KPlato/Engineering To Order project tutorial/planning

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The Planning phase

Starting

When you open the program for the first time, the below window will appear.

We choose the 8 hours day, 40 hour week template to start

Open project.png

Main project setting

Then we give the project a name and a manager, and set some other general information. To do this you need to click on the Edit main project icon on the top left of the screen and then the following window will appear.


Proj set1.png


On this window we can write the name of the project, choose a manager from a list already present in the system (if you have KDE and Kontact) or write a new name as per your convenience.

The target times Earliest start and Latest finish are used when scheduling the project. We want to schedule forward, so we set earliest start to when we want the project to start, and the latest finish we set to the latest time the project should finish. If the project cannot be scheduled to finish before this time, a scheduling warning will be given.

At the bottom of the window can be inserted a comment on the project. These data will be used for the reports or for other general purposes during the working period.


Ktip.png
 
Tip
Remember to press Ctrl + S to save the file sometime!! KPlato regularly updates a backup file in case it crashes



Currency setting

We can choose to work in different currency. As the English is set to $, we need to change to €. To do so, we need to select the menu Tools -> Define Currency and the below window will appear.


Proj curr.png


Then, change the currency symbol from $ to € and click OK as the other features are ok.

Work calendar

Have a look at the work & vacation calendar in View Selector in the upper left part of the window under the Editors group. The following view will appear:


Work1.png


In the centre we can add different calendars for different time zones and week efforts. On the right there's a month calendar, on it's upper part, there's the configuration for the working week hours, typically 8 hours from Monday to Friday and non working days for Saturday and Sunday.


Let's add a new calendar for our future purposes, clicking on the Add calendar icon, then for the name we write
Installation
and for the time zone we choose Asia/Ho_chi_minh from the selection menu.


Work3.png


We now need to select the installation calendar and define the relative working week.

On the right upper corner of the calendar, there are some spaces indicating a typical working week.

Work vacation3.png


Right click on the blank one below the Monday indication and a menu will appear with the possibility to choose between Work, Not Working and Undefined.

Click on Work and the following window will appear


Work vacation4.png

We add typical working hours for installation work. 10 hours per day from Monday to Saturday and 4 hours on Sunday. In case needed we can also choose to insert the pause time.

So, starting from 7 am for 10 hours and then click add and then ok.

Repeat the same for the other days up to Saturday while for Sunday insert 4 hours from 8 in the morning.

You can also select multiple days or weekdays by using Shift + LeftMouseButton or Ctrl + LeftMouseButton


We can also right click on a date in the calendar and doing the same considerations about the working and non working days or time. This is especially needed when you need to work with different holidays from yours!


Anyhow, the final result should be similar to the below image.


Work2.png

Cost breakdown structure

Here we define which will be the cost centres we wish to use in the project. We can have different groups and subgroups.

Click on the Cost breakdown structure item on the left side of the window, just under the work and vacation item you pressed before.

As per costs managing needs we divide the structures of the costs in the following way

Cbs1.png

Play with the add account and add subaccount icons to reach the full tree! This is a personal approach for a complete ETO project due to my experience.

For example you can have a "direct employee" account to manage the cost for your employee, or to have an idea about the cost of your suppliers using a dedicated account as soon as you insert their work.

Resources

So, now it's time to define our team and the material!!

You can access to the resources window clicking on the Resource item on the left side of the window, just under the cost breakdown structure item pressed before.

The resources are organized as resource groups and resources. So, first we insert the team group as resource group clicking on the Add Resource group icon for each item as below.

Res6.png

As soon as you complete the group it's time to insert the people and the materials!

Res1.png

Work Resources

Now it's time to edit each single resource for the purpose to define it. Right click on the resource name to open the resource setting window.

Res2.png

Therefore we add the initials and the email address, switch the calendar to "base" calendar, insert the cost as per need. The account is set to none as in this case we do not charge the cost to a specific cost account.


Ktip.png
 
Tip
Instead of right clicking each item, we can change directly on the main window clicking on each characteristic we wish to change



Remember that for the installation resources there will be a different calendar, the "installation", that we inserted before!


Ktip.png
 
Tip
As entering resource characteristics is a long work that probably is needed for other project, it might be better to maintain you resources in a separate file and insert them when you start a new project using Tools -> Insert Project File. This will preserve the (internal) identity of the resources which may come in handy if you want to coordinate multiple projects later. See Managing Resources


Material Resources

We decided to add the workshop machines to consider some costs as well as their use.

For this purpose in the resource we add the workshop as a material and a CNC machine as well as assembly tools package.

