New ‘Dry Run’ Scheduling – It doesn’t need to be rocket science!

3rd December, 2015

The latest build of TermTime introduces ‘dry run’ scheduling for activities; a powerful tool for investigating the scheduling possibilities for activities prior to scheduling, giving the user the ability to see potential upcoming problems prior to, and during, the scheduling process.

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The dry run function analyses the activities selected by the user, based on the current scheduled state of the timetable and available resources, and reports back the number of schedulable time slots available to each activity, along with the number of potential rooms the activity has the option of being scheduled into.

The latter is useful for checking the configuration of activities, and highlighting how many rooms, if any, meet the specification.  When performing this calculation on an unscheduled timetable, it helps inform the user of any activities that could never be scheduled, due to a combination of room requirements that cannot be fulfilled using the rooms and configurations present in the database.

Dry run scheduling can be performed at any stage of the timetabling process and is extremely fast, typically 50 activities a second. The ‘dry run’ value is calculated based on the currently scheduled timetable. All values are also saved in the database for later use or analysis.

When performing a dry run, each activity to be processed is treated individually, and assessed based on the availability within the timetable at that point. The activity is not scheduled at any stage during a dry run.  Therefore, the fact that bulk selections of activities can be made, and processed, will not influence the results for any individual activity within that selection.

Suggested Use

Prior to Scheduling:

Performing a dry run schedule on a completely unscheduled timetable can help highlight any unschedulable activities before any real scheduling is performed, helping the user resolve any issues with activities before they become a problem later on in the scheduling process.  This could be due to no suitable rooms for activities, or activities that cannot be scheduled due to conflicts with staff or room availability.

During Scheduling:

Performing a dry run for activities in a partially scheduled timetable will inform the user of any issues with activities based on the availability left by those already scheduled. By performing a dry run schedule, followed by a full schedule of activities, in batches (perhaps based on complexity scores, or some other activity banding), the user has access to a powerful tool for assisting in the automatic scheduling of a timetable, analysing upcoming activities prior to committing them to the schedule.