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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:42 pm 
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Posts: 5
I know this post is a little, ahem, verbose but I just wanted to convey what I want. It's still not finished. But I think the idea comes across.

It would be nice to have the ability to schedule employees based on the shifts needed to be filled rather than a single shift repeated throughout the week. There is a current work around (I think) to do this but it is very cumbersome and requires quite a few recurring schedule definitions.

The features described here are intended for the SMB retail, restaurant, light industrial, Transportation, Consumer Services, and Leisure, markets. Also include any business that has a set of various shifts that can be filled by several employees. The employees do not have the same shift throughout the week.

------------ Example Scheduling Needs ---------------
In my example I'll use our department names and schedule needs:
Schedule recurs every two weeks;
Schedule is Saturday to Sunday;
open hours are from 8am to 10:30pm every day

Employees are: John Doe, Jane Doe, John Hancock, Mike Smith, Papa Smurf, Willie Wanka, Superman, The Tooth Fairy, Tom Bombadill, Ender Wiggin, and Sherlock Holmes
Schedule has three departments: Register, Buyer, Shelver;
Each Department has three shifts: Opener, Mid Shift, Closer;
Both Register and Buyers can fill shelver shifts.
Buyers can fill Register Shifts.
Registers can not fill buyer shifts.
Buyers are: John Doe, John Hancock, Mike Smith, Superman, The Tooth Fairy, Ender, and Sherlock Holmes
Registers are: Jane Doe, Papa Smurf, Willie Wanka, and Tom Bombadill
Every employee should have one closing shift.

Here is where things differ:
John Doe goes to church on Wednesday evening, Saturday evening, and all day Sunday.
Jane Doe goes to College on Tuesday morning, Thursday evening, and Coaches Soccer all day Saturday.
John Hancock works at his second job smuggling glass every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday morning.
Mike Smith sings for the Dave Clark Five at shows every Friday and Saturday evening.
Papa Smurf Referees basketball every other Saturday
Willie Wanka runs a factory at his other job and is only available Wednesday evening, and all day Saturday and Sunday
Superman saves the world every second Tuesday of the month.
The Tooth Fairy is available at any time.
Tom Bombadill is a single dad and needs to be home by 3 Monday through Friday with the weekends off.
Ender Wiggin has College classes every Monday morning and Friday evening.
Sherlock Holmes has physical therapy every Sunday morning.

In this example, the only employee the current system can easily setup a recurring schedule for is The Tooth Fairy.
My list for current employees continues for another 20 employees similar to the ones above. Soon the list will double and eventually reach around 100 all with similar requirements within the next two years.

