New Features-of A Plan-2010
Until now, it was necessary to obtain the impact of modification in the scope of work (“time required”), utilisation of resources, duration etc. on project execution by means of recalculation after the allocation of resources. Since the launch of the 2009 version, in fact, there was also the option of automating this, however, with the disadvantage that you had to define a certain procedure by default and changes in the execution were not always noticed. In order to enhance the effectiveness when creating projects and while entering changes considerably, with the 2010 version or higher, you can specify directly when entering the data, how A-Plan should respond to the changes. Since the calculation mode last selected is stored for each individual task, no extra action is required in most cases.
A few examples:
1. Allocating a Resource
Obtain the end (= Duration) of a task, if a resource has been allocated with 100% of its capacity and 100 working hours (WH) are required. Result: Duration = 100 hours (in this case, it is indeed mundane)
2. Reducing the Utilisation
Obtain the end (= Duration) of the task, if the resource needs to be deployed with only 80% of its capacity. Result: Duration = 125 hours
3. Allocating other Resources
Obtain the end (= Duration) of the task, if the resource needs to be deployed with only 80% of its capacity. Result: Duration = 63 hours
4. Setting the Utilisation of all Resources to a Specific Value
Obtain the end (= Duration) of the task, if both resources need to be deployed with only 50% of their capacity. Result: Duration = 100 hours
5. Changing the Duration of the Task
Reduce the duration of the task to 80 hours and obtain the new utilisation of the resources. Result: Utilisation of both resources = 63%
6. Changing the Utilisation of ONE Resource, Adjusting the Other
Increase the utilisation of the first resource to 80% and obtain the utilisation of the second resource, if the duration needs to remain unchanged. Result: Utilisation of the second resource = 45%
7. Changing the Duration Required
Increase the duration required to 120 WH and adjust the utilisation in such a manner that the duration remains unchanged. Result: Utilisation of resource 1 = 96%, of resource 2 = 54 % (Ratio of the utilisation remains the same)
8. Changing the Duration with the Mouse in the Gantt chart
Increase the duration with the left mouse button pressed to 100 hours and reduce the utilisation accordingly. Result: Utilisation of resource 1 = 77%, of resource 2 = 43 % (Ratio of the utilisation remains the same)
For changes in the Gantt chart, the default value is configured in the Create/Edit menu in the Adjustment block of commands. When the Adjustment button is kept pressed (clicking with the Ctrl button pressed), the adjustment takes place immediately after making a change. The examples illustrate only a few of the options that A-Plan 2010 provides to be able to now respond to every situation and requirement in a considerably faster and more flexible manner.
Continue to Resource allocation
The A-Plan 2010 project management software comes with a completely new user interface:
- Seamless integration in Windows Vista or Windows 7.
- Supported by 64-bit Windows versions.
- The same “Look and Feel” as that of MS-Office 2007 or MS-Office 2010, which means that you do not have to change anything when switching between different Windows programs and you can work with the program intuitively.
- All fonts, buttons, scrollbars, optional and input fields, etc. are in the current Windows design.
- The modern, no-frills (simple) and well laid out user interface is also available under older Operating Systems, such as,Windows XP, for example.
Continue to Multi-function bar
Groups of the Multi-function Toolbar
(The screenshots may be displayed in the original size by clicking on them.)
Group ‘File’ …
… for creating and opening databases, for printing, for starting administrative and file functions:
Group ‘Data’ …
… for all functions that are needed to specify the properties such as, for example, status, remainders, notes, etc.:
Group ‘View’ …
… for additional settings (this now also includes certain settings for which the ‘Options’ have to be opened until now):
Group ‘Extras’ …
… for special functions such as, for example, time tracking, reports, options and user administration:
Context Menu …
… has a better structured and clearer layout and is also with graphic symbols:
… more informative and with a link to the appropriate section in the online help:
Quick Access Toolbar …
… may be customized and configured for frequently required functions (click the desired icon with the right mouse button):
Shortcut keys …
… configurable for all functions as desired:
Style of the Multi-function Toolbar …
… can be set in 7 different variants, e.g. ‘White’ (in accordance with MS-Office 2010, refer to all figures illustrated above)
or e.g. ‘Black’:
continue to New functions fo the mlti-function toolba
Since the time that MS-Office 2007 has been launched, there have been lively discussions about the “multi-function bar” or “ribbon” introduced with it. Braintool software has tracked these discussions right from the beginning and has not yet undertaken any conversion in A-Plan 2009 on account of some of the criticisms expressed.