Res4.png
Warning.png
 
Warning
It is important to insert these sub group materials in a “material” group otherwise they cannot be used in the “required resources” selection with the work in the resource setting as well as they cannot be selected in the Task Settings->Resources. See the below images.


Res3.png
Res7.png

Calendar preference

One other interesting thing to note is that we use different calendars for different resources.

Res5.png

The calendar on the task has the precedence on the resource's calendar. The availability date for a resource largely depend if this resource is available only for a period of time. In this case we need to be sure that all the resources are available from the beginning to the end of the job.

Overtime rate is not yet implemented.

Task

Now it's tasks time !!!!

You can access the task window clicking on the "task" item on the left side of the window, just under the resource item you pressed before.

We have to insert the following items:


Task1.png

As we inserted the each name, we can edit each item right clicking the name. The following will appear on the first task:

Task2.png


There are five tabs: General, Resources, Documents, Cost, Description.

On the General tab insert the name of the task, you can choose a responsible person if needed, then define the timing and the risk associated to the task. The schedule type is typical for planning, "as soon as possible" is the most used. Other kind of type, generate a need to compile the date and time on the right of the drop-down menu.

The estimate is the time required to complete the task, can be in different units: h (hours), d (days), w (weeks) and M (months).

Note-box-icon.png
 
Note
The estimation can be in effort or duration. Effort is the need of working time for a task, Duration is the working duration for a task. The main difference is that for an effort if you use two workers, the total time will be cut by two! If you have duration, the total time will be the same even if you use more workers. This implicitly impacts the cost for the task.


The risk level as well as the optimistic and pessimistic timing will impact the calculation of the total project considering the PERT technique. In this case -5% and 20% are the value as well as the risk is considered "High".


Task3.png


On the Resource tab, we choose the desired resource to be used as well as its availability in % and eventual resources associated.


Task4.png


In the Document tab we can link documents pertaining to the task. Not used for our tutorial.


Task5.png


The fourth tab is the Cost tab. Here we can associate the running cost of the task to an account previously defined into the "Cost breakdown structure".

We can also choose to add startup and shutdown cost for the task, that can be associated to different account.


Note-box-icon.png
 
Note
The startup and shutdown cost are integrated into the BCWS



Task6.png


The last tab is the Description tab where we can insert our comments, mainly the list of the deliverables related to the task.

Dependencies

Now it's time to prioritize the activities! Let's click on the Dependencies (graphics) item on the left side of the main window.

So this is what should appear as soon as you open the right window.


Kplato dep1.png

Let's start to give priority at the tasks in order to obtain a full list of dependencies. This can be done graphically with the mouse, clicking at the right or left side of the task and then drag the relative arrow to the desired position of the other task. It should be better to connect only the tasks and not the summary. The result should be like below.

Kplato dep3.png

Schedule

Wow, now it's time for schedule and prepare the baseline for the project!

Clicking on the left menu on the Schedule will bring you to the schedule activities!

Now we create a new schedule clicking on the button Add schedule at the top of the window, then we choose a PERT analysis for the distribution type and then we click on Calculate button. As soon as the calculation is finished, press on Baseline button on the top of the window. The result will be like this:


Kplato sched1.png
Ktip.png
 
Tip
Always check the scheduling log as looking for some error messages in the "severity" column could be helpful.



Here, for reference, is a copy from the KPlato manual of the field's definitions in the schedule


Column Description
Name The name of the schedule.
State The schedules state. Shows a progress bar during scheduling.
Direction The scheduling direction.

If direction is Forward, the project is scheduled starting at the projects earliest start time specified in the main project dialog. If direction is Backward, the project is scheduled starting at the projects latest finish time specified in the main project dialog.

Overbooking Controls resource overbooking when scheduling.

If overbooking is allowed, a resource may be booked (on working days) to work more than it is available. This can happen if the resource is allocated to multiple tasks or are booked on other projects. If overbooking is to be avoided, resources will not be booked more than they are available. On resource conflict, tasks will be delayed until the resource is available.

Distribution The distribution to be used during scheduling.

If distribution is 'None', the tasks estimate is used as is during scheduling. If distribution is 'PERT', the estimate (E) used is calculated based on the entered optimistic- (O), pessimistic-(P) and most likely (M) estimate. The formula used for this is:

E = (O + 4 * M + P) / 6.

Planned Start The scheduled start time.
Planned Finish The scheduled finish time.
Scheduler The scheduler used for calculating the project schedule.

The default built-in scheduler is the Network Scheduler. Other schedulers presently available is RCPS if libRCPS is installed on your system. RCPS is a genetics based resource constrained project scheduler

So now we have finished our planning activities for the project!!!


This page was last modified on 23 April 2011, at 09:31. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.