Tempus Resource 2020 Virtual Conference Recap: Sean Pales, ProSymmetry
The latest Tempus Resource version contains too many upgrades and new features to detail in one article, but Sean Pales, ProSymmetry CEO, concluded the Tempus Resource 2020 Virtual Conference with an in-program tour of nearly every innovative and time-saving enhancement. Driven by the voice of Tempus customers, over 30 updates were unrolled in nearly every aspect of the product. Read on for a few key highlights.
When a resource leaves the organization, reallocating their role across multiple projects (which can involve updating every project, role, rights, and more) can be a messy, painful, and time-consuming process. With Global Replace, you can avoid all that manual effort and simply replace one resource across the entire portfolio with just a few clicks.
Now, users can create and update their skills matrix so that managers, end users, or both have permissions to set values. Enhanced reporting allows for identification of skills, filtering by attributes, export capabilities to PDF or Excel, and heatmaps of skill adequacies and deficiencies.
Resource Requests to Multiple Resource Managers
When a request isn’t tied to location, it can be sent to multiple resource managers for consideration. That way, the role can be filled with the best match and availability, regardless of geography. This request capability greatly expands flexibility and options for every requestor.
Multiple Bulk Project Allocation Flatgrid Updates
Updates include enhanced heatmapping, bulk concurrent editing, column totals, sticky columns and rows that won’t disappear while scrolling, sorting and filtering project and resource attributes inside the flatgrid, and more.
Field Level Security
While maintaining your current security settings, you can now add security filtering and grant new rights to existing users, grant a mix of view or editing rights, or even set rights by individual field.
Backup approvers or submitters can be granted impersonation rights to one or multiple other users with custom time frames and rules—and all can be done in bulk.
A portfolio-level Kanban view is richly formatted and flexible in its view options and manipulation capabilities.
Multiple API Updates
These include the ability to view and retrieve all resource request data, interact with the resource request workflow, and merge datasets.
Excel Import Updates
Expect to find enhanced security group settings for projects and resources as well as assignment-centric updates like automatically expanding project start/end dates based on imported data.
Be sure to watch Sean Pales’s entire presentation to catch many more new, updated, and enhanced Tempus Resource features in resource portfolio management, resource request workflow, BPA flatgrid, administration and reporting, project management, scheduling, API, and Excel importing.
Transcript: Deep Dive into Tempus Resource 5.1
First off, thank you everybody, both presenters and attendees for joining us. We really greatly appreciate all of your efforts and being part of the community. Thanks again. Also, of course, we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these unique times.
Okay. With that being said I’m going to get started. This session is a little bit longer; however, it is a condensed version of a presentation we did recently on the 5.1 release, but I’ve added some additional slides here to put things in context. We’ll also spend some time looking at some of the features and some investment areas as well. In spite of everything that’s going on in the world we are investing very heavily both in features you’re aware of that you’re using as well as a number of others that are on the way, things that are kind of being built and prepared in parallel based on your needs, your requests and then maybe leapfrogging a little bit over some additional capabilities coming soon.
It’s also been great today to hear from a variety of different disciplines and backgrounds. You’ve heard from IT, you’ve heard from R&D, you’ve heard from product development. That’s been really, really helpful. I’m also going to avoid using Power Point, directly using it from the browser so that should avoid some of the screen sharing issues that I am normally the one that has to walk through.
Again, this is Sean Pales from ProSymmetry. I might have met a number of you, we might have worked together. My contact information is here. (email@example.com) After the presentation, I’m also going to make the slides available as well. I’ll jump between both the live instance or instances of Tempus as well as the slide deck and might use some Excel files that are also open in the browser to convey some of the new capabilities of 5.1. So unlike the past presentations, we’ll actually get into the product a bit now and take a look at some of the new capabilities. 5.1 is a big upgrade. There has been a huge number of enhancements and, again, everything is voice of customer driven. Hopefully you’ll like what you’re going to see here today.
So, that being said, let’s move forward, and what I want to focus on first is obviously what we do, which is resource management, resource portfolio management, and a number of enhancements and additional and subsequent slides will further highlight those investment areas.
So, two really big ones here. Again I’ll abbreviate some of these. I won’t go into every specific item with demos. I’m certainly capable of doing that or willing to if you’d like. We have two big ones. Number one is skills matrix and number two is global replacement. Now there’s a whole host of security functionality behind the scenes supporting this so we can choose who can do what especially on the side of the skills matrix, but also on this global replace functionality.
Now if we just think in terms of how we constructed capabilities around our resource pools inside of Tempus, we’ve always had and continue to have this attribution functionality where we can define various skills, roles, departments. I think we support 15 or 16 or so different data types, and then, of course, we’ve had time-based capacity and calendars, administrative time and all the things needed to draw those shale mountain, stacked bar charts identified for heat maps, over/under allocations, and we’ve had, to a certain extent, the ability to manage skills but not to the point where we were fully addressing what was being requested, which was a more continuum driven, high-medium-low, one through five, the various ways and flavors that organizations track and manage skills. This is a new dimension that we’ve added inside of Tempus. We’ve added the capability to set and manage skills. You can define these a number of different ways and you can take a look at this. We’ve added security to allow you to set up how users would actually manipulate the skills data. Is it going to be the command control approach where managers will specify what your skill values are, or is it going to more democratic where end users can go in the system and say, “I am a level five in that type development.” Or, “I’m a level three in contract negotiation,” or whatever those might be. Or is it somewhere in between where we have a mixture of end users setting those values and managers setting those values? So we put into place all the security reports do that and then we’ve also added reporting. So we’ve added reporting capabilities to identify where we have skill deficiencies or skills adequacies. Again, all this available inside of Tempus and all fully secured. You’ll see over the life of the product going forward, the skills matrix functionality plays a bigger and bigger role in a number of other features as you can imagine.
Let’s quickly jump into an instance in Tempus. This is just a demo environment, but it’s fairly well configured to illuminate some of these features. I’ll skip drilling into the security settings since we’ve covered that previously and I can certainly distribute notes on this separately, but again, both global role and resource roles for your security rules have been updated to allow for access to edit and/or view the skills matrix information. If we quickly take a look at our admin settings, and we’ll first browse to our skill categories. You’ll notice this is a new tile here the center of the screen under the miscellaneous section which has grown quite considerably over the years. We now have a screen from which we can create, update, delete the various skills matrix categories. Now the way this works is you would effectively specify the categories, so think of this like a grouping of the various skills you wish to list, and foe those skills or questions or assessments or certifications, whatever you’re tracking here, you’ll choose the unit of measure. Essentially, how are you measuring the skill? Is it a range of 1-5? Is it Boolean, yes or no? Is it a category, low/medium/high? Is it more advanced where we say essentially level of proficiency? Is it low basic demonstrating proficient, etc. Over time we may add to this, but these tend to be the most common mechanisms for measuring this information across our clients and those that are interested in adding this functionality.
