if it is, and if you would consider anything like that.

    Regards
    Joe

  20.  

    This is definately the same type of thing I've been wanting for years - the time line on this discussion - 2008 to 2011 - fallen off the radar - this is a very important feature - what does the brand new calendar integration give us? Anything like this there?
    Craig

  21.  
    We would also welcome a resourcing feature. The only way to know how busy people are is to look at how many tasks are assigned to them - but there's not really a good way to do this. And entering projects into the future without assigning tasks to people doesn't quite do the job -- there would need to be a new type of project -- billable, unbillable, projected (or budgeted or something that makes sense) - and any tasks assigned to someone in a projected project would show up as 'tentative' or something -- then you'd have a way to look at forward resourcing. Of course you'd have to either include another level of 'what to include' in the current suite of reports, or develop reports specifically for resourcing.
  22.  

    We use Intervals for a couple of years now and this is the feature we definitely miss.

    It will be nice to:
    - set up a user maximum weekly hours for each resource
    - check the workload for each resource in order to not assign tasks to someone if they are overtaxed with hours
    - check the available hours, to be able to plan new projects and tasks

  23.  

    +1 here .... not sure if it's part of features for coming soon????
    -- if not, would be great to see it being added into the roadmap.

  24.  
    We too really need this feature. It seems to me that you have received a lot of feedback on your original request and that a lot of users are requesting this feature. So, what do we need to do to get it added to the product roadmap?
  25.  

    +1 I'd really like to see some sort of resource management implemented.

    Much as I am impressed with Intervals and the thought that has gone into it I feel this is an important area and it nearly led to me going with another product instead - except that everything I tried didn't quite fit my needs in other ways, leaving Intervals as the best overall balance.

    Mavenlink has an interesting approach to resource management that goes well with how they handle tasks and Gantt chart. You can easily combine automatic and manual allocation of hours across days and weeks and see resource availability. However, they currently don't have seemingly obvious elements in there like the ability to put in holidays or hours that people are actually available/unavailable. Also, not having worked with it in detail, I don't know if their implementation becomes onerous to manage on many tasks or not.

    I'm not experienced enough with these things to provide really good practical suggestions, but I'd certainly like to see some fluid way to answer simple questions like 'Can I take on this extra work at X point in time', 'How much additional resource will I need and when' and 'How can I replan this and be confident that it won't cause problems with other work'.

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