Product Update

December 19, 2002

1. Resource forecasting: determine if your company has enough employees by job code to staff projects.

OpenAir introduced job codes in August 2002. As general positions within a company, job codes serve as the basis for project pricing and billing estimates. This month, we have extended job codes to enable managers to understand how many employees (by job code or "position") are needed to staff current and future projects.

As an example of how to use this feature, managers often staff current and future projects with both generic (or "placeholder") resources and specific (or "real") resources. Once the manager has completed staffing, s/he often would like to know, "Which types of resources do I need to hire or do I need to downsize to cost-effectively meet my resource needs?" The new resource forecasting enhancements help answer this question, displaying metrics in units of full-time equivalents (FTEs).

There are several steps required to use this sophisticated new functionality: (1) create a generic resource in OpenAir; (2) define a work schedule for the generic resource; (3) for each job code (for example "project manager"), point to a generic resource as the FTE for that job code; (4) set up and run the new job code summary report.

First, administrators (or users with appropriate permissions) create a generic resource by navigating to My Account>Account>select Generic Resource from the New Entries: Create dropdown. Second, administrators define a work schedule for the generic resource. While still in the generic resources screen, select the schedule link and choose the standard work periods (and hours) for the generic resource. Third, administrators assign the FTE to a job code by going to My Account > Account > Job Codes > select Job Code. Select an FTE from among the generic resources listed in the dropdown. The schedule (configured in step 2 above) for the generic user will be used as the schedule for the job code and in calculations to determine the unit of full-time equivalent (FTE) for a specific job code.

Fourth, to set up and run the resource forecast report, navigate to My Account>Reports>Summary>Resources>Job Codes. Configure the report timing, subtotals, filters, etc. as with all OpenAir reports. Choose "Booked FTE Forecast" and "Available FTE Forecast" as values to display, in the Options section. Then run the report. The report will display by period by job code how many FTEs are booked and how many FTEs are available (or, if a negative number, how many are needed).

2. Resource forecasting II: determine how utilized your company’s employees are by job code.

This month’s job code enhancements also enable managers to understand employee utilization by job code.

As an example of how to use this feature, resource or project managers often would like to understand the utilization level of their employees by job code. Looking forward several months, a manager often likes to understand which types of resources (i.e. which job codes) - project managers or senior consultants - are over- or under-utilized. If a group is over-utilized, a manager can either reduce the number of projects to be executed or increase the number of FTEs of that particular type of resource.

There are several steps required to use this sophisticated new functionality. Please see the preceding item for detailed directions on the three steps required to enable it.

To set up and run the job code utilization report, navigate to My Account>Reports>Summary>Resources>Job Codes. Configure the report timing, subtotals, filters, etc. as with all OpenAir reports. Choose "Booked FTE Utilization" as the value to display, in the Options section. Then run the report. The report will display by period by job code the forward-looking utilization percent of all employees with a specific job code booked to projects. With this information, a manager can determine if a particular type of employee - project managers or systems analyst for example - is under-utilized. If so, the manager can then take on more projects that have been requested.

3. Resource substitution: substitute one resource assigned to a task with another resource with a similar job code.

OpenAir has long enabled managers to substitute resources in project plans. Because a manager may know only the type of resource - project manager, analyst, etc. - and not the specific resource, managers assign generic, or placeholder, resources to project tasks when initially creating a work breakdown structure. As the project plan firms up, the manager often would like to begin replacing generic resources with specific resources. OpenAir now enables two ways to search for resource replacements: by a resource’s profile of skills and other attributes (functionality already in OpenAir), and by a resource’s job code.

Managers must choose in which manner they would like to search for replacement resources: by skill or by job code. Administrators (or those users with appropriate permissions) must select their preferred method in My Account > Company > Settings > Project Options. Scroll down to the dropdown titled, "Search criteria for finding a resource to substitute for another on a task assignment".

To use the resource replacement feature, managers simply navigate to a project plan in the outline view of a project and click on the hyperlinked name of the resource to which a particular task is assigned. A second window will appear with a list of resources who have the same job code as the assigned user. Then the manager selects the resource with which to replace the current resource.

4. Resource booking grid: new interface to enter, edit, and delete multiple project bookings.

Many OpenAir accounts use the resources module to schedule and allocate staff to projects, predict employee utilization, and determine employee availability. Resource managers use bookings to allocate employee time to upcoming projects. In the past, managers were required to enter and edit bookings singly or a few at a time. This month, OpenAir introduces a new user interface to enter, edit, and delete bookings in larger quantities.

To use the new booking grid, administrators (or users w/appropriate permissions) enable which roles have access to the booking grid by navigating to Account>Roles>select appropriate role>scroll down to the Projects section>check the appropriate boxes next to "View the booking grid" and/or "View and modify the booking grid." Then navigate to Account>Projects>Project stages. Click on each project stage for which you want the booking grid to appear. Check the Booking Grid box in Options, and click "Save". Next, go to Projects>Projects>select the appropriate project>Booking Grid>Setup. A manager then chooses the period length for bookings on the grid, the number of periods to be displayed on the grid, users to display on the grid (based on selected users or based on user profile selections), the booking type of all bookings on the grid, and whether bookings will be in percentage of time or hours. Upon clicking save, a manager views the booking grid displaying users, any profiles associated with those users, etc. A manager can add, edit and/or delete project bookings using this grid.

Using the grid feature for project bookings requires that booking lengths - weekly, monthly or quarterly - be the same for all bookings across the particular project in order for bookings to be viewed on the grid.

5. Security: login-based user lockout mechanism.

For administrators concerned about security, OpenAir now offers a lockout mechanism to prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access by guessing at login information. After a specified number of failed consecutive logins, the person attempting to enter the system will be locked out, and optionally, all account administrators will be notified. If the individual attempts to login again, this time with the correct password, they will get a message that their account is locked and they should contact their account administrator. To enable this feature, administrators should navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Security options. Select the number of failed logins that will trigger the lock, and check the box to alert account administrators, if desired. Click Save. To enable the unlock feature, in Account > Users, click to customize the list view. Include the "run an action" column to allow unlocking a user. Click OK.

6. Would you like to see previous OpenAir updates?

Click here to browse previous product updates including all new features, modules and functionality.

7. Suggestions, problems, or questions?

As always, please contact us at or 888.367.1288 (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 617-351-0226). We pride ourselves on the outstanding care we give our customers. Please let us know how we improve your experience with OpenAir.