BASIC CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS
MAIN WINDOW OF Visual Planning
QUICK ACCESS BAR
The Quick Access Bar is located at the top right of the screen.
It provides access to various common functions of appearance and operation.
Oriented horizontally, it breaks down into submenus containing blocks.
The visibility of the blocks depends on the previously selected element and the user’s rights. These blocks disappear or are grayed out when the user does not have the right to use them. The elements of the blocks are grayed out when they do not correspond to the current use.
The windows that can be moved or handled in the planning are as follows:
- The configurable views allowing to visualize the resources and the events in several forms,
- The General Parameters management window.
The layout of these windows is highly configurable (see Layout of views).
Other windows exist in the tool but are only visible on user action:
- Information, warning and constraint messages,
- The event, resource and link properties windows,
Located in the lower part of the window, this bar indicates:
- the name of the selected view as well as the filters applied to the view,
- the name of the favorite display launched,
- the name of the user group (s),
- the number of users connected to the schedule as well as their logins,
- the current date and time,
- the zoom of the views.
By positioning the mouse over the group icon, a tooltip appears containing the name of the group or groups to which the user belongs on the schedule.
An orange padlock shows the group permissions being applied.
By positioning the mouse over the users icon, a tooltip containing the list of connected users appears.
A more precise list of users connected to the schedule is accessible by double-clicking on the icon of connected users.
This window contains the list of all connected users and their characteristics.
In this window it is possible to send an email or create a VPWhatsUp discussion directly with a user from the list.
Dependent on the configuration applied, these may be personnel, equipment, clients, worksites, projects, rooms, etc.
These resources are sub-divided into columns, which we call headings in Visual Planning.
These headings are defined during the initial configuration, and provide information on each resource.
For personnel, you can configure one heading for the name, another for the role, department, telephone number, employee number, etc.
For equipment, depending on requirements, you can create headings for the ID, weight, capacity, localization, etc.
The easiest way to display this is horizontally, using the Schedule view.
In the Schedule View, to the right of the resources is the corresponding schedule.
The events are shown on the grille, by icons and/or horizontal, colored bars.
Columns are representative of time intervals.
The user can select the most appropriate time scale: one column per hour, or per day, week, etc.
Certain dates will appear greyed out on the schedule, these are non-working periods, defined using configurable calendars.
Multiple calendars may be defined:
- daily calendars indicating non-working days (weekends and possible holidays);
- hourly calendars indicating time periods not worked (in 5 minute slices).
Rectangles are used to represent the scheduled events.
Events are the central entities of VISUAL PLANNING: the majority of information available from the schedule is related to events.
Each event can be displayed on the schedule using a colored bar with a duration. The display may potentially include one or more icons.
The icons and colors are related to the event resources.
Each event has a number of properties, visible on the schedule:
- the resource onto which it is positioned, dependent on the view,
- its start and end dates,
- the icon representing one or more of its related resources,
- the color representing one or more of its related resources.
Apart from these characteristics, an event may contain a number of additional properties, which can be defined as needed:
By double-clicking on an event in the schedule, you can create a linked note, in free-text format (a type of “post-it”).
If necessary, you can also define forms and link them to events.
A form is a set of fields, predefined during configuration, whose contents are entered for each event concerned.
If required, it is possible to define valuation lines (for example: cost, labor charges, etc.).
Each valuation line can be completed, within the event, in order to provide a cumulative total and provide quantitative analyses of the work: total labor charges, costs, receipts, etc.
The valuation lines are defined during the configuration phase and are pre-completed in terms of the creative rules, before being completed from within the events.
Quantitative analyses are detailed in the control functions: totals for control, load plans, events reports.
The following functions can assist the user during the scheduling process and provide analyses of the consequences.
They help with:
- choosing useful data (filters),
- analyzing and providing quantitative controls of the consequences of the schedule (total controls, load, events reports),
- creating warning or blocking operations at risk, or forbidden (constraints, links between events, workflows).
Selection filters and named filters can be used to restrict the display, on a schedule, to the data corresponding to criteria laid down by the user. They provide an aid in searching for available and suitable resources.
They can also be used to assure each user only sees the data that directly concerns him or herself, which gives a clearer view of their schedule.
The control totals can also be configured and show indicators for each resource.
It is possible to calculate a load and capacity from the scheduling view. These calculations can vary over time, and in accordance with the defined resource.
Cross-referenced tables can be produced, displayed, printed or exported, based upon the scheduling data.
These highly flexible tables provide a global or detailed analysis of time spent or valuations, depending on the criteria you choose.
Configurable constraints may be applied to prevent the simultaneous use of certain resource or to limit use (maximum utilization quotas).
Constraints may be used to prevent unauthorized personnel using inappropriate resources. Constrains may be configured as blocking, or simply trigger warning messages.
Link between events
Sometimes, colored arrows link two events together. These links are created using the mouse, and are used to display and manipulate chained events.
These links, between events, can be used to move a cascade of interlinked events together, or, if necessary, to prevent certain movements which could impact on the coherence of the schedule as a whole.
When a change of state is to be checked, for the respect of a particular process, it is possible to set up workflows to verify these changes in state.
This provides the ability to assure respect for a specific workflow, without necessarily having to configure a set of rights and permissions.