Plan work assignments with activities

Following from having seen how to generate an MS Excel spreadsheet from different in-STEP BLUE views with the multi excel export in the last blog article in the series Step by Step to Ticket System, you will learn today how to elegantly take work assignments as activities in your activity planning. The goal is to manage the duration and effort of the activity planning and to illustrate dependencies between individual work assignments. In this entry we’re going to look at how to expand the category of tickets and work orders, create a new view, define activity types and expand the state machine for tickets and work assignments.

Create activity type

The activities of the work assignments should be a part of the superordinate activity for each ticket – comparable to the hierarchical structure that connects tickets and work assignments.

Hierarchische Struktur mit Tickets und Arbeitsaufträgen

Hierarchical structure with tickets and work assignments

To get started, create an activity type for activities for work assignments and for tickets. Open the view Activity type from the view group Administration. Create a new type, Ticket activity, under the activity type Organization. Configure this as shown in the screenshots:

Der Aktivitätstyp für die Ticketaktivität

Activity type for the ticket activity

The cardinality has to be 0..* so that many activities of this type can be created. Because only individual activities should be created for work assignments, deactivate “free activities enabled.” The settings in the other tabs can be left unchanged.

Now, create another activity type underneath the new type – ideally called Work Assignment Activity – and configure it just like the ticket activities. It should look like this:

Arbeitsauftragsaktivität unterhald der Ticketaktivität

Work assignment under the ticket activity

Expansion of available categories

Tickets should be connected to the relevant activity after they’re created. For that, you need a new property in the category  – plan activity. These have a cardinality of 1 and the data type Activity. In the blog entry Für Tickets einen Produkttyp anlegen you can learn how to proceed.

To be able to take over the title of the tickets and the description of the word order in the activities, create two corresponding properties of the type alphanumeric in the activity category.

Expand the state machine for tickets

How do you make it possible to create activities for tickets via the state machine? Just open the state machine for tickets and expand it with a new event – Create activity. At the end, briefly define the state transition as described in the screenshot:

Definiton des Zustandsübergangs

Definition of the state transfer

Expand the state transfer with an action to create an activity. The activity contains the name of the ticket. Assign the type you just created as the activity type for ticket activities.

Die Aktion konfigurieren

Configure the action

The tick under Copy product settings with the same name is needed to copy the title of the ticket in the same property of the activity and make it visible in the activity view. The further settings in the other tab can be used without changing them.

Und die Beziehung in der Aktion festlegen

And determine the relationship in the action

Create activity view

So that you can edit the created activities, just create a view called Activities, configure it like in the last screenshot, and allocate the new view to the view group Tickets. Make sure that columns with the properties Title and Description are displayed.

Aktivitätssicht anlegen

Create activity view

Bravo, now you are ready to create activities onto tickets. And in just a few clicks you can also create activities to work orders.

Expand the state machine and categories for work assignments

First, complete the two properties in the category WORK ORDER. Both properties are the type Activity and have a cardinality of 1. The properties are called Plan activity and father activity. Planaktivität verweist wieder auf die zugehörige Aktivität im Aktivitätsplan, Vateraktivität auf die zugehörige Ticketaktivität im Plan.

Now, define – similarly to with tickets – the state machine for work assignments. Create another event and a state transfer from <Alle Zustände> to <Bisheriger Zustand>. Now activities should only be created when their father activity is recognized. It should be clear under which ticket activity the activity of the work assignment should be created. To check this, define a condition, as shown here:

Bedingung definieren

Defining a condition

Now, create the action to generate an activity and configure it like this:

Aktion zum Erzeugen einer Aktivität

Action to generate an activity

In father activity a reference to the plan activity has been left. Learn in the following instructions how this reference emerged.

The Bearbeiter/editor of the work assignment has already been put into the form. That’s why we can take it over when creating the form.

Den Mitarbeiter aus der benutzerdefinierten Eigenschaft übernehmen

Take over the employee from the user-defined properties

The work assignment will be taken over as the initial product of the activity. That way the form can be accessed directly from the activity view.

Das Ausgangsprodukt festlegen

Specify the initial product

You are already in the position to create activities for work assignments. However, this only works if the work assignment has saved a reference to the plan activity. To enable that, simply configure the Core Process command for products.

Expand the command derive work assignment

Complete the command derive work assignment so that the value of the property plan activity of the ticket is copied into the property father activity.

Now, execute the marked changes in the dialog select properties to copy.

Erweitern des Befehls zum Ableiten des Arbeitsauftrags

Expand the command to derive the work assignments

That’s how the work assignment information is copied to the father activity already at its creation. But what happens when the activity of the ticket is created after the derivation of the work assignment? Then the update command has to make sure that the value of all work assignments of the tickets is copied.

Complete the update work assignment command

´Create a Core Process command of the type update product and configure it like this:

Einen neuen Befehl anlegen

Create a new command

The command should be executed with the state machine for tickets. So the following settings are required:

Die Ausführung des Befehls

Carrying out the command

Now open the configuration for the state machine for tickets and complete the execution of the update in the action to create an activity:

Den Befehl zur Aktualisierung des Arbeitsauftrags auswählen

Select the command to update the work assignments

The result

Now all the configuration work is finished and you can create activities for your tickets and work assignments. Don’t forget that you have to create the tickets before you can create the work assignments.

Das Anlegen von Aktivitäten in in-STEP BLUE

The creation of activities in in-STEP BLUE

Today you have seen how you can change so many settings in in-STEP BLUE – what’s good is that you only have to do it once so that all project participants can reap the benefits later when working. In the next article it will be easier – I promise! There you will learn how you can get an overview of the workload on your employees on the basis of planned work assignments. Just follow the instructions and you will have your own ticket system step by step. And if you have tips or wishes, then just get in touch – service@microtool.de or 030/467086-20. Of course, we are always glad to support you in person in adapting in-STEP BLUE.

Axel Höner is an expert for the integration of in-STEP BLUE and other microTOOL software products into IT environments of any size. A certified Project Management Expert (IPMA), he specializes in consulting and process optimization.

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