Check whether an activity is impossible to schedule (Feasibility Check)

An activity can be impossible to schedule. Some causes can be detected by analysing the properties of the activity, and the properties of the other activities and resources that it has a relationship with. For example, you can use suitabilities to describe suitable locations for an activity; however, there might be no locations that meet that description.

Identifying these unschedulable activities and resolving their problems enables you to use the automatic scheduling features of Enterprise Timetabler to schedule them.

If you did not identify them as unschedulable before you used automatic scheduling features, they would remain unscheduled after the scheduling process completed. However, you would not know whether each of the activities was inherently unschedulable, or instead highly constrained (and so, schedulable) but with all of its few possible scheduling solutions unavailable, due to decisions that Enterprise Timetabler made earlier in the scheduling process.

The feasibility check feature identifies inherently unschedulable activities, and tells you why they are unschedulable.

A number annotated screenshot that supports instructions about running the Feasibility Check feature

Select activities and run the feasibility check (click the image to expand it)

To use the Feasibility Check feature, follow these steps:

  1. Select the unscheduled activities that you want to check.
    • To check all the activities that are associated with an item in the Views pane, select the item in the Views pane (see 1, above). You can select multiple items. For example, you can select multiple modules.
    • To check particular activities, select an item in the Views pane, then select activities in the table in the Activities pane (2). To select multiple activities, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking activities.
  2. Click Feasibility Check (3) in the Scheduling menu. Enterprise Timetabler analyses the activities. If unschedulable activities are found, Enterprise Timetabler adds them to an activity group that contains all unschedulable activities. Enterprise Timetabler also adds them to other activity groups that identify the reason why activities are unschedulable (see Activity group suffixes below). It also displays a message (4) that tells you how many unschedulable activities were found, and the prefix that the created activity groups will begin with. The prefix contains the date and time that you ran the feasibility check; for example, 2018-02-12T15:18:25.
  3. Use the activity filter to access the activity groups:
    1. In the menu at the top of the Views pane, click Activity Filter (see 5, below).
    2. On the Categories tab (6), expand the Activity Groups area.
    3. The table within the Activity Groups area includes the groups that the Feasibility Check feature created. One group has a name that consists only of the prefix; this group contains all the unschedulable activities. The name of other groups consist of the prefix and a suffixed code that represents the reason why the activities within it are unschedulable (see Activity group suffixes below). To select an activity group, click it in the table (7).

      Note: There might be more than one reason why an activity is unschedulable. So, an activity can be a member of multiple groups.

    4. To list the activities within the group, click Apply Filter (8). They are loaded into the Activities pane.

A number annotated screenshot that supports instructions about accessing activity groups created by the Feasibility Check feature

Access activity groups (click the image to expand it)

Activity group suffixes

The name of the activity groups that the Feasibility Check feature creates consist of a prefix that describes when you ran the check, and a suffix that describes the reason why the activities in the group cannot be scheduled. For example, 2018-02-12T15:18:25 - 06.3.

An additional group whose name consists only of the prefix contains all the unschedulable activities. For example, 2018-02-12T15:18:25.

Note: Some activities cannot be scheduled, but are not inherently unschedulable.

For example, suppose that all rooms that are suitable for Philosophy Seminar 1 are allocated to other activities all day Monday and Tuesday, and the only suitable staff member is busy teaching all day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The activity cannot be scheduled, but it is not inherently unschedulable; if a suitable room became available on Monday, the activity could be scheduled to occur then.

The Feasibility Check feature can identify activities such as these, which cannot currently be scheduled (but are not inherently unschedulable). These activities are included in the group whose name consists only of the prefix.

The following table explains each code:

Suffix

Description

01

No suitable resource exists.

Note: A suitable resource meets the criteria in the following list. If no such resource exists, the activity is inherently unschedulable and is included in an activity group that begins "01".

  • Has suitabilities that match the requirements of the activity.
  • Belongs to, or is shared with, the department that owns the activity.
  • (Locations only) Is located within the activity's zone.
  • (Locations only) Has sufficient capacity for the activity.

01.1: Staff member

01.2: Location

01.3: Equipment

04

The activity requires more pooled resources than are available from the pool.

05

The activity has a suggested day and time, but it is not available then (due to its availability pattern).

06

The activity has a suggested day and time, but it has a preset resource that is not available then (due to its availability pattern).

06.1: Staff member

06.2: Location

06.3: Equipment

06.5: Pooled resource

06.4

The activity has a suggested day and time, but one or more of its required student sets are not available then (due to their availability pattern).

08

Two or more of the activity's preset resources are involved in the same Avoid Concurrency constraint.

08.1: Staff member

08.2: Location

08.3: Equipment

08.4: Student set

09

This activity, and one or more activities that it has a Same Time relationship with, have a preset requirement for the same resource.

09.1: Staff member

09.2: Location

09.3: Equipment

09.4: Student set

10

The activity is in a Same Time relationship with one or more activities, and at least two of the activities in the relationship have preset requirements for resources, but at least two of those resources are not available at the same time (due to their availability pattern).

For example, John Smith must teach Activity A, and Emily Edwards must teach Activity B. The activities must occur at the same time. However, John is available only on Monday and Tuesday, and Emily is available only on Thursday and Friday.

10.1: Staff member

10.2: Location

10.3: Equipment

10.4: Student set

11

This activity is in a Same Time relationship with one or more other activities, but there is no time at which all these activities are available. The availability of each activity is described by its availability pattern.

13

This activity has a suggested day and time, but the activity's module is not available then (due to its availability pattern).

14

The activity's week pattern does not overlap with the module's week pattern.

15

There is no time at which the activity and its module are both available. The availability of the activity and the module are described by their respective availability pattern.

For example, the activity and module have the same week pattern; however, the activity is available only on Monday and Tuesday, and the module is available only on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

16

The duration of the activity would cause one of its preset resources to exceed the usage limit specified by the resource's Maximum Hours constraint.

17

There is insufficient time at the end of the day to accommodate the activity's duration.

The activity has a duration and a suggested time. But, if the activity occurred at its suggested time, it would end later than the End Time of the day (which is specified at institution level) .

18

Either the activity or its module is unavailable at the activity's suggested start time, on any day. Or, the availability pattern of the activity or module provides insufficient time (at the activity's suggested start time) to accommodate the activity's duration.

For example, the activity's suggested start time is 12:00 and duration is 5 hours. The module is unavailable all day Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, but is available all day Wednesday. The activity is unavailable from 15:00 on Wednesday until the end of the day.



Scientia Ref: 4232. For Enterprise Timetabler 3.15.1. Copyright © Scientia Ltd. 2019