Firstly, we would like to apologize that we weren’t there for you this morning (or during the weekend if you are one of those outstanding people that use resource planning tools during non-business days) when you first logged into Ganttic. We totally should have been there yelling surprise and throwing confetti around. But we weren’t. And we’re sorry. Secondly, yes, the planner looks quite a bit different. Actually, if you have been with us for some time, you already know we tend to be whimsical like that. Making changes. Thirdly, if you want to know what’s different and why it’s different, you have come to the right place.
Those three things being said, we would love to hear about your first reactions! Please leave your thoughts in the comment section. We would really appreciate it.
Part I, “Getting started”
In this chapter of the beginner’s guide, we are going to go through everything that’s new to the view settings. New things can be scary but you shouldn’t be afraid since there isn’t much that can go wrong with changing the view settings. The view settings can’t hurt you even if you decide to delete the view (all your data will still be there!). So you just gotta be brave and dive in head first. Your mom probably taught you not to do that if you don’t know what you are diving into but if there’s ever a time not to follow your mother’s advice, it’s now.
So, what’s different? Honestly, everything and at the same time almost nothing. All the tools that used to be there for creating views are still there. It just looks different and is a lot easier to use. We gave the view settings a cohesive look and feel. All of it looks the same way. All of it works the same way.
The View Settings
One of the new things is that if you click on ‘VIEW’, you’ll see all the options that are applied to it. You’ll see which color scheme is being used. If there’s a filter, you can see it there, etc. You can edit the name of the view and the accessibility there. You can save the changes you have made to the view after you are done editing the grouping, coloring, etc there. It’s basically a place where you can get a quick overview of the view that you have open. Oh boy, we are going to say the word “view” a lot in this article!
If you want to close the settings, click on the arrow next to ‘VIEW SETTINGS’ and it’ll take you back to the other options. That’s the way going back works throughout the menu. Easy-peasy, right?!
The Grouping Options
The next thing you can edit is the way your resources are grouped. There are two presets (i.e. no resource grouping and grouped by projects) and groups based on the Resource Data Fields. If you click on an option, the grouping will change, and the options menu will close. If you want to change the grouping again, just click on the icon.
The Sorting Order
Sorting is next on the list. The options are the same as they were before. If you click on a sorting option, it’ll apply. If you click on it again, the order will change (switching between ascending and descending).
The Coloring Options
Then comes coloring. Again, everything is as it used to be. You can change the color scheme by clicking on an option, and then clicking on ‘APPLY’. You can choose colors for the custom data fields.
The Filtering Options
Then, filtering. And yet again, everything is the same. Just looks better. Mark the checkbox if you want to the archived projects to be included.
The Custom Time Period
And last but not least, time period. We peeked at the statistics and found that there are four time periods you guys use the most. We created buttons for those four time periods for quick access. However, you can still create custom time periods as you did before.
The Single Project View
And of course, the changes are also apparent in the single project views.
Part II, “Using the New View Settings”
Now that you know how the views work, let’s get to using them. We a going to explore some of the ways you can use the view settings for resource planning. To start from the very beginning, a brief definition of views is needed.
When you first logged in to Ganttic, you landed in the middle of the general resource view. That’s the view where you can see all of your resources. There aren’t any filters or groupings. The time period isn’t custom. Nothing is modified. Everything at once. Since that might be a little too much to comprehend, you can edit the view and save the edited version as a new view.
As you can understand, views are like different snapshots of your resource plan, they can give you different perspectives. However, views can only do it if you set them up accordingly.
Let’s say you are a manager of the marketing department of your company. Since Ganttic is used in every department of the company, there are a lot of resources. It can be a bit tedious for you to find your team each time you need to book resources for a new project. Here’s where views come in.
1. Add Custom Data Fields
First things first, you have to set up custom data fields. Custom data fields can carry a lot of information and are essential for resource grouping, task and project coloring, etc. Since you are still imagining you are a manager of a marketing department, you need to set up a custom data field that would distinguish the department.
Actually, a custom data field called ‘Department’ is already in the initial resource planning template. It’s a list type of custom data field. Which means you can add values, edit them, and select the fitting value for each resource from the list.
You can edit or delete all the custom data fields (and any other information) that’s in the template. But for now, make sure there’s a custom data field called ‘Department’. Open the drop-down menu to see all of the values. If the values are applicable to your organization, you are good to go. If you need to add something, click on the editing tool and change the values.
Since you might need to add some other kind of information about your resource through custom data fields, it’s good to do it all at once. For example, do you need to add the skill sets of your team? If your imaginary marketing team is big, it might be a good idea since making good task and skill matches is an important part of resource planning.
However, there is no need for you to actually remember everything about everyone, you are not a resource planning software. Luckily, Ganttic is. If you think you might want to group your resources according to skills, add another list type of field. If you think you might only want to filter out the resources with the specific skill you need, add a text type of field.
Is Mary great at analytics while Todd writes prime copy? Since it’s your imaginary department, think it through. Is there any other type of information you need to know about your resources while planning? Are you planning a mix of people, machinery, and rooms? Would you need to add a number or an email address? Or maybe attach an image with a link?
All of which can be done through custom data fields. Once you are done, you need to open the resource dialog of every member of your imaginary marketing team and add the correct values of the custom data fields.
2. Think About Your Planning Needs
Now, let’s get to setting up the Gantt chart area of the View. That’s where you drag and drop schedule your tasks. Which colors would you like to see there?