So, we can set these things up, now this all flows through into the resources so now if we browse back to our resource management screen for any resource. Let’s go ahead and open a resource. Let’s open Lucas. You’ll notice now that underneath the resource profile there’s a new option for skills matrix. So now when I select the skills matrix, this will load the skills matrix categories for this individual resource and from here I can choose whether read/write access level to apply the various skill values. So here’s the case of security awareness training yes or no, education levels yes or no, or you can see we have a slider type control for a continuum of 1-5. We can set our level of proficiency against any of these values, which again are fully configurable by you. There’s a case for solution level so project development, is the user low, basic demonstrating proficient expert. So again, we can configure all these various skills, matrix categories, allow the end user or manager or others to set these values, and then all this information will flow through. One particular case where I can display that would be on our reports. Let’s go ahead and leave without saving, and there’s a built-in new report that we’ve added so this is accessible underneath all and that’s your skills matrix reporting. When I launch this report, this will return all the resources I’m able to access. You can see the various skills matrix values and categories listed, transposed along the top. You can choose which categories of skills you wish to incorporate; you can filter by various resource attributes. You’ll notice up in the far left options to export to Excel and/or PDF. And then, of course, there’s the heat map. Now the heat map uses logic to identify from green to yellow to red adequacy or inadequacy of any particular skill, so red is where we have issues, green is where we’re essentially proficient or well-staffed according to these various skills. We’ve also added inside of this report additional flexibility that allows an end user to insert additional resource centric attributes. So, if I wanted to filter but then gain additional insight into the various departments or employment basis for these resources, perhaps I’m most interested in filtering by a particular department looking at the resources in this particular fashion. So I can see department, accounting and finance and the resources therein. Again, a lot of flexibility here, but also a roll up of all the skills related information. It’s a pretty big add to the product, we decided to bring it. There will be a lot of new stuff that will follow onto this as we move forward in the product’s life cycle.
Skills Matrix. We jump back to the release notes here or the release document that I’m using, this Power Point.
The second major feature along resource management that we’ve incorporated is, and let me skip ahead here, is this global replace function. I want to add a slide here relative to our past discussion of the 5.1 release notes to really call out the importance of this feature. This is massively valuable, massively important for those of you who have worked in whether it’s Excel or some other spreadsheet type of environment or really any PPM tool. I remember when I was with Microsoft for a number of years reading their PPM toolset in the center of the Midwest, this type of capability was something you never even thought of addressing. There was no way to do it. Tempus now does this with one click or maybe two or three clicks. Doesn’t matter. What this allows us to do is in the event that someone is leaving the company, perhaps it’s a furlough or a reduction in headcount, someone decides to retire, they quit, who knows. You can insert whatever possible reason. Well, that resource is likely in the simplest case allocated to at least one project but likely dozens, tens, who knows how many projects. In some environments it could be hundreds. Well, imagine having to go to each project and perform a replacement. It’s an exceptionally messy and painful activity regardless of tool. We’ve seen and we’re very familiar with pretty much everything that’s out there, and every one of them really requires you to go project by project to make the adjustment, which again, may require having additional rights, introducing additional resources to this process. It might be bringing the PMs in, program managers. In any case, it’s a mess. Really what we’re trying to do is take from a particular point in time forward. We don’t want to address or adjust historical information, historical plan, historical actuals. We want to say that from this point forward wherever that resource is allocated, we want to conduct the swap. We want to remove that resource and instead introduce a different resource, perhaps another named individual, perhaps a generic placeholder demand planning resource or more commonly something like a to be hired or an open requisition. Perhaps you’re getting something synced from something like a workday or something showing you we have an open req for this particular position. Well, inside of Tempus with 5.1 we now have this global release function. You can see here on the screen, this green resource, not a red resource, wherever this green resource is assigned notice at Time N at Time N plus one we essentially do this operation that replaces that resource across the entire portfolio. So massively powerful functionality here especially as you start to, and this might not be apparent when you’re rolling this type of solution out or when you’re going through an evaluation of a tool, it’s really when you get into it and you’re maybe 3, 6, 9, 12 months in or more, you go okay one really important real world capability I need is to go in and do this bulk replace. Otherwise this becomes massively manual and a lot of effort to get this done and do it correctly.
Now inside of Tempus in 5.1 let me show you this and I won’t show you the security, but there are a number of simplifying security standards we put in place so you don’t have to go in and add entitlements or rights to every project to perform this. They’re sort of like at an elevated level global permission that allows this to take place, but we do recognize this will likely be limited to the tool owner, tool administrator, or perhaps more senior level folks in context with the application’s ownership and maintenance.
So, inside the resource management screen there’s a new icon that you’ll see if you have rights to it. Looks like a little person with a little arrow next to it. Let’s pick on, how about, Sam King. On Sam King when I select this resource, global replace function, it’s going to tell me I’m replacing Sam King. I can now choose from the pool any resource I want to use to conduct the replacement. Again, these could be the demand planning resources, other names or to be hired resources. So in this case let’s say we’re going to replace Sam with a generic resource technology manager. I can choose the effective date, so at what point in time going forward in the time phase perspective, where do I want to start and then go into the future wherever there’s assignments or allocation data or demand data for Sam King. So I choose my effective date. I then choose which data sets I wish to conduct the replacement on. Now most of you are likely using allocation, others may also be introducing demand. You can freely turn these on or off, and while it’s highly unlikely you would ever use actuals, which would mean moving the actuals, since again the actuals should be applied to whoever originally put them in, we did add this option, again because we kind of see and hear everything, even some things that maybe we don’t agree with, but we did add that flexibility so a user can transition both a planned allocation plan demand as well as the actuals if necessary with one click. So we would input these parameters and then select save and this should now fire across the entire system. So global replace functionality is massively, massively useful post implementation.