----------- Using the Current System to fulfill example needs -----------------
Using the current scheduling system in TimeTrex I would need to setup recurring schedule templates that would only include one shift for the first week, or second week, or both weeks for each day, shift, and department.
This would be the list of recurring schedule templates I would need to create in the current system using the example needs:
Saturday Opening Buyer Week One Only
Saturday Opening Buyer Week Two Only
Saturday Opening Buyer Week One and Two
Saturday Mid Shift Buyer Week One Only
Saturday Mid Shift Buyer Week Two Only
Saturday Mid Shift Buyer Week One and Two
Saturday Closing Buyer Week One Only
Saturday Closing Buyer Week Two Only
Saturday Closing Buyer Week One and Two
Saturday Opening Register Week One Only
Saturday Opening Register Week Two Only
Saturday Opening Register Week One and Two
Saturday Mid Shift Register Week One Only
Saturday Mid Shift Register Week Two Only
Saturday Mid Shift Register Week One and Two
Saturday Closing Register Week One Only
Saturday Closing Register Week Two Only
Saturday Closing Register Week One and Two
Sunday Opening Buyer Week One Only
Sunday Opening Buyer Week Two Only
Sunday Opening Buyer Week One and Two
Sunday Mid Shift Buyer Week One Only
Sunday Mid Shift Buyer Week Two Only
Sunday Mid Shift Buyer Week One and Two
Sunday Closing Buyer Week One Only
Sunday Closing Buyer Week Two Only
Sunday Closing Buyer Week One and Two
Sunday Opening Register Week One Only
Sunday Opening Register Week Two Only
Sunday Opening Register Week One and Two
Sunday Mid Shift Register Week One Only
Sunday Mid Shift Register Week Two Only
Sunday Mid Shift Register Week One and Two
Sunday Closing Register Week One Only
Sunday Closing Register Week Two Only
Sunday Closing Register Week One and Two
Monday Opening Buyer Week One Only
Monday Opening Buyer Week Two Only
Monday Opening Buyer Week One and Two
Monday Mid Shift Buyer Week One Only
Monday Mid Shift Buyer Week Two Only
Monday Mid Shift Buyer Week One and Two
Monday Closing Buyer Week One Only
Monday Closing Buyer Week Two Only
Monday Closing Buyer Week One and Two
Monday Opening Register Week One Only
Monday Opening Register Week Two Only
Monday Opening Register Week One and Two
Monday Mid Shift Register Week One Only
Monday Mid Shift Register Week Two Only
Monday Mid Shift Register Week One and Two
Monday Closing Register Week One Only
Monday Closing Register Week Two Only
Monday Closing Register Week One and Two
Monday Opening Shelver Week One Only
Monday Opening Shelver Week Two Only
Monday Opening Shelver Week One and Two
Monday Mid Shift Shelver Week One Only
Monday Mid Shift Shelver Week Two Only
Monday Mid Shift Shelver Week One and Two
Monday Closing Shelver Week One Only
Monday Closing Shelver Week Two Only
Monday Closing Shelver Week One and Two
Tuesday Opening Buyer Week One Only
Tuesday Opening Buyer Week Two Only
Tuesday Opening Buyer Week One and Two
Tuesday Mid Shift Buyer Week One Only
Tuesday Mid Shift Buyer Week Two Only
Tuesday Mid Shift Buyer Week One and Two
Tuesday Closing Buyer Week One Only
Tuesday Closing Buyer Week Two Only
Tuesday Closing Buyer Week One and Two
Tuesday Opening Register Week One Only
Tuesday Opening Register Week Two Only
Tuesday Opening Register Week One and Two
Tuesday Mid Shift Register Week One Only
Tuesday Mid Shift Register Week Two Only
Tuesday Mid Shift Register Week One and Two
Tuesday Closing Register Week One Only
Tuesday Closing Register Week Two Only
Tuesday Closing Register Week One and Two