If you would like the tasks to be colored by the colors of each individual task, it can be done. If you want the tasks to have the color of the project they belong to, it can be done. If you want your tasks to be colored by some other characteristic like status, it can also be done. If you schedule a task, you’ll see you can change the default blue color. If you do that for each task you plan, you’ll have a nice colorful Gantt chart area which makes it easier for you to distinguish who is doing what.
In the task dialog, you can also add a project. If you want your tasks to be colored by project colors, you need to add a color for each of your projects. Now, if you want your tasks to be colored by other characteristics, you need to add list type of custom data fields. It works the same way as it does with resources, so you already got it. For example, add a custom data field for status, and set values to be planned, in progress, and done. And that’s it for the groundwork. Now, let’s get to creating the actual views.
3. Setting up the View Parameters
As you remember from the first chapter, the first thing you can change is the grouping. Since you want to create a view of your imaginary department, you should consider which data field you would like to use for resource grouping? Is it the resource type? Is it the skill sets? Whatever it is, select it. Your resources will be grouped accordingly if you added values to each of them. If some of your resources are left out, the reason might be there.
The next thing on the list is sorting. Sorting resources using resource utilization is definitely a favorite here. If resources are sorted by utilization, you can easily see if a resource is overbooked or underbooked or in that sweet optimal utilization range. You have other options as well but a rave about sorting by utilization had to be done. Click on the option that suits you, and the resources will be sorted accordingly. By the way, you can also create a custom resource order.
Now, let’s get to coloring options. If you added a new list type custom data field, you’ll see it. You’ll also see that you can add colors to the values. Select the colors you like. Or don’t if you would prefer your tasks to be colored by task or project colors. If it’s one of the latter options, you’ll just need to select it, and the taskbars will be colored accordingly in the Gantt chart area.
Filtering options are next. This is where you can filter out all the resources in your department. Type ‘Marketing’ in the search box, and select it from the filtering result. Apply the filter. All the resources that aren’t part of your department are now gone. They aren’t permanently deleted from your account, don’t worry. It’s just a filter. Only you can see the changes you are making right now.
The last thing is the time period of the view. This is where you need to think about your resource planning habits. Are you planning for the week? Do you need to see the whole month? Or three months ahead? You can even zoom into a day to make daily schedules. You know what’s the best for your imaginary department. Select the options. Now, you have almost everything set to create a view.
4. Creating a New View
To create a new view, click on ‘View’. You’ll see all the settings you have applied to the view. If you want your team to see the view, make sure that ‘All users’ is selected. If you want the keep the view to yourself and no one else needs it, select ‘Only me’ at the bottom of the dialog.
Now, there are only two steps left. First. Click on ‘Save as’. The view will open in another tab. The last step is to give the view a name. ‘A view of my imaginary marketing department’ is always a good choice. Well not always. But, you know, on few occasions. Anyway, now you have a view! That’s a view! A view that’s going to make resource planning easier for you.
You can always return to the general resource view. If someone books a resource in your department, the task will be a part of your view.
Part III, “Exploring Resource Planning with Views”
After you have read all the prior chapters of this guide, you might ask, “What’s in it for me?”. So we are going to go over the pros and cons of using different views for resource planning.
+ Pros of Planning Using Views
- One of the most obvious pros is that you can divide your resource plan into smaller bits. Think of it like you were trying to achieve a big goal. To do that, you would need to deconstruct it. Establish smaller goals that are measurable and will be easier to accomplish. If you have to keep an eye on the whole organization, every resource, and project, it’s not difficult to miss something or get lost altogether. If you create views with different parameters, you’ll see your plan from different angles. And in addition to the fact that you can create views, every other administrator and user can create their own views. Users can create private views only, and administrators can choose if the views they create are private as well or public.
- The second pro is that you can open projects in separate views. If you are managing a project portfolio, you are really going to love this feature if you don’t know about it already. If you group your resources by projects, you can open each project up in a separate view. You can also use the list of projects to do that. Once you have a single project view open, you’ll see that the tasks that aren’t connected to that project, are grayed out. Every time you add a project, it will be automatically connected to that project. You can edit the view settings of the project the same way as you can edit the settings of a regular view. You can change the grouping and coloring option, you can edit the time period etc. You can concentrate on one project at once.
- The third big pro is that you can basically create a view that fits the user. Basically, you can restrict the user rights to the level that they can only see their own resource and the tasks attached to it and nothing else. However, since you can choose which view is the default view for each user, you can basically create a view that works the best for them. So remember when you created the perfect view of your imaginary marketing team? You can make that view their default view. That way they’ll see what you see. They themselves can add an extra filter if they only want to see their own resource.
– Cons of Planning With Views
- Since there isn’t a thing that doesn’t have any cons, here are a few cons that views have. First thing is that views can create a bit of confusion. Namely, if someone doesn’t know about all the things you can do to a view, it might just seem that things are missing or looking wrong. You can, of course, prevent it with a bit of Ganttic education but it can happen nevertheless.
- The next con is actually connected to the first one. Remember how you could choose if your view is public or private? If you forget to make a private view private it can be the root of the first con. Panic! Not only at the disco. Fortunately, only administrators can make that mistake since users can only create private views. By the way, if you feel like you should learn more about users and administrators, you can hop on to our help desk.
- The last con is a bit more meta. If you are used to looking at small portions of your resource plan, the bigger picture might be overwhelming. If you are one of the people that have to take a look at the general resource view, try to do it once a week, that way you’ll always know what’s going on but at the same time, you don’t have time to get lost in it.