Resource Request Workflow
So, following on with our investment in the number of resource management centric enhancements, there are a number of updates to the resource request workflow. This is another set of functions, again, intricately tied to the resource portfolio management aspect of the product, and all of these again are driven through requests by our customers. So just a handful of them here. Number one. We’ve now enabled multi resource managers. In the past, we had a one-to-one association. John’s manager might be Greg, but if making a request, perhaps there might be multiple managers involved. We see that more frequently in cases of demand planning resources and I’ll show you an example of that in a moment.
We’ve also introduced assignment attribute display inside a requests. So in the past you could provide and the system did provide the project name, the resource, the assignment and other information around the data set and timeframe. What it didn’t pass through were any additional details. Perhaps there’s specific notes, skills you’re requesting, security clearances, knowledge areas, whatever it might be, additional detail that you might want to supply the approving resource managers with in order to make a better decision. I think what we will most commonly see here, what we will see here, is just simply notes, additional details where someone can put in place some text to say I’ve worked with this person in the past and I think they’d be great but I’m open to this and here’s why. So just maybe a basic paragraph or so around what might be necessary. So take a look at that for a minute.
We’ve also introduced a new approval modality. The existing method still exists where approvals can be triggered off any change, just new requests, or threshold based changes percentage or work value. But we’ve added an intermediate approval step called the Trigger Mode. This mode is designed to allow an organization to do their planning and then have a separate individual determine when the workflow actually fires. An example of this might be the initial estimates are performed by a business analyst, but a more senior level project manager or program manager or SME or whomever is then responsible to say, okay this looks good. Now let’s send it forward to managers for review and approval. So it gives you an additional checkpoint in this process before the workflow actually initiates. And what happens is when you set this up you are allowed to use any Boolean assignment custom field of your choosing. If you wanted to create a field called, “Release for Approval” or “PM Approval Authorized” or something like that, once that’s in place and configured, once that value is set, the workflow then would actually initiate.
We’ve also updated some of the approval related fields, so obviously in the past, when we had a one-to-one association, the resource manager was always going to be that resource manager, but now that we have a multi-resource manager capability, whoever actually processes or responds to a resource request could be any one of those resource managers and if someone has two, three, four, five different resource managers, whether that’s a named person or a generic demand planning resource, we have to be able to accommodate that. So you’ll find both in the reporting and the resource request workflow screens the introduction of this “process by” field, so a few changes there.
Before I jump into the actual product to show you some of these things, I will quickly show some slides to illuminate what these mean. So for those of you that are really acclimated in the use of the resource request workflow, this will be pretty straight forward. For those of you that are not, I think this is a good way to put in context what we’ve added. We have, of course, the two different data sets. Again, most of you are likely using just one, but you could also rename them. Whether it’s allocation or demand, we can fire our resource request workflows off of either one of them or both, and these would flow through, and normally I would show this with animation, but again, with sharing Power Point there’s always those risks and I’ll avoid it. Those will flow through to the resource manager who can approve, reject, delegate or provide a negotiated response to the requestor. There’s lots of control along the way. This really big add here is this validation step. You’ll see it’s set as optional, but this allows an intermediate individual, someone to play a role in determining what you are requesting. Is that accurate? Does it need a sanity check? Should we release this? Are we going to embarrass ourselves? Is this going to get immediately rejected? Let’s take a look at it before we now say, okay, ready to go and then it can be fired, so this trigger mode is really a validation step in between the requestor and the approving managers.
Secondly, and I would argue this one is more important, it applies to a much, much larger number of clients globally, is this multi-resource manager capability. In the past, we had a one-to-one association, but if you’ll notice the titles that I used here. These are pretty loosely defined, but it underscores a situation we see quite commonly, we see this a lot in R&D where this functionality is used very heavily although it’s widely used elsewhere, is you might be requesting a particular skill or role or type of resource. In past discussions I’ve used this concept of a research analyst, and I know that hideously vague but insert really whatever skill you’d like and imagine you have research analysts being managed by and available in four different regions, and the regions I have here are USA, Germany, India and Singapore. So we have four facilities where we have these research analysts. In the past you would essentially have to create a one-to-one parent. You’d have to have a research analyst USA, research analyst Germany, etc. and make that request so you’d have to very clearly spell out what you would need, which really would kind of tie your hands a bit as a requestor but you don’t care because if the research is done, there could be cases though where the research has to be done in the US or has to be done in a certain region, but in general, generically speaking, you don’t care if it’s done in the US and Germany, India or Singapore. Well, that’s what this capability will now do. If you imagine a sort of a Venn diagram of an overlap with this green resource sort of being in the dead center of it, we can have multiple resource managers tied to, for example, a research analyst, a generic demand planning resource so when you make the request you don’t have to specify where that resource is. Now you still may do that, but again generically you might say I need a research analyst and then at that point all four of those managers get access to that request. So now you’ve formed a marketplace where all four managers can look at this and they may have conversations offline separately. There may be some back and forth with the PMO requestor, but ultimately whoever has capacity, whoever acts first on this request gets to take ownership of it. So if a resource manager for research analysts in India, if the India manager says okay I’ve got that person, they can immediately satisfy that request. It’s one of the research analysts and away we go. Again in the past, you had to, as the requestor, make that decision ahead of time where that resource had to be. This now massively expanded the flexibility of this marketplace and how we can interact with resource managers.
So, let’s jump into Tempus and we’ll go to a few different places. Perfect. I’m on the resource management screen, and again, this is going to contain a list of all our resources. What you’ll notice now, and I’ve already inserted ahead of time to save a few seconds here, is this resource manager column, again this was previously a single value selection field, and the members of this list are those where the resource manager is set to true. That hasn’t changed. Notice now when we define the resource manager for any particular resource, we can specify not just a single but now you’ll notice this multi selection option where I can choose multiple resource managers. This is going to massively expand the flexibility of those using the resource request workflow.