However, quite some time has passed in the meantime, the criticisms have decreased and the new user interface has developed into a new standard. Nonetheless, we would not have implemented the conversion if we had not been convinced of the benefits of the multi-function bar.
Tests with the new user interface have confirmed the correctness of our decision: Novices and beginners became familiar substantially faster with A-Plan 2010 than with A-Plan 2009 and existing users too, after a – relatively brief – conversion phase, no longer wanted to work with the “old” user interface.
Incidentally, even the developers of OpenOffice, who consciously differentiate themselves from Microsoft, accept that the menu bars that were customary so far are no longer contemporary owing to the increased number of functions and because of this, have presented certain design studies with the ribbon interface for the next version of their office package. Of course, these solutions look optically somewhat different compared to those from Microsoft, but the fundamental concept is the same in all variants: Bars with tabs, which, after being clicked, display different icons to activate the corresponding functions. Some of the prototypes, in fact, have a menu bar in addition, but, in our opinion, this is inconsistent and complicates the user interface unnecessarily.
- Considerably better laid out by grouping the functions logically
- Supplementary functions, such as, e.g. a quick access bar and user-configurable shortcut keys, facilitate user interaction considerably
- Faster location of functions by consistent use of icons
Continue to Groups of the multi-function Toolbar
New functions of the multi-function toolbar
Direct selection to determine the tasks that should be displayed on the basis of their status (for further explanations on the status, please refer to Status display).
- Clearer and more effective
- The profiles last used (Favorites) appear at the beginning of the list
Modifying the Profiles
Modifications in the settings may be saved either manually by a mouse click or automatically in the active profile respectively as an option.
Opening and Closing
Opening and closing projects and tasks or groups and resources are considerably more flexible (with the level being preset).
- You have dircet access via the multi-function toolbar
- You can delete all links of the area marked
Continue to Status display
In contrast to MS-Office 2007, there is another functional group in A-Plan 2010 called ‘Extras’ and the ‘Options’ are defined in this group (since Microsoft has concealed it in the ‘File’ group for reasons that are not comprehensible even by us, we have created the term here, too, for those who have, in the meantime, become accustomed to this fact). However, we have also adapted the options to the new standard:
- 1) Better laid out and quicker access to various pages by ‘TabStrip’ on the left side
- 2) Variable window sizes, and as a result, for example, substantially more list elements may be displayed, if required
- 3) Fonts, buttons, scrollbars and input fields, etc. in the current Windows design
You can now define a resources “Header” (“Title”) simultaneously for all secondary rows (lines). If, for instance, the same resource needs to be responsible for an entire block, only a single entry is necessary:
The new automatic calculations may also be used here, which means that the specification and recalculation of the project execution can be done in a fraction of the time that was previously needed! Finally, of course, other resources, too, may be allocated to individual tasks within this block and here, too, the impact on the project execution may be obtained immediatey.
Continue to Zoom function
So far, information pertaining to the status of a project or task was distributed in the form of numbers in different columns and, as a result, could be overlooked easily. In order to be able to track the respective status at a glance, there are now a larger number of icons available that are displayed all together in one common column:
Apart from information obtained on the basis of existing data, you may also set your own markings in addition, such as, for example, “critical” or “not clarified”. (If A-Plan users indicate a need for more icons, their number could be increased in future.) Apart from the display of different statuses in the form of icons, you also have the option of displaying only those projects or tasks that have a specific status with a single mouse click:
Tool tips may be displayed for the icons so that their meaning is explained quickly:
Continue to Calculations
Current plan data available everywhere at all times
The A-Plan WebViewer available as an option, allows you to use any device that is connected to the Internet with any browser, to retrieve the current plan data and time schedules. This requires no installation on the particular device, which means that all the data required is available even on smartphones, such as, for example, the iPhone or on a tablet computer.
The data is refreshed by the A-Plan WebCreator on completely normal Internet pages at a configurable interval of time of your choice and kept updated. In this manner, superiors, others working on the project, the production department, branches, field employees, installation engineers, customers, suppliers, etc. may be kept updated easily and automatically with respect to all information that is necessary for seamless and streamlined operations.
You can find further information under WebViewer!
The resolution of monitor screens is becoming better constantly. As a result of that, more information can be displayed, but on the other hand, the fonts are becoming smaller constantly. Because of this, with the new version of A-Plan, the display in the main window can be zoomed within a range of 20% to 180%. Apart from improved readability with magnified displays, here, e.g. 140% …
… displays with reduced size permit the overview over a larger area, here, e.g. 60%:
Continue to Options