In the previous post, we discussed common challenges in resource allocation that managers often face when executing their projects. Careful resource planning and allocation are one of the trickiest and most difficult parts of the project management process.
But once you determine who can complete a given task (based on their skills); when they can do it (based on their availability), and how many hours they can devote to it (based on their workload and capacity), all you need to do is to assign them to that task.
In BigPicture, you can carry out the task assignment activity in several different ways. Today, you will learn how you can quickly assign tasks to individuals and teams to speed up your resource management work.
#1. Task assignment directly in Jira issues
BigPicture extends Jira’s capabilities, meaning that you can sync many Jira fields with it, including the resources you assign to Jira issues (Assignee field). In Jira, you can assign and re-assign a person to a task using the Assignee field inside the Jira issue. You can perform Jira task assignments when creating a new issue or editing the existing one.
Assigning a Jira task to an individual
- Open the issue you have already created.
- Navigate to the “Assignee” field. Type in the resource name and surname or find and select their name on the drop-down list.
You can also assign a team to a task or story when you are still working in Jira. This time, however, you will be using Jira custom fields, namely Jira Labels and Select List (single choice).
Assigning a Jira task to a team using the Label field
You will find the field synchronization settings on the App Configuration page (in BigPicture). The “Team Code” in BigPicture (which you will use for team task assignment) will sync with the “Labels” in Jira bi-directionally by default (under “General mapping”).
Having the field mapping set to “Team Code” ↔ “Labels”, you can proceed with the following steps:
- Open the issue you have already created.
- Navigate to the “Labels” field and type in the team code followed by a team# (hashtag) sign. For example, the code for the “Native Features Team” is “Native”. Therefore, you would use team#NATIVE to assign this team to an issue.
Be careful about the spelling though. The team code is not case-sensitive. BigPicture will accept any team codes you enter, even the incorrect ones (e.g., team#Nativ), and store them as new labels.
Please keep in mind that the “Assignee” and “Labels” fields might not be present when you create a new Jira issue. That is because each Jira issue type can have a separate set of fields. For that reason, if you would like to be able to assign individuals or teams when creating an issue, ask your Jira administrator to include such fields in the “Create task” window.
Assigning a Jira task to a team using a Team code custom field
This method also utilizes a bi-directional field sync. But this time you set BigPicture to sync the “Team Code” with the “Team code custom field.” This field is based on Jira’s “Select List (single choice) field.” Therefore, you will be able to assign a team from the drop-down list when you are inside the Jira issue.
- Go to App Configuration > Fields > Custom mapping in BigPicture.
- Select your project from the list.
2a.* If your project is not present, click the “Add Project” button to add it. Choose your project and the app will take you straight to the Field > Custom mapping page.
- Expand the menu next to the “Team Code” field and scroll down for the “Team code custom field.”
Your Jira admin might need to configure this field in your project. Specifically, predefine the select options using the Team codes. As a result, the “Team code custom field” will appear alongside the Labels inside Jira issues which you can use for team task assignments. The advantage of this approach is that you can reserve the Labels field for purposes other than team assignments.
#2. Drag-and-drop task assignment
Let’s now move from Jira straight to BigPicture’s Resources and Board modules.
The Resources module is your go-to place whenever you want to plan and track your resource capacity, as well as manage their absences and workloads. On top of that, you can also use it for individual and team task assignments that you can carry out in two ways: with a drag-and-drop and inline edit features.
Resources module: using the drag-and-drop feature (to assign individuals and teams)
When you switch to the Resources module, by default you will see the capacity page featuring all the resources you have added to your project. You can view those resources as a list of individuals (Individual view) and teams (Team view). But no matter whether you want to assign (or re-assign) a task to a person or a team, you would use a drag-and-drop functionality the same way.
- Switch to an Individual or Team view.
- Check the “Tasks” under the “View.”
2a.* Optionally, if you are a BigPicture Enterprise user, enable “Show overall Assignment” to see more accurate remaining resource capacity.
- Find the task you want to assign at the top of the page (in the “Unassigned” section).