Now, a second example of what I would like to walk you through is the actual use of the resource request workflow, so for this let’s go to project management and let’s spin up a new project. So, we’ll say create project. We will call this resource request workflow demo 5.1 test. I’ve created like a million of these so I want to make sure the name is unique. Next we’ll go to the allocation tab. We’ll specify our timeframe. It’s going to be a June maybe until the end of the year type of decision, say to the end of the year. In this case, what we’ll create some, again you don’t have to use tasks, but I’m going to do one in this case. Let’s say there’s phase one and then for phase one we’re going to assign a particular resource, so in this case let me select Allison who I know is sent to have approvals. I can also insert at this point my assignment attribute data but let’s first put in the request. So, let’s say that we’re going to need 40 hours per month, drag this across, and then maybe specify an assignment attribute here. I might say that the assignment status is active, the priority is high, everything is high, here are some notes. Please do what I say. Obviously you can put in whatever notes you’d like around the request. Maybe there might be skills you’re looking for, skill one or skill two and skill three and we’ll skip this for now. We’ll come back and talk about it in a moment. Now in this case I’m requesting a named person, but normally these notes might be more helpful against a demand planning resource, but in any case we’ll go ahead and his save and then we will create. So this is all going to fire that resource request. Notice again our indicator. This is a pending request. I’m going to log out and the log back in as an approving manager as Sean. So there we go. We’ve got a new resource request here. When we browse to it, of course you’ll see our one pending request. No changes here. There’s some changes coming to this grid in the next release which we’ll talk about at the end of the presentation. They’re going to be quite helpful. Now, when I drill down into the request, a few changes here. Notice we now have access to the assignment attributes. So now as the approving manager, I can see, it looks like maybe did I not set the values? Okay. All those didn’t come through. I could have picked the wrong things. My apologies. So, we would see those notes and other details for that particular request. Again, you would see the assignment attributes flowing through with that particular request and then could take action accordingly. From that same grid if you jump back, you’ll also notice this is one of the grids from which we will see those processed by fields, so those will now make their place here so there’s process by would be displayed as opposed to the resource manager name.
Then the other feature that I wanted to show was that approval process that includes that trigger mode. If we go back to admin settings here, I’ll just quickly take you to it. We won’t walk through the entire thing, but I’ll quickly show you under general settings and we go to research request. Notice now that we have two new modes at the bottom of the screen for the allocation data set and for the demand data set. They’re both this trigger mode which you can enable on both data sets on either one or the other, and if you turn this on it’s going to keep the existing settings in place here under approval strategy. When this is enabled I can now choose from any of our assignment centric Boolean fields. If I now choose, I have one field here called release for approval. This is a Boolean assignment level field and we save and the workflow will remain in a pending state and a new submission until the associated Boolean assignment field is set to true. This trigger mode enables a much wider array of scenarios, greater involvement from a number of other participants in this resource request workflow process.
Being mindful of time and the fact that everyone’s been so nice and sticking through such a long day and great presentations. I’ll move forward a little more quickly. So those are the resource requests with full updates.
Another feature that is very, very heavily used so we get a ton of feedback comments. We know from Telemetry that this is very, very heavily used, which is our bulk project allocation flatgrid interface. This is used, again, very heavily. It’s a key differentiator allowing users to create new assignments, plan in bulk, get real-time heat mapping or make edits currently with other users involved, so we don’t have to go project by project to update our forecast. We can do everything in one screen, again, without stepping on others’ toes without having to go project by project. The updates here, and there’s both a number of them in 5.1 and a number of them coming, as well as 5.2 which we’ll talk about in a bit, that are very end-user driven. We didn’t think we could get them all in, but we did. So you see, the first three are all really just usability so we’ve added a column total. So a column total lets me see a sum across each individual row, we’ve added additional options in how the scroll will perform, so the row total, if inserted, will now freeze when you’re scrolling vertically and the task column will now freeze when you scroll horizontally.
Lastly, and this is a really big add that’s been asked for for quite some time, that we introduced in 5.1 is the ability to insert project and resource attributes. These are inserted read-only, but they’re available for sorting and filtering inside the BPA Flatgrid. So, let’s jump back to Tempus, and again if you’re unfamiliar, BPA Flatgrid is here, and it’s one of the two bulk planning interfaces and actually to keep things smooth, I’m going to log back out and log in as the other user where I have things set up. So, over the bulk project allocation flatgrid, and again most of you are familiar I’m sure, this allows us to pull together various timeframes, different modes of entry and edit, various projects and resources, concurrent editing, real time heat mapping. First thing you’ll notice while I have it up is that there is a horizontal scroll and you’ll notice we now allow to allow you to default this to lock by task. Previously it was by project. So you would see resource and project and then you would lose context of the task. Now, starting in 5.1, new task remains sticky inside the view. Some of you are actually hiding the task column, in which case this really doesn’t apply because then you would see resource and project but not task. For everyone else you’ll see all three and then as you scroll all three will remain fixed.
Now along the same lines under options, of course we’ve had the total row for quite some time, but something we were missing was as we scroll vertically, you would lose context of the total. Well, that has also been corrected, so if the total row has been inserted, as you scroll vertically you don’t lose context of that total row. So another usability enhancement.
Also, we’ve introduced a show total column so this can now be inserted. So for not all of the measures, but for a number of them you will get a total here for each individual row, which gives you, again, a total of the records for that individual row.
And the last feature I’ll show you in BPA Flatgrid, again a really important add and it comes up a ton, is the ability to introduce attributes beyond just assignment attributes and workflow attributes. So this, by the way, that release for approval concept or that checkpoint in the trigger mode in the resource request workflow, that can be done in bulk. So here’s an example release for approval. If I wanted to release all those workflows from one screen, I could set this to yes and then just do it basically a fill for all those assignments I want to trigger and go through the approval process. That can be done in bulk. You don’t have to go line by line. Going back to our attributes, notice as we scroll through this list, little icons. There’s a little icon that looks like a little person. Those are obviously resource centric attributes. Maybe you want to insert the department value which I don’t have set in this particular case. Or as we scroll through, you’ll also notice the folder icon which is used for projects. So our projects will have a little different icon that looks like a folder, and again, you can insert different attributes here as necessary. Once these are added you can sort by these values, you can also filter using the built-in column filtering options inside a BPA Flatgrid. So a number of updates here and many, many more coming to BPA Flatgrid. Again, this is a very, very heavily used interface and a key differentiator for data management. So those are updates on BPA Flatgrid.
Administration and Reporting
Now a few other updates that I kind of grouped together around administration reporting and one of them is huge. It really should have its own slide but I wanted to consolidate things and not kill you with tons of slides. That first one is field level security. This is a really huge add. This lets you introduce additional security rights or entitlements to individual custom attributes. What does that mean? First it means that all of your existing security still plays a role. You don’t have to change anything. There’s no new reconfiguration of your security required. This is sort of an add-on of additional security filtering based on your existing security infrastructure. This means I can add new rights where if a user has rights to a field, I can now say that only these people can actually edit the field but you can retain your review rights. You could selectively set the security on a field by field level basis. We’ll jump to this in a moment.