Tuesday Opening Shelver Week One Only
Tuesday Opening Shelver Week Two Only
Tuesday Opening Shelver Week One and Two
Tuesday Mid Shift Shelver Week One Only
Tuesday Mid Shift Shelver Week Two Only
Tuesday Mid Shift Shelver Week One and Two
Tuesday Closing Shelver Week One Only
Tuesday Closing Shelver Week Two Only
Tuesday Closing Shelver Week One and Two
Wednesday Opening Buyer Week One Only
Wednesday Opening Buyer Week Two Only
Wednesday Opening Buyer Week One and Two
Wednesday Mid Shift Buyer Week One Only
Wednesday Mid Shift Buyer Week Two Only
Wednesday Mid Shift Buyer Week One and Two
Wednesday Closing Buyer Week One Only
Wednesday Closing Buyer Week Two Only
Wednesday Closing Buyer Week One and Two
Wednesday Opening Register Week One Only
Wednesday Opening Register Week Two Only
Wednesday Opening Register Week One and Two
Wednesday Mid Shift Register Week One Only
Wednesday Mid Shift Register Week Two Only
Wednesday Mid Shift Register Week One and Two
Wednesday Closing Register Week One Only
Wednesday Closing Register Week Two Only
Wednesday Closing Register Week One and Two
Wednesday Opening Shelver Week One Only
Wednesday Opening Shelver Week Two Only
Wednesday Opening Shelver Week One and Two
Wednesday Mid Shift Shelver Week One Only
Wednesday Mid Shift Shelver Week Two Only
Wednesday Mid Shift Shelver Week One and Two
Wednesday Closing Shelver Week One Only
Wednesday Closing Shelver Week Two Only
Wednesday Closing Shelver Week One and Two
Thursday Opening Buyer Week One Only
Thursday Opening Buyer Week Two Only
Thursday Opening Buyer Week One and Two
Thursday Mid Shift Buyer Week One Only
Thursday Mid Shift Buyer Week Two Only
Thursday Mid Shift Buyer Week One and Two
Thursday Closing Buyer Week One Only
Thursday Closing Buyer Week Two Only
Thursday Closing Buyer Week One and Two
Thursday Opening Register Week One Only
Thursday Opening Register Week Two Only
Thursday Opening Register Week One and Two
Thursday Mid Shift Register Week One Only
Thursday Mid Shift Register Week Two Only
Thursday Mid Shift Register Week One and Two
Thursday Closing Register Week One Only
Thursday Closing Register Week Two Only
Thursday Closing Register Week One and Two
Thursday Opening Shelver Week One Only
Thursday Opening Shelver Week Two Only
Thursday Opening Shelver Week One and Two
Thursday Mid Shift Shelver Week One Only
Thursday Mid Shift Shelver Week Two Only
Thursday Mid Shift Shelver Week One and Two
Thursday Closing Shelver Week One Only
Thursday Closing Shelver Week Two Only
Thursday Closing Shelver Week One and Two
Friday Opening Buyer Week One Only
Friday Opening Buyer Week Two Only
Friday Opening Buyer Week One and Two
Friday Mid Shift Buyer Week One Only
Friday Mid Shift Buyer Week Two Only
Friday Mid Shift Buyer Week One and Two
Friday Closing Buyer Week One Only
Friday Closing Buyer Week Two Only
Friday Closing Buyer Week One and Two
Friday Opening Register Week One Only
Friday Opening Register Week Two Only
Friday Opening Register Week One and Two
Friday Mid Shift Register Week One Only
Friday Mid Shift Register Week Two Only
Friday Mid Shift Register Week One and Two
Friday Closing Register Week One Only
Friday Closing Register Week Two Only
Friday Closing Register Week One and Two
Friday Opening Shelver Week One Only
Friday Opening Shelver Week Two Only
Friday Opening Shelver Week One and Two
Friday Mid Shift Shelver Week One Only
Friday Mid Shift Shelver Week Two Only
Friday Mid Shift Shelver Week One and Two
Friday Closing Shelver Week One Only
Friday Closing Shelver Week Two Only
Friday Closing Shelver Week One and Two

