Effective planning using Snapshots in Rational Team Concert
Sharoon Shetty Kuriyala, IBM
Last updated: May 19, 2012
Build basis: Rational Team Concert 4.0
In a plan, you can use snapshots to monitor plan progress and analyze trends during the initiation, execution, and completion of the plan.
OverviewA plan snapshot captures the current state of the plan, the work items in the plan and their schedules, the team area that owns the plan, and the iteration that the plan is created for. You can manage snapshots on the Snapshots tab of the Plan view. Three types of snapshots are available:
- Regular: This type of snapshot is typically taken at significant events during planning. You can have any number of Regular snapshots. The dates stored in this type of snapshot are not used in the Plan view or work item editor.
- Planned: This type of snapshot captures the committed version of plan. The start and end dates that are captured in this snapshot populate the Planned Start and Planned End dates, which are displayed by default in the Schedule Variance view of the plan. Only one Planned snapshot can exist at a time.
- Proposed: This type of snapshot is available for traditional projects, such as projects created by using the Formal Project Management process template. Typically, a Proposed snapshot is created before resources are allocated to the project. The start and end dates captured in this type of snapshot populate the Proposed Start and Proposed End dates, which are displayed by default in the Schedule Variance view of the plan. Only one Proposed snapshot can exist at a time.
Initial PlanConsider the first phase of planning, when the project manager creates an initial draft of the major work items to be implemented in that phase or iteration. The plan does not have resources assigned yet. The project manager includes the required work items and creates dependencies and constraints as needed. Schedule Variance view of the plan.
Plan with resources assignedThe project manager assigns the resources allocated to the created work items and adds dependencies (predecessor links). The start date and end date of the work items in the plan are automatically adjusted to accommodate the availability of the assigned resources along with the constraints and dependencies among the tasks as previously defined in the plan. Schedule Variance view, and signify that the plan has been committed.
If work is scheduled for the plan that does not fit within the range between the start and end dates of the iteration, the project manager can adjust the dates by using the rolled up start and end dates of the work items in the plan. For example, in the following image, the iteration start date is 19 May 2012 and end date is 19 June 2012. Based on the schedule of the work items in the plan, the work starts on 21 May 2012 and ends on 18 June 2012. The Planned snapshot represents the committed state of a plan, hence the project manager can choose to automatically update the iteration dates by using the rolled up values of the schedule of the work items. Otherwise, the project manager must use the project area editor to update these dates.
Note: This option is available only in projects created using the Formal project management template.
Note: The planned start and end dates are not populated in the work item editor if there are no planned snapshots taken for the plan that is associated with the iteration the work item is targeted for.
Compare proposed and planned snapshotsThe project manager can compare the Proposed and Planned snapshots to analyze the changes since the initial plan was created.
In the Schedule Variance view, the project manager can compare the current plan with the committed plan. Changes are indicated by differences between the current start and end dates and the Planned start and end dates. The Planned start and end dates are populated from the Planned snapshot. In addition, the Planned Time Variance attribute indicates the difference in days between the current start date and the Planned start date for a given work item. This column is not added by default to the Schedule Variance view, but it can be added like any other column.
Process customization for formal project management. In the following image, the Proposed snapshot type is renamed to Iteration Start, the Planned snapshot type is renamed to Iteration End, and the Regular snapshot type is renamed to Iteration Progress. Also, a new custom snapshot, Before Assignment, is added.
Along with the other planning tools, snapshots can help stakeholders plan and execute a project as they create an initial proposal schedule, commit a plan, and monitor its progress.
About the author
Sharoon Shetty Kuriyala is the component lead of the team developing the Planning capabilities for Rational Team Concert. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2012 IBM Corporation
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