The second item here is bulk impersonation. Those of you who are using the resource request workflow and are setting up backup approvers, those of you who are using the time sheeting functionality that needs to set up backup approvers or backup submitters, you can now do this in bulk. So instead of having to create rules one-by-one, which can be tedious and time consuming, you can now set up rules in bulk. You can do that with a number of clicks and then generate 10, 20, a hundred rules with just one action as opposed to doing it item by item.
And then lastly here, we’ll walk through each one of these, we added additional support inside our pivot group report writers where we have our heat map or conditional formatting. So we extended this to move from beyond just integer values to using precision values inside of reports. Let’s take a look at this. So we’ll jump back inside of an instance of Tempus and we’ll browse to admin settings and now let’s go ahead and release those changes and now under attribute management, notice each attribute we now have a little icon. It looks like a little person with a shield. In this particular case there’s project business sector and what I’ll do here is I’ll click on this icon and this brings up a pop-up from which I can set the users or groups that can view the field and the users and groups that can edit the field. Now a typical case here might be finance related attributes, may be contract set-up related attributes, or even cases where you wanted to introduce updates via the API only. So for those of you who, in the past, have used the toggle inside the custom attributes to disable UI based edits or basically locking of the field and then do a bulk insert by opening and closing the field to the API can now leverage this attribute level security to allow just the API to make updates to the field and you could simplify the code around it. So there’s a number of updates here, a number of downstream impacts that will be quite beneficial to end users as well as those that have built integrations. So, in this case, if we wanted to take project business sector and make it editable to only specific users, we can disable everyone having rights, and that everyone means whoever has been given rights as a result of all the existing security. It doesn’t mean that any security rights have changed; it just means that anyone who had rights to it can still have it. But now what we’ll do is further refine those editing rights to just specific users, maybe Beverly, Lewis and George Reed. Or we can use groups. In this case, I’ll also set the administrators so they have all the rights. Once implemented the icon color coding will change and that will now flow through throughout the interfaces both inside the PM and RM grids as well as other interfaces where those fields are present for edit and for view. So that’s a really, really big update. Lots of benefit there.
If you remember, impersonation is defined underneath access management under the admin console and that’s here. In the past when you created a new rule you would select create and you would choose one impersonator and one resource being impersonated and you’d set your timeframe. Starting in 5.1, we can now choose create, select the impersonator and we can say that maybe Joyce can be the impersonator and now we can choose who Joyce will impersonate. This is where we can basically select everyone in the entire company, so if you had a rule like that, and it’s not totally uncommon where maybe one person just administratively is going to be a backup for everyone, maybe your PMO lead, your PMO backup or whomever. I can now choose one or multiple users here that can also search at the top of this name. So we’ll create, in this case, six or so various connections or impersonation rules. Again, we would define our time range, maybe this month until the end of the year. And now we would choose again which rights they have. These users, let’s say, are going to be those who can approve timesheets and maybe also submit them, Joyce on behalf of these others and select create. Well now notice we’ve generated six rules with just essentially one operation versus having to go and create Joyce for Allison, Joyce for Amy, Joyce for Carolyn. Again, we do it all with one operation versus doing it one-by-one. So, massively beneficial for those administering Tempus. Again, a very much real-world type of adjustment or enhancement to the product.
Next, while I’m here, let’s jump over to report management. So this gets back to the conditional formatting inside of a report. In this case I already have a report built called, “Resource Heat Map by Title,” and this is where I’ve basically grouped resources by title. I have my timeframe and my columns and as I drill down you’ll see the various color coding illuminated. And you’ll also notice these are all, of course, precision numbers; they’re not integer values. You’ll notice the color gradients changing within the precision number, various strata. Well, if we go into the report definition by selection edit, we’ve expanded this functionality beyond what was there in 5.0. You’ll now notice report pivot red heat map now fully supports precision number values. Again, a little minor thing, but something that was widely and heavily impactful to a number of folks who were looking to create more heat map style reports and apply more conditional formatting especially on calculated measures or where ratios are utilized or generally wherever precision number values really output inside of a report.
Administration and Reporting (continued)
Just when we thought we’d get simple, we get more really big features so another really, really big add, and this one has come up quite a bit, is introducing a Kanban view. I personally thought, how is this going to be used, why are users going to think this is so valuable, I don’t get it. Well, I’ve been converted. This minute it launched I immediately switched to using it. It’s massively valuable whether you’re looking at projects by timeframe, release schedule, area of the business. We use this internally. In fact, I’m going to take you to this when we talk about the futures of Tempus in a little bit to show you certain investment areas where I’ve moved some data that’s not heavily proprietary, but again, Kanban view that’s been added. This is really a portfolio level Kanban. This is not inside of your project, this is not a DevOps style, you know here’s the team, here’s a specific test, this is portfolio level, but all the richly formatted capabilities you’d expect, being able to move items between swim lanes, between columns, card formatting, board formatting. There’s a lot of it. There’s also a lot of advanced security. You can choose who can view and who cannot, who can interact with the Kanban view so we’ll take a look at that in a minute.
We’ve added some other options here. Simple things, a bit smaller. One of them if you’re aware of the option to copy dataset information between the demand and allocation and vice versa. We added some flags to turn that option off. That was a hindrance for some clients. We’ve also added some illustrations and highlighting in the product to show the current period. You’ll see that in the SPA grid. We’ve added some additional data validation warnings on certain date changes from the PM grid display. And then we’ve updated cloning security, so when we do cloning now the end user doesn’t have to have rights to create new projects, which was an impediment for a number of clients who really wanted to strictly isolate how users could actually create new projects and didn’t want to give the rights to create brand new. They wanted them to start from templates or sort of parametrically start from existing projects.
Let’s jump into Tempus and the first place I’ll take you obviously since it’s so cool is the project management screen. We actually have another view shipping in 5.2 but I’ll wait to talk that in a bit. This is our conventional grid view and actually before I switch to Kanban, I’ll quickly talk about a few features here. One of them is in the event that we’re looking to change a date, a user with rights or without, if they don’t have rights it’s not a problem, but if users have rights to change dates, you could run into scenarios where if someone tries to change a date and they could truncate certain records in that project so we’ve added more functionality here, more validation to warn you that a data loss is possible and the default option here is cancel versus the default being, oh yeah, that’s fine. So again, they’re not worrying about people having the ability to do this or release bad warnings, we’ve now made the cancel the default so that’s pretty straightforward.