Then each shift would be assigned to an employee.
If I wanted to schedule monthly exceptions to the rule, and I do, this list of recurring schedule templates would double.
There are some important questions that the current system can’t answer:
How do we know if the employee can work that shift?
If employee X goes on vacation who can fill the shift?

----------- GUI Description --------------

Schedule GUI
The GUI would be similar to:
My Schedule->View='Day', Selected Employees='all', Show='1 Week'

Instead of employee names listed in the left had column labeled employee, there would be shift names:
Opener
Mid-Shift
Closer

Required shifts that do not have an employee assigned to them would be filled in red or otherwise noted. e.g. Opener and Closer shifts
Required shifts that have an employee assigned to them would be green or otherwise noted. e.g. Opener and Closer shifts
Unessential shifts that do not have an employee assigned to them would be filled in yellow or otherwise noted. e.g. Mid-Shift
Unessential shifts that have an employee assigned to them would be green or otherwise noted.

Clicking on an unfulfilled shift would could bring up a list of employees who have the skill set/availability to fulfill the shift.
Select an employee to fill the shift and save it. The shift would then be shown in green.

Administrator GUI - Shift Definition
The shift definition would be changing the recurring schedule template and adding a new definition. Due to a weeks worth of a schedule for an employee would have different start times and stop times there would be a need to define shifts.
For example:
Jane Doe shifts would be:
Saturday - Off
Sunday - Opener 8:00am to 5:00pm
Monday - off
Tuesday - Closer 2:00pm to 10:30pm
Wednesday - Mid Shift 10:00am to 6:30pm
Thursday - Opener 8:00am to 5:00pm
Friday - Mid Shift 10:00am to 6:30pm

All of Jane Doe's shifts Saturday through Friday would be saved in the recurring schedule template as 'Jane Doe'
When Jane Doe no longer works for the company, the new person could be assigned her recurring schedule. But most of the time the new person doesn't have the same availability as Jane Doe. In which case all of the recurring schedules would have to be rebuilt. Not fun when you have more then 10 employees. So the best approach would be to define shifts and fill them with employees.

There could be a new menu item to define a shift:
My Schedule->Shift Definition
This page would have all the elements from Edit Recurring Schedule Template with the exception of using the Week edit box and the Sun through Sat checkboxes.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:33 pm 
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Posts: 254
Thanks for the detailed feature request, we always enjoy getting those. We are exploring the idea of an advanced scheduling module for TimeTrex, one that will hopefully do everything you are looking for and more. Unfortunately such a module will take quite some time to do properly.

The basic idea we have so far is:

- Create "Availability Templates" that employees can fill out to define days/hours they are available to work with priority levels so they can set preferred hours. As well as days/hours they can absolutely not work, and priority levels for hours they prefer not to work. This way the students can define when they have classes, the single dads can define when they have to pick up their kid from day care, and the parents can define soccer practices/school hours to work around.

- Shift Templates that define min/max number of employees working per branch,department, at any given time and probably which branches/departments can share employees and in which directions in order to fill the shift.

- Automatic schedule policies that define criteria for automatically generating schedules based on a wide range of criteria, such as skills/training/certificates, experience levels at each skill, seniority, min/max consecutive days working/absent, conflict resolution methods, such that if two employees prefer the same shift, which one actually gets it, etc...

After all this information is in the system, the theory is TimeTrex will then be able to generate for any given length of time the "best" schedule for all employees. Once the schedule is generated the admin/supervisors could of course easily make one-off changes to it.

The way I see this integrating with the current recurring schedules is that recurring schedules would always take precedence (for the 9-5'ers), then the automatic schedule generator would fill in the "gaps", or just generate the schedule from scratch.

Any comments?

_________________
Mike Benoit


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 Post subject: Exactly!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:05 am 
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That would make TimeTrex completely perfect for what I need. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:04 am 
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Its coming... We are focusing on making TimeTrex multi-lingual right now, but after that advanced scheduling is one of our top priorities as far as major features are concerned.

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Mike Benoit


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Hi,

This looks like exactly what I'm after as well.

Any news on it?

cheers,
Ariel


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:31 am 
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Progress is being made, but much slower then anticipated.

To do it right we need to add many other features in TimeTrex first (like training/certificates) and many additional policies, so this feature is on hold until those are added.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:04 pm 
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I'm actually working on doing this right now. Has any progress been made at TimeTrex?

When I get something working I'll send it your way.

On a side note... How many people work on TimeTrex? Because I'm just a team of one and you guys might finish it before I do.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:31 pm 
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Because this feature is quite advanced and requires so many other features before it can work the way our customers would like, it has been put on hold until those features are completed first, so it will be quite some time before it is implemented from us.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:01 pm 
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
Alas. I have been running TimeTrex for some time now, but am looking seriously at dropping it because my situation, similar to that of the original poster, is just getting too cumbersome to manage.

Has anyone found a solution for this type of availability-based scheduling? I would love to find something.

Good night, and good luck,

--
-Gordon B Lugauer, "the" Board Game Barrister
gbl@BoardGameBarrister.com


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:03 am 
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Location: Athens
any news on the following features?

- Create "Availability Templates" that employees can fill out to define days/hours they are available to work with priority levels so they can set preferred hours. As well as days/hours they can absolutely not work, and priority levels for hours they prefer not to work. This way the students can define when they have classes, the single dads can define when they have to pick up their kid from day care, and the parents can define soccer practices/school hours to work around.