- Drag the task and drop it in the swim lane of the person (or team) you want to assign.
This task assignment approach, albeit very handy, can lead to misassignment in case you drop the task too early by mistake straight into the wrong swim lane. For that reason, the drag-and-drop works best when you want to swap tasks between neighboring assignees. Or, when the volume of the unassigned tasks is small and does not require extensive dragging.
You can take the team task assignment one step further by allowing BigPicture to automatically assign the task to the team based on the individual assignee. In other words, if the person to whom you have assigned a task belongs to one team, the assignment will carry over to their team.
The auto-team assignment option is disabled by default. To enable it, go to App Configuration > Resources and toggle the switch at the bottom of the page. Save your settings.
Board module: using the drag-and-drop feature (to assign teams)
The Board module houses an Agile board and backlog.
Using these two handy features, you can easily assign a story (or any other Jira issue) to a team in two ways. First, by dragging a story from one swimlane to another. For example, you can drag an issue from the “Team unassigned” swimlane to a specific team. Or, re-assign some work by dragging a story from one team to another.
Second, by dragging an issue from a backlog directly to the board—or the other way round. (If you happen to make a mistake while doing so, click the “Undo” button which you will find at the top menu.)
#3. Inline task assignment on a task dialog box
There is another task assignment method you can use while you are still in the Resources module. The inline edit feature lets you select an assignee directly on the task dialog box. This method, compared to the drag-and-drop one, is far less prone to errors. And, similarly to the Jira task assignment, you simply prompt the assignee list and select the person.
- Click on the task you want to assign.
- Double-click the Assignee field to prompt the list of available resources.
Additionally, you can use the “Find the perfect match” option to receive suggestions on who would be most suitable for the job based on their skills (role) and remaining capacity.
#4. Inline task assignment on a daily Task list
The inline edit assignment method is also available in the Calendar module. This module shows all the tasks you have scheduled for a given day: in a form of daily Task lists visible directly on the calendar; and as a list of the Upcoming tasks displayed in a separate panel. Only the daily Task list supports the inline task assignment.
- Go to the Calendar module.
- Navigate to the task you want to assign (based on its schedule).
- Double-click on the Assignee field to edit it.
#5. Inline edit of a column in the column views
The Board, Gantt, and Scope modules in BigPicture support column views which you can freely customize. Since those columns are based on native Jira (and BigPicture) fields, it means you can have an Assignee column in your view as well. When you have such a column added, you will be able to assign a task by in-line editing the field value.
- Switch to the Board, Gantt, or Scope module.
- Click on the gear icon in the rear corner of your project task list.
- Find the “Assignee” field on the drop-down list.
- Double-click on the Assignee field next to a task you want to assign.
Please note that when you customize the view in the Gantt module, it will not be the same in another module, and vice-versa. So, for example, if you want to be able to assign tasks in both Gantt (WBS) and Board (Infobar), you will need to add the “Assignee” columns to the views in both modules. Some default views have this column already included.
#6. Inline edit a column in the card-based views
Apart from the column-based views, BigPicture also supports card-based views which you will find in the Board and Risk modules. The cards can represent issues (tasks, stories, etc.) or project risks.
Similarly to the column views, you can customize issue and risk cards to contain a set of information you want to see. This set of information can include the assignee field which you can in-line edit to assign a task or risk straight on the card.
- Go to the Board or Risk module.
- Select the issue or risk card you want to assign.
- Double-click on the Assignee field to prompt the drop-down list of available resources.
Some default views already have the Assignee field included on the card. If the view you are currently using does not have this field and you want to add it, you can use the card view creator to do so.
- Switch to the Board or Risk module.
- Navigate to “Current view” and select “Manage card views.”
- Click on the “Add new Card View” button to add a new card view. Or, click on the existing default card view to edit it.
- Customize the issue card (under the “Board”) or risk card (under the “Risks”) using a drag-and-drop card view creator.
Please note that when you customize the card view in the Risk module, the card view will not be the same in the Board module, and vice-versa. Therefore, if you want to be able to assign tasks in Board and Risks, you will need to customize card views in both modules.