So on the matter of cloning, if you’re unaware, we’ve had this clone function in the product for a bit, but the security required to do this also required that the end user also had rights to create new projects. We’ve now removed that coupling so end users now can create clones of project templates or existing projects they have rights to without having rights to create brand new projects. What does that mean? It means the end user can’t just go here and create something from scratch. It would give them rights to clone without having this right to start from scratch, so this is more of a process heavy requirement that has been added. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s still correlated security settings that are necessary, but one that we have removed that was the most impairing is this create project dependency, so we’ve made that update as well.
Over to Kanban now. Notice that we have a new option now directly to the left of the grid view which is called Kanban. Here is my default Kanban that I can build on my own or share with others. You’ll notice that in this case I have my various columns as sort of project stages, prospect, proposal, active, on hold, archive. And then I have my swim lanes as areas of the business, asset management, consulting, construction, etc. You’ll also notice inside of this I have various, and this is all just sample made up data here and there’s nothing that’s real, again you can interact with these data, you can drag and drop between the various columns if you wish to do so. So you can move these things around a little, update the underlying data. You can move both between the columns and between the swim lanes as necessary. You can make your views default; you can lock them so they can’t be manipulated. If you go to your board settings or create a new storyboard, you’ll notice options to set your board name and then you have three tabs here to configure your Kanban view. One of them is the board layout, the other is the card layout, and the third being permissions. This is something we’ll start bringing to the other capabilities in the product, but at the moment it’s only available in Kanban. So looking at the board layout, you can choose your columns using any of your project centric custom fields, so perhaps something like if you want to group by project help and then what are the values of project help we’re going to introduce. Maybe there’s red, yellow, green. So those have now been introduced. You can choose their ordering. Perhaps you want green to the far left and then you want yellow and red, so we can change this layout here so green, yellow, red. You can then choose the swim lanes, which you don’t have to have, but you may want to group them by the current phase. And then a lot of options around if you want to enable swim lane drag and drop, show empty swim lanes, show swim lane item counts, sorting. So those are our board layout options.
Card layout. You can choose attributes to display, perhaps the client, a contracting entity, PMO comments, execution office, any of the attributes you created, project director, and you could certainly add more. You could add up to three inside the card itself, maybe project help as well and you can choose how card color coding is performed, again, by the phase of the project, by really any of the attributes so if we chose project health and you have red, yellow, green so how about green will be green and yellow is going to be maybe this yellow-ish color as well. And then lastly we have permissions. This gives you options to choose who can view and who can edit this individual Kanban view so you can make this view more widely available on your own by sharing it as opposed to having each user need to create their own. And then you can simply select save so it’s really simple to create these Kanban views and its exceptionally useful and very usable and easy to work with. There’ll be more enhancements coming to this as well. We already have customers on 5.1 giving us feedback, for example, editing the attributes by double clicking and then drilling down to the project. Those things are coming. Right now it’s mostly view and the manipulation by dragging and dropping between the various sections.
Two other quick things to show you while I’m here. Let’s drill down into a project. Let’s go to one that’s a little bit newer. So let’s go to how about Laguna phase four. So this new feature here is the ability to see the current timeframe so we’ve added some color coding here to more easily tell. Now when you’re in quarter, month or week mode, it’s going to tell you that’s the current time period, but when we switch down to day, it will give you the actual current day and it will say today. That’s also been added.
This icon that I mentioned earlier in the notes is something you can turn on or off now. This is that copy data set information, so if you’re using both data sets you have rights to the target data set meaning the opposite, this little icon will appear, which allows you to move the data into the other data set. It facilitates a number of sort of unique scenarios. Perhaps you’re starting with the demand data set early on in the forecasting process, and then you’re evolving in terms of how the project is operating and its approval process to now where you’ve gone through the allocation it is in. You want to simply copy the data and to manipulate. So that’s really what it’s there for and it facilitates those types of scenarios. Again, you can now hide that icon underneath your general settings.
Okay, so we’ve talked about some of the PMDs.
We’ve talked about this briefly. If you’re unaware, in 5.0 we did introduce a full critical path scheduling set of functionalities. I won’t cover these in too much detail given the timing because I do want to get to features and I still want to be respectful of your time. It’s no longer in Beta mode. We’ve added a number of enhancements here: long stability, re-indexing, color coding, label updates. We’ll continually add to this functionality. I think a number of presenters today showed you screen captures of this scheduling functionality. This is again designed to augment the existing forecasting capabilities of our product. It doesn’t take us off of our core principles of what the product is built on. It’s just that the realities of many of our customers, especially as we’ve gone through this huge growth cycle, is hey we want to take a number of users off of their desktop scheduling tool sets and put them in Tempus. Or there’s projects that go from demand to allocation and then ultimately to execution where we then want to build out a waterfall type schedule. We don’t want to use it for forecasting planning or for time sheeting but we want to know the timing of various activities, you want to leave in lag time, we want to know additional milestones in a Gantt style view so this gives you additional flexibility in how you forecast plan and introduce more users to Tempus. So we’ve made some updates on the scheduling functionality.
Those of you who integrate Tempus in other systems utilizing API, a number of updates, three of which are pretty big, the third one in this case is huge, and we’ll continue to make updates on the API, which again you’ve heard from other speakers, is quite robust and used very heavily. The first is the ability to get all resource request data. Those of you who are tying Tempus in with other systems or other reporting vehicles, whether it’s through our exporter product where you might be pushing data to a warehouse or on your own, or writing it into a warehouse that might again be peered into via another reporting solution, just get all resource requests, this get all resource functionality lets you do that. There’s a built-in view in Tempus that lets you view all resource requests; we now have it essentially available programmatically so you can retrieve all the resource request data in your reporting, externally or for other purposes. We also added along the same lines the ability to programmatically interact with the resource request workflow. The interactions you could take would be: approve, reject, delegate. Obviously, inside of Tempus you could do the same and you could also conduct a negotiated response. So approve, reject and delegate are now all part of the API so we’ve added end points there, where again if you wanted to leverage a third-party tool set, write your own custom app, build some kind of IOS app that can do this stuff, it’s totally up to you. We see all sorts of wild stuff getting created, but now through the API you can conduct those resource request workflow actions.
