October 30th, 2009

marcus 2013


By Monday I need to work out a schedule for four technicians working on two sites, two people on each site, so that if possible everyone works with everyone else at some point. Initially there's a seven week term, with things starting up again after Christmas, it'll probably be easiest if I treat each term as a separate entity.

Ideally I'd like to do this in two week blocks with overlap, so that e.g. I would be on one site in week one and two, another technician would be with me in week one then on the other site in weeks 2 and 3, and so forth. The reason for this is so that there will be someone at each site who knows what was happening there the previous week and some continuity of work.

I've tried to block this out in a spreadsheet, but if I can make it work at all I always seem to end up with a result that has two people never working together, which isn't ideal from the point of view of team building, training, etc.

Anyone got any suggestions on ways of making it work? Preferably with people spending equal amounts of time at each site? It doesn't necessarily have to be two week blocks if there's some way of doing it by another means, but it does need to be whole weeks, not parts of a week (we've tried it that way and it isn't working), and hopefully something that people can understand easily and will understand to be fair.

Is there some sort of (preferably free) software that will do this? Or some simple planning technique I've missed?

Later I asked this on the ljgenie community and someone came up with a good method. One person alternates weeks at each site, the other three do three-week sessions. On the example below B is the person alternating every week - after the first two weeks everyone else is on three-week sessions. Works best if it's continued after the Xmas break, but we'd be doing that anyway.

1: AB|CD
2: AD|BC
3: BD|AC
4: CD|AB
5: BC|AD
6: AC|BD

Translated into my actual needs, I get this, where T,A, and J are the other technicians. A ends up being B for these purposes, she's the least experienced and keeping her moving and getting her trained ASAP works pretty well.