- Shift Templates that define min/max number of employees working per branch,department, at any given time and probably which branches/departments can share employees and in which directions in order to fill the shift.

- Automatic schedule policies that define criteria for automatically generating schedules based on a wide range of criteria, such as skills/training/certificates, experience levels at each skill, seniority, min/max consecutive days working/absent, conflict resolution methods, such that if two employees prefer the same shift, which one actually gets it, etc...

After all this information is in the system, the theory is TimeTrex will then be able to generate for any given length of time the "best" schedule for all employees. Once the schedule is generated the admin/supervisors could of course easily make one-off changes to it.


Regards
(the overall effort is really excellent)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:21 am 
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This feature is still actively being worked on.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:40 am 
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Any update/timeframe on this subject?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:54 am 
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It is still being actively worked on and is one of the top new features we plan on implementing after TimeTrex v5.0 is released.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:54 pm 
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This feature is exactly what we need for scheduling three public service desks in our library. It seems to me that while the automatic scheduling described by the developers would be extremely useful, it is, as they mentioned, extremely complex to implement.
In any case, some simple features could be added to make it easier to schedule a large number of shifts--things similar to the original poster's description of the "Schedule GUI" updates. I don't mind having 112 recurring schedule templates to cover all of my shifts, but currently the method of assigning employees to those shifts is very tedious. Since we have to assign employees to the templates 3 times a year to accommodate the changes in employee availability, the data entry is fairly daunting: first we must create the schedule in Excel so that we can get a visual of it, and then we go to Timetrex to assign each recurring template one-by-one by adding items to the recurring schedule list.

One very simple update:

--When adding a new item to the recurring schedule (the window that opens is called "edit recurring schedule"), allow multiple templates to be assigned at once. This way you could go either way--add multiple employees to one shift, or add all of an employee's shifts for the week at once. One other plus, a user could create an employee called "Shift to be filled" and then assign all of the recurring templates to that single employee. In this way, with one other update, the current system could be used much like the first poster suggested for the "schedule GUI" (see next item).

One slightly more complicated update to allow creation of the schedule in a more visual way:

The Problems: It is very difficult to put together a schedule by adding employees to the hundred or so recurring templates one by one—it’s impossible to tell which shifts have already been filled and we can’t tell which employees have already been assigned. It would be much easier to do this in a visual way, for example by filling shifts/blocks on a calendar. (Right now, I'm creating the schedule in Excel and then transferring, painstakingly, to Timetrex). We can only visualize the schedule in block format in "my schedule--view by day (or week); show one week" if all of the recurring templates have already been assigned. So we could start by assigning all shifts to a fake employee called “shift to be filled,” which is an ok start (notice that this is incredibly tedious unless the simple update above is first made). However, when we begin filling in the schedule we can’t easily change that “shift to be filled” spot to a recurring shift—clicking on it only allows us to add an employee to the shift for up to 30 days.

The Proposed Update: My first request would be to give the user the option of changing “just this occurrence” or “change the series” when they click on a recurring template shift from the calendar view. If they choose to change “just this occurrence” it would open the same window that it does now. But if they choose to change the series, it would open an "edit recurring schedule" window. One other note—this process doesn’t currently change the occurrence, it simply adds a new occurrence. It may be nice to ask the user whether they want to delete the original or keep both the old and the new.

My second request would help with self scheduling—it’s not as simple and not as important to me, though it would be nice. It’s currently possible to change the permissions so that an employee can view and change their subordinates schedules. If we make the fake employee “shift to be filled” a subordinate of everyone, than an employee can log in and see their own shifts and all of the shifts that need to be filled; if the permissions allow changing of subordinate’s shifts, then the user can also volunteer to fill a shift currently staffed by “shift-to-be-filled”. I’ve created a “fake” department called “********Pending Approval—Shifts to be filled”. I’d like if the program can somehow recognize when an employee is self-scheduling and default it to this “Pending Approval” department while at the same time, if the superior has requested it for this particular shift, sending a message to the superior that someone has volunteered.

