Improve project planning with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Posted by Ute Gillet on Nov 3, 2020 12:52:56 PM

The Jobs module of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is largely designed for project-savvy companies (like engineering-to-order,  construction, or project services companies) to help them gain better control of their projects. The module seems to mostly focus on the aspects of financial project controlling rather than on the requirements of a day-to-day project management. And, what's more, especially the jobs module "buries" data in a deep hierarchy of tables: jobs, job tasks, job planning lines and resource allocations.

In this blog post I'll show you how you can easily complement your Business Central system with interactive project Gantt charts as well as resource Gantt charts. With this, you can see all of your project data at one glance and plan your projects visually per drag and drop - both time-wise and resource-wise.

Dynamics 365 BC: Focus on the financial aspects of projects while missing scheduling-related information

Controlling a project is pretty demanding: The planner has to take into account not only resource allocations, but also resource costs and consumption (actual vs. plan), item consumption, project booking principles (percentage of completion method with its multiple variants) etc. The Dynamics 365 BC Jobs module meets these highly complex challenges by bringing together data from different Business Central modules.

The initial outcome is a list of projects (the Jobs list) providing a high-level overview of the projects and some key financial indicators.

Improve project planning with Business Central - Jobs card

The list shown above vividly indicates the financial focus of the Jobs module as it does not provide any planning and scheduling related information such as time frames and timeliness of projects, not even when drilling down into one project by viewing and editing Job Tasks and Job Planning Lines.

The job tasks  provide the general structure of the project's sub tasks, defining the hierarchy of the project’s tasks. And although they also provide time-related information such as task start and finish date there’s no opportunity given of properly scheduling by way of creating and working with dependencies between job tasks such as start/start, start/finish, finish/start and finish/finish relations. This, of course, also means that there will be no automatically updating of dependent tasks if one task has been changed. This has to be done manually.

Improve project planning with Business Central - Job Task list

 

The function of the Job Planning Lines basically lies in the allocation of resources to a job task, this being an important aspect of project management as it affects the "delivery side" of a project. However, the standard Dynamics 365 Business Central does not indicate resource conflicts so that planners don't get a warning, if e.g. they assign the same engineer to two different projects at the same date. What is more, when allocating resources to tasks, the ERP system users cannot immediately see to which degree these resources are already planned to work on different project tasks. 

 

Let interactive Gantt charts do the job

The value of a Gantt chart is widely appreciated among project managers. An interactive Gantt chart allows to control, manage and modify projects easily, quickly and comfortably. Since these valuable intuitive project planning capabilities are not offered by Dynamics 365 Business Central, why not simply add them to your ERP system? 

The Visual Jobs Scheduler (VJS), our fully integrated Gantt extension, is an interactive planning table which offers the above described functionalities (and more!) that are missing in Dynamics 365 BC and will help you to "tune up" your ERP system comprehensively and in no time. 

Improve project planning with Business Central - Visual Jobs Scheduler - Resource View

 

Intuitive scheduling capabilities of the Visual Jobs Scheduler make your planning easier and faster

Believe me - the complete list of all the powerful and comfortable scheduling features of the VJS would be too long for this one post, so I have made a small but fine selection and can now show you some of the key benefits the VJS will bring to your planning. For detailed information visit our website, follow the links in this post, or browse our knowledge base.

 

  • Automatic rescheduling with drag and drop
    Visually plan jobs, job tasks and job planning lines and resources by simple mouse actions such as drag & drop. You can even move a whole project with one mouse action as you can see on the right.

 Improve project planning with Business Central - automatic rescheduling with drag&drop

   
  • Dependencies
    Implement and visualize dependencies of job tasks by simple interactions. These links will, of course, be taken into account for the planning.

Improve project planning with Business Central - visual jobs-scheduler-create-links-interactively
   
  • Create new job planning lines interactively

    The "creation mode" of the VJS shows a list of your resources (in the Job View) or a list with all your jobs, job planning lines and job tasks (in the Resource View) so that you can interactively assign a resource to a task or a job task to a resource by dragging it from the list to the chart.

Improve project planning with Business Central - create new job planning lines interactively
   
  • Progress information
    See at one glance how far a job task or even the whole project is advanced.
    • The job's progress is shown as green line below the job bar.

    • The progress of a job task is shown as numeral below the job task bar.



Improve project planning with Business Central - see progress information of job

Improve project planning with Business Central - see progress of job task

   
  • Ability to plan on group level
    With the VJS, you can assign job planning lines to a resource group and then later move them to a concrete resource, thus enabling a proper rough and fine project and resource planning within one tool.

Improve project planning with Business Central - plan on group level
   
  • 3 different views
    3 comfortable and clearly-structured views always ensure the best perspective for every planning situation.

Improve project planning with Business Central - visual jobs scheduler - three different views
   
  • Capacity load and bottlenecks directly visible
    Show a capacity curve in the Resource View to

    see free and exceeded capacities, a red box indicating an overload.
Improve project planning with Business Central - show capacity load and bottlenecks

 

Want more tips?

 

Ebook - Visual Scheduling for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

 

 

Topics: Project Planning, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central