This is the second extension session for application iManagement. Most of the modifications that were made are related to Tasks objects and interacting with them.
The first modification is in the Create Task Dialog. When you create a task the application is reserving time for in the selected resource calendar. The algorithms used till now were not functioning well enough for all the needs in the company. Now you have 4 options when you need to schedule a task (Fig.1)
Now, a short presentation of each:
a. None – this option will create your task and it will not reserve any time in your resource calendar, although this task will appear in My Tasks displayer and you can add worked time to it.
b. Ignore Other Tasks – it’s the old behavior of the scheduler. The task will be scheduled beginning with Start Date and it will extend the End Date as necessary, ignoring any task reservations in that period. In other words if you have a week fully scheduled and you add another task with this option from the beginning of the week, this option will over allocate the task resource without any warning.
c. Manual Control – this option allows you to schedule a task as you desire. When you hit Accept on the form a popup requesting you to enter a Start Date/End Date will show. By default these will be the Start Date – End Date declared in the task, but you can extend this period if you are not sure you can schedule the entire task time between those dates. Continuing a new popup will show, allowing you to manipulate the resource time (fig.2) for the selected period. Unfortunately the interface of the page is not very friendly and it’s subject to change in the near future.
You can note that there are some project and task names and times on the screen. Some of them are bold and some are normal. The bolded text represents scheduled time that was already executed by the resource and the normal text is scheduled time. On this display can be also displayed tasks using strikeout text that represents tasks for the resource in projects that you have no control. The page offers you the possibility of 4 simple operations:
– Add – please select a Date cell and click Add button. A small popup will allow you to enter time (max. 1440 min – 24h) per day for the task you want to schedule. Then a new line will appear for the selected date containing the data you’ve just entered.
– Delete – please select a task line from the right column. Only scheduled time of a task can be selected for deletion (displayed in normal text). A popup will show and allow you to delete the whole entry for that day or only a part of it.
– Reschedule – please select a task line and a Date cell and click Reschedule button. A popup will allow you to move all or some of the task time in the selected date.
– Undo – will cancel the last operation you’ve made. Basically you can undo all the operation you’ve made since the popup opened.
In the lower part of the screen you can se how much time is estimated for the task and how much time you’ve scheduled. Accept will save your changes in the resource calendar.
d. Auto Schedule – this mechanism will make an evaluation of the resource calendar for the selected period and it will try to reserve time for your task. If the available time is not enough a popup will show how much time you still need. The available option you have at this point is extending the task interval or change to one of the others scheduling options.
The application already had a Resource Allocation page (Fig.3), but this needed extension, in order to be capable of displaying more than one resource in the same time. The feature is available at Project level in the Scheduler Plug-in Resources -> View Resource Allocation.
The page displays also an allocation average for all the selected resources. This will automatically exclude Saturdays, Sundays or other non-working days of some resource that can appear.
Some of the colleagues are using PBS or Product Breakdown Structure, This is accessible in the application at Project Level, through the ‘Products view’ entry in the Scheduler plug-in. This structure is closely related to the Plans view, the tasks structure of the project. Every product can be linked with a plan and correlate it’s Estimated and Effective duration with it. Calculating this values needs summing the values in the tree-like structure for tasks, combined with the list in the daily calendar of the resources. To avoid this kind of overhead at every task modification or every display of the products view, we’ve added a new Action in the Products view, called Refresh Products Duration. This will recalculate all the values for the products in the current Project. A report is also available for the PBS and it can be accessed from the Products View page, View menu. The report can be printed or exported to Excel CSV format.
A new functionality in the application is the Project Template Export-Import Mechanism. This allows you to export all the tasks and plans from a project and import them as a new project or as a part of another project. This is accessible through the ‘Project Template’ menu available in the ‘Plans View’ page. Export project is a simple functionality that will transform the project structure in an XML file and ask you to download it. The dates will be transformed to an integer number calculated with the formula (DATE -project start date) and the resources will be replaced with dummy names like Programmer 1, Programmer 2 and Tester 1 etc. The import functionality is a structured like Wizard with 3 steps:
STEP 1(fig.4) – configure the data import. Here you upload an XML project file containing a Project Template and choose if you want to import the tasks and tasks text description.
STEP 2(fig.5) – preview the data model. You can see here the whole structure of the data that must be imported.
STEP 3(fig.6) – current project context. This is the last step of the wizard. You must select a start date for the data structure you import and eventually map all the resources to real users in your current project. You can always leave the user mappings blank and the importer will create tasks in the ‘Unallocated’ state. Also you must select a Parent Plan where you will import the new data. This can be the Root Plan for a new project or an existent plan with no children for the existing projects.
The add-in with most visual impact in the application is the new project dashboard (Fig.7). This is the new default page at project level in the application. The content of this page can offer you a quick picture over the project status from individual and general perspective.
As you can see in the image above several web parts are available for this dashboard:
– Tasks By Priority – open tasks classified by priority
– Tasks By Assignment – open tasks classified by the assigned resource
– Tasks By Status – all the tasks classified by status
– My Current Tasks – a simple summary of the tasks that appear to you in My Tasks displayer
– Issues By Status – all the issues classified by their status
– Issues By Category – all the issues in the project classified by their category.
– Open Issues By Assignments – open issues classified by their responsible
– Open Issues By Version – open issues classified by the Version they are bound. The bound it’s not direct and it’s done through Test Session.
– Issues Custom Queries – the custom queries are an older functionality that allows the user to define his personalized query at project or general level. For example: all my issues that have the status new and are in the Category ‘Bug’ and have the Test Session TS1.
Finally, the last modification that this package added to the application is a new accessibility feature added to My Tasks pages. A Footer that contains daily sum of worked and estimated hours appears now on every screen (Fig.8).
Also I want to mention here an older functionality that exists from some time, but I’m not sure that many users know about it. The links that appear on the right of any My Tasks Display are functional and they are filtering your list based on the status of the task (delayed,closed,active etc)(fig. 9).
Attention! Some of the features presented here may be available only to some of the employees, for security reasons.
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