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I am looking for a good way to aid a service team head in assigning incoming tasks to his people. Tasks are scheduled for a certain week, not for exact days. Team members can take roughly 3-10 of this kind of tasks a week, and the tasks can vary in the effort they take.

The view should display the "workload" of all team members for one or multiple weeks, such that the team head can spot out the person with the least work load for that week and assign the task to that person.

However, it is overkill to define a capacity for each resource and week, and an effort measure for each task. The view should display the workload of each member in a way that does not suggest any "percentage" of "capacity", but you can quickly see how many tasks the member has already taken, and it should be very easy to get details about the tasks.

Do you have any idea or great examples for a chart/view that supports these requirements?


Clarification: There is no exact start/end date for tasks. Instead, a week is like a "pot", and roughly 3-10 tasks can go in that pot. It is irrelevant whether these tasks are carried out in parallel or one after the other.


We first considered something like the Outlook Scheduling Assistant which displays each resource in a row and the time in the x axis. Blue and white regions denote free/busy times. But this kind of view fails because "busy" means "100% workload", and because this free/busy information is bound to exact times of day.

I read up a bit on MS Project resource usage views but they include a percentage of "busy-ness" of a resource based on capacity and task effort numbers.

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2 Answers 2

Have you seen or tried using a KanBan board?

Task Kanban Board @ InfoQ

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Not sure how to apply any of those to the situation I described above. Can you expand a little on that? Thanks, –  chiccodoro Mar 15 '11 at 12:45

Please clarify: Team members handle multiple assignments in parallel?

Just a first idea: An "Week Overview" that scales well in size, so it can be used as a single-week view and as an overview of a quarter /many weeks.

really, first idea

  • Header shows week number, date range of that week, and indicates holidays in that week.
    • Mouse over "Holidays" will show which days
    • option: Just Show "Holidays: Mon Tue" There's probably enough room for that...
  • Bar on the right shows overview for all workers, even if there's not enough room in the list.
    • More assignments = bigger bar.
    • Position per person is fixed, can be color coded.
    • Mouse over bar gives worker details for that week
    • make bars slimmer if there's not enough room for all workers
    • option: maybe it's better to rotate the bars 90° and move them to the bottom, so there's no mixup between list rows and bar rows
  • List shows most important worker details
    • worker, number of assignments that week,
    • if there is horizontal room - some selected details for the assignments
    • Sort (or allow to sort) ascending, so "most available" worker is first
    • double-clicking or a "+" per worker would show full details

If assignments come in different workloads, use weighted sum (e.g. estimated work hours) instead of just the number.

You may need to make accomodations for expected time off, e.g. mark that in the bar with a different color, and somehow in the list, too.

Of course you can make more room for the stats, and less for the users.


Splitting the views

For a "week detail" view, it is probably good to line up bars with workers, and allow different sort criteria. A "many weeks overview" may omit the list and just show the bars (with names if enough room)


Progress in the current week

For Progress within the current week, some modifications are necessary:

  • a percentage bar total assignments completed / total assigments, with a "progress of this week" marker, so you quickly see if you are over/undershooting
  • The "Bar View" might need to be adjusted to this:

progress

Line them up at the "part done" point: looking up and down, you see hwo remaining work is distributed over workers, looking left and right you see the progress of each worker.


Is this anywhere near what you are looking for?

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Hi peterchen, thanx for the proposal. Yes, indeed, members take multiple tasks in "parallel" (which means, multiple tasks go into the same "pot" of time, e.g. the same week). We want, however, to avoid any quantification of the effort of a task, as well as any "amount completed" measure. So the first part of your proposal hits the mark. –  chiccodoro Mar 9 '11 at 7:57

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