This third item here is API dataset merge. It sounds innocuous, sounds pretty boring, and I guess you’d say it is, but it’s massively valuable, both for performance as well as for the flexibility for those writing integrations. In the past, if you did an update to an assignment inside of Tempus, so the assignment is there but you now want to make an update to it, you had to update the entire dataset for that particular assignment. So, imagine an assignment spanned 2020 to 2025, a five-year long research activity and you wanted to update one individual day, one individual month or week, well you had to pass in the entire array. Not only is that complex and you’re pushing in more than you’d like to, it’s also could be a performance hindrance as you could expect. You’re just passing in more information than is necessary. The dataset merge is very similar to, and this might be over simplifying it but that’s okay, it’s very similar to the Excel merge where if I’m updating just a specific day or week or month, I can do that programmatically for that section of the overall array. I don’t have to pass in all five years. I could pass in just the records for that contiguous timeframe that I’m updating. So I can pass in just the update for January 2021 versus all months, all years of that assignment. This is really big for those doing integrations and updating records inside of Tempus.
Then we’re in the home stretch here. The last section, there’s also been updates on our integration capabilities. We’ve added some integrations with some more tools, we’ve added more filters and functionality on our integrations, but I’m not going to spend much time on those. We can talk about them separately or you can access the release notes separately. What we have done here with Excel Import, we have made a number of critical updates. So those of you moving onto the platform, just getting started, those of you who have processes whereby you continually update Tempus with Excel, those of you that are integrators or implementation specialists, this will be really, really valuable. A number of these updates will be quite helpful in saving you a lot of time and giving you more tools in the toolbox when utilizing Tempus.
The first of them is setting security groups. In the past we did not allow you to set projects or resource security groups. The groups still have to exist, but now we can set those values through an Excel update or upload of project data or resource data. So both now include the ability to leverage that column.
We’ve also added an ability for the assignment import. Actually the next three are all assignment centric, the ability to insert zeros. Now, in the past if there was a contiguous array and somewhere in between a starting and ending point you had zeros, we could handle that, but if you wanted to simply say if the next six months, and I’m only showing the next six months, those are all zeros. We skipped that assignment and basically say that the update is null, we won’t accept it. Well now we do. So it’s a helpful way now if you had to clear data for just a specific timeframe, you can now do that by inserting zeros in the assignment in the task input.
We’ve also added a new column called Action inside of the assignment import template. Right now the only action we support is delete. The benefit of this again is if you wanted to clear a dataset for a specific assignment, you don’t have to fill out the time phase data, you don’t have to specify the time period or the allocation type, you could simply say I want to delete that record. You can now do a mass delete or a limited delete using this new action function inside of the assignment import.
And then we’ve also added, and this one is my personal favorite with Excel, is auto expand project start and end date. I can’t tell you the number of clients, the number of those that are put on our pre-sales process that are just getting started, and this also underscores why Excel is just terrible and Excel-like tools are terrible at doing this work is because here’s the typical case. Clients will send to us or they’ll do an import and their project start and end dates will show let’s say one example might be a project starts January 2020 and ends December 2020 so it’s a year-long project. Okay, that’s great. That gets imported perfect. Now we go to insert or upload the assignment data, again they’re tracking in Excel or some other Excel-like tool. Well, there’s no governance in those types of tools so the time series data might show the allocation data started in 2015 and the actuals or the plan data go until 2025. So now both the start and/or end dates are violated, so Tempus goes, that doesn’t make any sense. You told us it was 2020 lifespan, but you giving us data over a five-year window. That’s extreme. Or maybe it violates just the start date or just the end date, so what we generally had to do was, we had a number of Excel tools or customers would write their own to kind of figure out where there was a problem. Well, starting in 5.1 you now have a new flag inside the import of assignment data that says Tempus will auto change the start and end date of your project to accommodate those messy data that are coming from Excel or the Excel-like tools and will update those dates for you. Massively useful. Even personally this is a huge time saver for me when I am assisting one of our team members.
So let me jump over to Tempus and I’ll quickly illuminate those. Again, these Excel import related functions of course are under data synchronization, and you’ll see them specifically under the Excel tile, which you’re all familiar with. Now the updates in this particular slide cover import resource, import project and import assignments. While we’re on import assignments, notice this new option here, auto- adjust project date for assignment. It’s off by default, but when we enable it when you bring over the Excel data that totally violate the roll-up data, it will auto-adjust these start and end dates to accommodate, frankly, the deficiencies of doing this in Excel. Perfect. This will now adjust for you. Massively helpful.
Now to illuminate the other updates here, what I’ve got inside of this other tab, is Excel open with multiple tabs, and you’ll notice first there’s an example of the resource import file. We now have a new column called Security Group. This lets you set, you don’t have to set, security groups for your resources. The same goes for projects, there’s a new column here for security group, so you can set security groups for projects. Again, the value does have to exist already. Remember those are set administratively underneath your global configuration. So, if you go back to Tempus, go back here to admin section, the project security group and resource security group. Those values have to exist first, and they can then be leveraged here. Obviously, if the value you use doesn’t exist, it’s going to skip that update.
Also clearing. There’s a case where we now have the Action column, which is where we can now leverage the leads, so this is a new function inside of the Excel Import. This gives us, again, the ability to clear an assignment, project A, an architecture review. I don’t have to tell you the data input, I don’t have to tell you the allocation type (plan or actual), I don’t have to tell you the timeframe. I’m telling you to delete it. This means that either the allocation or demand I would have to tell you that gets cleared. I don’t have to specify anything else. So really, really valuable. That one comes up quite a bit on our support side.
The last feature is inserting of zeros. Now again, something like this right here has always been supported. 80 80 80 00 120 is a contiguous entry where we had sort of zeros inside of the array, which is okay because it said, you’ve got a start. You’ve got an end. Looks good. What we didn’t support would be these two highlighted scenarios where I’m saying for this entire window of time from 1/1/2020 to 5/30/2020 clear, basically zero output data. This is now supported. The same here. This entire array that we’re working with, even though it’s a merge operation most likely insert that entire array of values which would be zeros. So all really, really helpful things.