The superior should then have an easy way of deleting “shift to be filled” from calendar view—right now the only way to do this is to mark the employee (in this case “shift to be filled”) as absent, which is obviously not ideal. The superior could then move the employee from department “pending approval” to the department in which the person will be working (in my case, circulation, reference, or childrens), and it would be nice if a message was automatically sent to the person letting them know when they’d be working. If more than one person has volunteered for a shift, the superior will need to remove the other volunteers from the list—and the system should automatically notify the employee that they are no longer needed for the shift. It would be nice if this could all be streamlined so that it’s very simple for employers and staff.

I thought it might be worth pointing out that most of the structure to make the coverage-based scheduling feature work is already part of Timetrex and that with a few small changes it would run fairly smoothly. I hope your development team will make a few of these small changes while we wait for the big updates to scheduling that they are working on.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:13 pm 
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Thanks for your detailed post, its always nice to hear from people with experience in the areas that we are trying to improve upon.

Quote:
--When adding a new item to the recurring schedule (the window that opens is called "edit recurring schedule"), allow multiple templates to be assigned at once. This way you could go either way--add multiple employees to one shift, or add all of an employee's shifts for the week at once. One other plus, a user could create an employee called "Shift to be filled" and then assign all of the recurring templates to that single employee. In this way, with one other update, the current system could be used much like the first poster suggested for the "schedule GUI" (see next item).


Although I think a small minority of our customers use more than one template per employee at any given time, I think it is a great idea that would require little effort on the part of our developers. Therefore I have added it to our TODO list.

As for the "change the series" feature that you mentioned, TimeTrex v5.0 will have a much more friendly scheduling module, that will include a more "block" based layout that many people are probably familiar with. It will also support drag & drop and mass inline add/edit/delete. By that I mean you will be able to select multiple shifts, over multiple employees, over multiple days in any order that you wish and on mass add/edit/delete them. In fact almost every aspect of TimeTrex v5.0 will have "mass edit" functionality.

In regards to employee self scheduling, this is a much more involved problem. The way that you have mentioned may be an acceptable "work around", but unfortunately it would be too much of a headache for most people, and it hijacks departments for something they aren't designed for. At some point we do plan on implementing a self-service part of the coverage based scheduling that would allow employees to see shifts that need to be filled, and allow them to accept them, or allow them to post their own shifts to be filled. A lot of this comes back to the coverage rules that need to be in place so you don't have (for example) a nurse accepting a shift from a surgeon. The primary goal is a mostly automated system to start with, so even if an employee can't work a given shift TimeTrex would be able to automatically fill it based on the given rules as best as possible.

Please keep the suggestions coming, the more we get the better this module will be.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:42 am 
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Hi!

When is TimeTrex 5.0 with these needed features scheduled to be released?

Eagerly awaiting,
LisaM


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:51 am 
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We are still on schedule to start limited public beta testing by the end of this month.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:18 pm 
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Excellent news, Shaun! Are the new features for 5.0 listed anywhere?

Lisa


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:16 pm 
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Not yet, but they will be available when v5.0 is officially released though.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:17 am 
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shaunw wrote:
Not yet, but they will be available when v5.0 is officially released though.

TimeTrex 5? I thought it is currently at 3.3.2. Are you skipping version 4 entirely?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:25 am 
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Yes, TimeTrex v5.0 will be the most significant new release since TimeTrex began eight years ago.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:33 am 
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Quote:
We are still on schedule to start limited public beta testing by the end of this month.



How does one get selected to be part of the 'limited public beta testing'? I would love to be be a part of it...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:49 am 
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To start, only On-Demand customers will be eligible for testing, we haven't announced plans other than that yet.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:12 am 
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Will those of us using the free version be able to get version 5 when it is released, or will it only be for users with the paid version?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:19 am 
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All editions of TimeTrex, including the free Standard Edition will be upgraded to v5.0 at some point, but as always not all the features will be available in all editions. Exact details will be available when v5.0 is officially released.


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