In 4 steps we will explain how you can set up planning in vPlan:
- What do you want to plan?
- Who do you want to schedule?
- How do you want to plan?
- How do you look at the planning?
What do you want to plan?
To start planning, it's important to determine what you want to plan. Is it your project activities per week? Client appointments at specific times? Or are this deals through different statuses of your pipeline?
Determine what the 'plan object' will be by defining its corresponding characteristics. What data must the object have to plan correctly? For example, if you are planning an assembly job, you will want to know at least the receipt number, the work and the location. In project activities, for example, you work with deadlines, and in a sales deal, the deal value is an important piece of information.
In vPlan, we call the 'plan object' a card. The card has some standard fields. In these fields, you can enter global information. A link with your ERP or accounting package may ensure that cards are automatically created for your planning with the correct information.
You can link activities to a card. These are standard activities that you perform as a company. A furniture maker, for example, works with the activities: sawing, sanding, milling and assembling. A marketing agency works with the activities strategy, design, DTP and SEO optimization, for example.
Is there any specific information missing from the card? With custom fields, you can decide which information is needed. In vPlan you will always see this information on the card. You can always search for it and display it in our list view. Custom fields can also be used to register additional information when the card is exported.
A customer of our trains guides dogs for the blind. A card is created for each dog. The card (i.e. a dog) contains all relevant information, such as name, age and breed. The card then goes through the training process, so they know exactly how far the dog has progressed.
Who do you want to plan?
Everything that is planned must also be carried out. It is good for your planning to know who is responsible for the execution. For example, do you have to deal with the capacity of your employees or maybe your machines that have to do the work? Capacity gives you insight into whether the work can be completed with the available resources that you have.
It may also be the case that you are not working with capacity, but that you do want to link your team members to cards. This way you can see who is responsible for the execution.
It's also important to know whether employees support the work throughout the process or whether they only carry out a part of the total assignment? Does your team work at a fixed location or do they drive around the country in vans? It could also be that you are dealing with competencies within your business processes. For example, Frank is good at welding, but Gerrit is not. Gerrit is good at carpentry.
In short, you must understand who is responsible for the tasks to be carried out. Gather all this information before you start planning.
In vPlan, we call those who perform tasks; resources. It is possible to link a schedule to a resource to create capacity. Your resources are often your colleagues, but they can also be machines or delivery vans. In vPlan you have the freedom to create your own resources. Resources can be placed in a group so that you can easily filter them in your planning.
How do you want to plan?
Now that we know what and who we want to plan for, we can add structure. To provide structure, it is important to know how work go through the process. Are you dealing with project phases? Do your assignments have successive statuses? Are activities interdependent?
Everything comes together in a planning board within vPlan. The activities, the resources and the process steps. To demonstrate this properly, we will use an example. The marketing agency Dezign wants to schedule project activities on the company's employees. We start by creating a planning board.
First of all, standards are defined within the planning. What are the standard working days, which labels can be added and which specific fields must be available in tasks and who has access.
Next, we will look at the phases. Projects at Dezign often go through the same process, namely Strategy, Design and Development. These will also be the phases within the board. For each phase, it is determined which activities take place in it.
Then we set up the statuses. Project tasks start with the status Open. It's then taken into Consideration and is then Completed. A task may be delayed because a customer has to respond, therefore there is also a status Pending Customer.
Then we connect the resources. The 5 employees work divided over the different departments. In addition to the capacity of each employee, you can also see the total capacity of each department (phase) or the entire company.
Finally, I can add automation in the setup. With these, standard actions are automatically executed if it meets the set condition. Here is an example: when the activity Senior Design is added, I always want Simon to execute this. Besides, it is also possible that when the Strategy is executed, order for the next phase, Design, will automatically be given.
Create your overview
vPlan has three different views, namely list view, calendar view and timeline. Planning should be clear and therefore we offer you the possibility to choose the view yourself. All information in the view can be switched on or off. Besides, you can apply filters to many different parts. For Dezign, the timeline is the best choice to create an overview of the planning.
Add all your work to your planning board
The framework for your planning is in place! To be able to use your planning, all data has to be added to your planning board through cards. vPlan integrates with many systems, which makes it possible to create cards automatically. See here if your system is among them. Using an integration you reduce manual work. It is even possible to create your link with the help of Zapier.
You can create yet-to-be-planned activities in the backlog. These tasks still need to be planned. It is also possible to put these tasks directly into the planning.
Keep on planning, analyzing and optimizing
The planning is ready! Now it is important to keep the planning up to date and adjust it if necessary. You must keep working and optimizing. Based on past results, you can make better choices for the future.
The many features in vPlan allow us to map out your planning exactly the way you want it. View all functionalities here.
Are you curious to see what your planning in vPlan will look like? Create a free trial environment today and try it out for yourself!