That’s been our deep dive into 5.1, but I’d like to take just a few minutes covering, and I know I hit my timeframe but I think it’s worth it, is looking at futures. So along with everything you might be aware of that we’re working on, there are also some huge parallel investments beyond what’s seen publically. This is probably impossible to see so let’s just take you to an instance in Tempus where I’ve inserted some of these items you can see more around this futures roadmap. Some of these are known; some are not, but we’ll certainly call them out. Let me take you to this Kanban style view and let’s collapse some of these sections. This is roadmap stuff. It’s always subject to change but the things you’re seeing in Q3 are pretty much basic and those will certainly be there. Now these are mostly higher level items. We’re not focusing on very detailed smaller items so if you’re a customer that we’ve talked to or you’ve submitted an item and you don’t see it, don’t worry. Don’t be concerned. You can always reach out to us. We have it in backlog. This is not our backlog. These are just specific items worth calling out. So, I’ve laid these out, again using Tempus Kanban, and let me zoom in. So, here’s Q3 2020 and I have these grouped into generically certain investment areas. We have Advanced Insight, Core Tempus, RPM, this is our key stuff, Resource Portfolio Management, Strategic Decision Making and Workflow and Automation. Some core Tempus items you’ll notice in Q3, we’ll be introducing options for admin time import and admin time reporting and admin time API interaction. We’ll be rolling out report folders. That’s another pretty big one that comes up quite a bit. Looking out to Q4, we’ll be rolling out our work with expanding our dashboarding functionality, what’s there today, investing pretty heavily. There’s also a project management Gantt, so where we have the Kanban view, we have the grid, there’ll be a Gantt style interface. That’s likely to land in Q3, but I have it showing here in Q4.
Looking at our resource portfolio management, this is really our key bread and butter. This is what we do. As you notice, a number of items here. More functionality on BPA Flatgrid. We’ll be introducing views. You can create your own views inside of BPA Flatgrid. You can create multiple views. We have a federal energy regulatory committee planning grid so this is for a number of customers in that power generation space where we’ve been quite successful so there’s a specific grid that will allow you to input and manage against capitalization rates. This is another unique grid. Really isolated for just those scenarios.
More field availability in the resource request approval grid, so you’ll be able to review projects and resource custom fields just like we have the availability to do inside the BPA Flatgrid.
We’ll be expanding the ability to input planned actual remaining inside of BPA Flatgrid beyond current capabilities.
And then we’ll be pretty significantly expanding upon the resource replacement grid in FPA view. Right now it’s kind of an all or nothing replacement.
We’ll be introducing more contouring, very similar to the resource request workflow grid when doing replacements at the SPA level.
On the strategic decision making side of things, this one we’re all really looking forward to. This is an advanced portfolio construction analytic, so this will be very closely tied inside of Tempus What If. This will give you the ability to essentially build multiple RAR reports of a shale, heat, stacked bar, mountain chart style reports and essentially see the effect of introducing multiple projects and see where you start to breach capacity on critical resources and non-critical resources.
Other tools out there called these such things above the line, below the line, ours is going to substantially more sophisticated and capable and of course we’ll tie in with our entire what-if analysis pack of capabilities so this is going to be a huge release, huge capability that we’ll have in Q3.
Let’s get back to workflow automation. So those are some of the big items for Q3. Looking out to Q4 and beyond, advanced insight. So these are some big investment areas for us. You’ll see more things around AI coming out, so very similar to what Lloyd had mentioned, what Eric had mentioned and also what Donna spoke to especially when Donna was talking about around AI and machine learning really being there to augment people and make you more productive, not to be the Star Trek type of tool that suddenly changes your whole world. These are things to identify where you have additional opportunities beyond what you might now know today. Where do your data not match what you’ve planned in the past? So parametrically driven around who’s planning and the type of project. So more AI type of assistance. Also around things like where are fields missing? Where are fields not set correctly? Really this early release of AI tech assistance is going to be around data clean-up and helping you avoid having to spend more of your time doing the basics, basic blocking and tackling and focus on using the inside game from Tempus. So AI work both in Q4 and Q1 of 2021 and that will expand out. We’ll also be expanding on Tempus what-if assignment actions doing more things like canceling, bulk replacing, inside the what-if analysis. We’ll be looking to do more on the what-if project drill-down so doing some of the things we had in the Silverlight Edition, splitting projects, changing assignments, moving phases and stages the what-if level versus some of the more high level actions. And then you’ll see more things Q1 around portfolio velocity. More of a predictive analytic especially tied to more heavily around Kanban portfolio planning and see what goes in, what goes out and then help other people that understand what can those WIP limits really handle. We’ll be seeing more of that.
Core Tempus stuff. There’s so much here, but I just wanted to put some big ones in for Q4, expanded dashboarding and of course that PM Gantt. If we look at our PM functionality, Q4 stuff, we’ll be looking more at resource request editing as a request by the approving manager, more security around actual and plan data, likely from refactoring around the SPA grid itself. Making it almost identical to what you have inside the BPH Flatgrid like assignment, custom field insertion, essentially more flexibility inside the individual project planning grid, similar again to what you see in BPA Flatgrid.
Under strategic decision making, again we’re limiting a lot of what’s displayed here, but integrated road mapping. So Tempus fits, and many of our clients are asking for this, the key advisors for the company are also pushing for this pretty heavily and it makes a lot of sense. Our customers are taking early-stage investments and walking through a planning process and from the resourcing side and increasingly from the financial side, we need to be focused more heavily on introducing more road mapping type of functionality and road mapping type of communication. Again, fits very closely in how research forecasting is done, whether it’s IT, product development, R&D, so again fits very closely in the core capabilities and product.
One other area that I’ll talk about is workflow and automation and we can wrap up here. There’s a big effort I think. Some of you have seen it. It’s being used right now for integrations and for automation, it’s our new product we’re working on called the Tempus Orchestrator. This will allow you to build really any type of triggered workflow and it will also play a role in more demand management or portfolio level workflow capability that you’ll see later in the year and into Q1. And that also ties into more dynamic forms and lists. That might also leverage some of the Tempus sheets functionality that many of you are using today as well.
So a number of investment areas. Again, the key piece here is resource portfolio management. We’ll continue to pour investment dollars into that and then some of these other tangential areas that are critical to doing this the right way. I think this aligns with what many of our speakers have mentioned as ongoing to points of value, to help them drive more benefit to their business over time.
So, that being said, thank you everyone for attending. Again, presenters and attendees, we really greatly appreciate your participation, we greatly appreciate your participation in the community, and customers if there’s anything we can do for you, just let us know.