T-Week Scheduling with Maximo Scheduler

Posted by Lance Morris and Lacey Radabaugh on December 11, 2019

SM_Blog_TWeek-1

Maximo Scheduler helps organizations better manage planned, unplanned, and emergency work by enabling them to visually plan, schedule, and assign work inside of their Maximo system. 

For routine maintenance during normal operations, many organizations use the concept of a T-Week schedule. This is a window of weeks that slides forward one week each week. Most organizations look at a 4 to 6 week horizon for scheduling maintenance resources while some highly regulated industries might forecast out anywhere from 13 to 26 weeks.

The future weeks are typically referred to by the number of weeks until execution week such as T-3 is the set of activities scheduled to be executed in 3 weeks. The week(s) post execution are referred to using the “+” such at T+1 is the week after execution week.

Setting Up T Week Models on Autopilot

Recent enhancements in Maximo’s Graphical Scheduling application allow customers to setup their T Week model in an autopilot mode. The queries that determine what work is included in the schedule only have to include the normal criteria for type, status, work group, crafts, etc. The rolling project setup handles setting the date range and automatically updating it each week as the window moves forward. Below is a screen shot followed by a description of the setup parameters and how they would be used to put the schedule on autopilot.

t week scheduling in maximo scheduler graphical scheduling

The top checkbox, Rolling Project, sets the schedule up so that the start and end date are automatically updated based on the defined schedule. The second field defines the schedule for when the dates are updated. This is a standard scheduling nomenclature in Maximo. In the screen shot below, you can see the options available are anywhere from once per hour to once per x number of months. In the case of a T Week schedule, this one has been setup to run at midnight Sunday morning each week.

Scheduler1

The next 2 fields in the first screen shot define how the start and end dates are calculated. The second field, Rolling Offset in Days, determines the start date when the cron runs. In the example above, the automated task (cron) would run at midnight on Sunday December 8th and the offset of -7 would subtract 7 days from the current date and set the start date to December 1st. This would include all of the T+1 activities that weren’t completed. The other field, Duration in Days, is then added to the calculated start date to determine the end date. In this example, it adds 28 days to December 1st to calculate an end date of December 29th. This gives us a schedule window of T+1 to T-2.

The last checkbox, Restrict Work to Dates, automatically embeds the start and end date range into the work query. In our example, it would take the population of work orders/tasks that meets the query criteria and then filter them down to activities that have a target or scheduled start between December 1st and December 29th. If both start dates are populated, the scheduled start will override the target start. For example, a work order with a target start of December 16th and a scheduled start of January 4th, would be filtered out even though the target start is within the range. When the cron runs the next week, the date range is automatically shifted by 7 days. This means the work query doesn’t have to be updated or contain complicated date functions to retrieve the correct population of activities. As work is completed (COMP status), it will drop off the schedule. This means the only activities included in the T+1 week are activities that were not completed during the T-0 week.

Additional Options for T Week Scheduling 

There are a few other key fields that can impact the setup of a T Week model as outlined in the screen shot below.

Scheduler 1-3

The Public checkbox determines who can view the schedule and the Start Week Day has been coordinated with the cron day. The Resource Load and Availability Display Mode is the default when viewing the Gantt and Resource graphs but can be changed in the view. In this example, they would be viewing a summary of available and scheduled hours for the week by craft. Options exist for Shift, Day and Month as well.

The key fields are Offset Days and the Preserve Existing Records on Refresh checkbox. In the case of a rolling T Week schedule, we want activities to drop off our schedule when they are cancelled, completed or closed or when the schedule dates are moved outside of our window. If this box were checked, activities would never drop off the schedule and it would continue to grow as new activities are added. Therefore, you would typically never check this box for any type of rolling schedule. The Offsets determine how far activities can be dragged or moved in the schedule. In this example showing T+1 to T-2, we don’t want to move things in the past so the start offset is zero. However, we might want to move things into T-3, T-4 or T-5 so the end offset is set to 21 days. The schedule view would not show T-3 to T-5 activities but would allow any of the T+1 to T-2 activities to be moved into these future weeks.

This process would be repeated for other schedule window views. For example, if we wanted a T-3 to T-6 view, the rolling offset would be +21 days and a duration of 28 days. In this case, the start offset might be 21 to allow things to be moved into the T+1 to T-2 schedule. The end offset would be the customer preference as to how far they might move activities to the future.

A best practice when setting up these T Week windows would be to ensure there is not an overlap. You wouldn’t want the same activity to show and potentially be manipulated in multiple schedules because of potential conflicts and overwrites.

-----------------------------------------------------------UPDATE 2/27/2020------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is an update to our previous blog regarding setting up a rolling project to support T-Week scheduling.

The automatic rolling function is being moved to a different set of options to allow more flexibility. While the Rolling Frequency field still exists on the scheduler screen, in the current release it does not have any specific functionality.

schedulerupdate1

Now, to set the project up to automatically roll, you use the Common Action to Roll Project. This action now opens a dialog similar to what you would use to run or schedule a report to run.

schedulerupdate2

From here, you can either

  • roll the project immediately based on the current date/time (interactive or background)
  • Set a specific date/time for the project to roll one time
  • Set a frequency with specific date/times for the project to roll automatically going forward.

Option 3 now replaces the functionality of the rolling frequency field on the schedule file. It also has the additional option to specify the time. Previously, the rolling frequency only specified a day and defaulted to midnight. Some customers make have backups or other system processes running at that time so this new option allows the flexibility to work around scheduled system maintenance. The user can modify this schedule if needed by opening the dialog again.

The schedule is actually managed from a cron task in the system that is not normally visible. If you go to the cron task application, you can use the All Records link under available queries to see all cron tasks. There is a system cron task called ROLL with a description of Cron Task to roll repair location project. The details below and parameters match the schedule established in the Roll Project dialog.

schedulerupdate3

Look for more content on using Maximo scheduler in the coming weeks. You can learn more about how to manage work more efficiently by visually planning, scheduling, assigning, and tracking work inside of Maximo by clicking here.

Topics: Maximo Scheduler

Written by Lance Morris and Lacey Radabaugh

Lance Morris is a founding partner and Maximo solution architect with Cohesive Solutions, helping our clients implement and continuously improve their asset management programs. Lacey Radabaugh is a client technical professional for IBM, serving the Maximo community as well. We have teamed together to co-author a blog series around IBM Maximo's Scheduler tool.

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