Cross-project, cross-program, or cross-product resource management are the top reasons to select BigPicture Enterprise or upgrade your regular BigPicture instance. But there are more resource-related features in BigPicture Enterprise other than the ‘Show overall assignment’ view. Let’s review how BigPicture Enterprise does the resource management job.
The presence of cross-project experts, such as engineers, testers, inspectors, consultants, managers, is one of the strong indicators you are better off with BigPicture Enterprise than BigPicture as far as resource management is concerned. Other pro-Enterprise indicators are:
Why do such setups call for BigPicture Enterprise rather than the regular BigPicture?
There is this somewhat hidden ‘Show overall assignment’ checkbox in BigPicture Enterprise that is grayed out in BigPicture. The checkbox turns on a cross-project resources view – so valuable when you have internal experts working on many projects at a time. And not just cross-project experts, but also cross-program, or cross-product specialists.
Why do we mix projects, programs, and products into resource management? BigPicture Enterprise has another advantage over BigPicture that complements the “Show overall assignment” view. To model your projects, programs, and products in BigPicture, you use Boxes. Boxes are universal, multifunctional, deeply customizable management spaces for tasks, deliverables, resources, risks, and… other Boxes. Box types are duplicatable prototypes of real-life Boxes. Here is the thing: BigPicture Enterprise boasts an infinite number of Box types, while the regular BigPicture has just three Box type slots. If you have experts assigned to many Boxes simultaneously, and you do resource management, then BigPicture Enterprise is definitely the right answer and not BigPicture. The Enterprise edition is just more suitable for a multi-methodology environment fueled by cross-initiative experts.
Figure 2. Enabling cross-Box view in BigPicture Enterprise
Thanks to the ‘Show overall assignment’ feature, the resource manager in charge, can spot how the Craftsman team is being overloaded during week 10 (red bar). Also note the ‘Individuals’, ‘Teams’, and ‘Skills’ buttons in the top-left corner; you can balance resources per individual, per team, or per skill.
Even if your organization’s rules state that an expert is to be assigned to one project at a time, but the preceding project catches a delay, and the following project begins, then the expert is temporarily on two projects, doesn’t he or she? The ‘Show overall assignment’ view applies.
Workload contouring allows you to specify how the effort of an assignee is distributed across a task period. The ‘Flat’, ‘Front-loaded’, and ‘Back-loaded’ modes are available both in BigPicture and BigPicture Enterprise, but the fourth one – ‘Manual’ mode – is unique to the Enterprise edition. Have a look at Figure 3.
Figure 3. Manual mode of workload contouring.
In BigPicture Enterprise you can manually distribute effort for a given task on a per-day basis.
Who might benefit from the manual workload contouring available in the Resources module of BigPicture Enterprise? Let’s have a closer look at two scenarios:
What-if scenarios are available in the regular BigPicture, but there is a ‘one private + one public scenario’ per Box limit. Only BigPicture Enterprise has an unlimited number of scenarios. How do the unlimited scenarios of BigPicture Enterprise relate to resource management?
Have a look at figure 4. The BU-8 Install insulation is depleting the capacity of Mike Edison (orange boxes with 6s). We’ve created the ‘Resources load’ scenario, with its name evident within the top menu. Once we reschedule the job beyond the 15-18 June period, to include Monday and Tuesday, 21-22 of June, the resources planning pane returns 4 hours per day and green bars, giving enough of a safety margin. Now you can commit the what-if scenario to BigPicture production timeline and Jira.
Figure 4. Testing workload distribution with what-if scenarios available in the Gantt module of BigPicture.
SoftwarePlant is working on scenarios for the Resources module. Today, the Gantt module with its bottom resources pane is where you can create, delete and commit scenarios to the production timeline. The Resources module mimics what the Gantt module is displaying, be it a test scenario or the production schedule.
A quick reminder, there are three approaches to resource management in BigPicture:
Red means overallocation of a resource, orange – 75% to 100% allocation, green – underallocation.
Here is a quick overview of features influencing resource management in BigPicture vs BigPicture Enterprise. We recommend the Enterprise edition when:
Table 1. An overview of resource management-related features in BigPicture vs BigPicture Enterprise
Author: Marcin Gebicz
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