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RESOURCES

What is resource utilization?

Resource utilization is how much resource time is spent generating revenue. Having insight into resources utilization is critical to estimating and managing profitable projects.

Example

Let's say Joe Smith enters 40 hours for a week, 24 billed directly to the customer. His utilization is 24 hours out of 40, or 60%, which means 40% of Joe's time was spent on activities that didn't generate revenue now, and might not generate revenue in the future. If your project profit objectives assume that resource utilization is 75%, then you need to understand and manage the 15% Joe is underutilized.

Why can't I assign another department to my resource?

You can assign a labor resource to one department only. Edit Resource to change the department the resource belongs to.

I am entering in new labor resources.  What is the difference between Save and New, and Save and Close?

When you have multiple labor resources to enter, the Save and New functionality allows you to quickly enter information for resources with similar profiles.  For example, when you enter information and click Save and New, a message will be displayed that the resource information has been successfully saved.  Certain fields requiring unique information - First and Last Name and Email - will be blanked out, but other fields will retain the information input for your last saved resource.  When inputting resources with similar profiles, this will save you time.  When you click Save and Close, the labor resource input screen will close and return you to the labor resource screen.

We have a terminated resource that we have re-hired.  I went into Manage Resources and cleared the termination date, but the resource is still not showing up for assignment to projects.  Why not?

When you re-activate a terminated resource, you also need to check the "Is Active" box in the Edit Labor Resources screen.  Once the resource is identified as active, they will be available for project assignment.

What is the difference between a Resource, a Resource Class and a Resource Category?

-          Resource: You may have a John Deere Bulldozer A999 with a tag/asset # of 121.  ‘John Deere Bulldozer A999’ would be the Resource Name.  121 would be the Tag Number

-          Resource Class:  The John Deere Bulldozer A999 is used on billable projects, and is billed out on the rate sheet as ‘Bulldozer’.  ‘Bulldozer’ would be the Resource Class, and you would check the ‘Billable’ box in the Resource Class screen to instruct the workflow to include this Resource Class in billing rate tables. 

-          Resource Category:  You may have many bulldozers and other field equipment that you may want to further group together for reporting – perhaps Field Equipment.  You could create a Category of ‘Field Equipment’, and assign that Category to ‘Bulldozers’.  The John Deere Bulldozer A999 now belongs to the Bulldozer Resource Class for both billing and asset tracking and the Field Equipment Resource Category for asset tracking.

 

RATES TYPES

Why do I have to set a Maximum Daily Quantity on rate types?

This requirement is a project control in 4castplus, to ensure labor resources cannot charge more than the number of approved hours for that rate type.

For example, if your project management allows no more than 4 hours of weekday overtime, you could set up a weekday overtime rate type that does not allow labor resources to enter any more than 4 hours of overtime on a work day.

Why can't I remove a rate type?

You can't remove a rate type if it has cost or billing rates setup for it, or if it has been used in project timesheets.

TAX TYPES

Why can't I see inactive tax types?

In the Tax Types page, select Show Inactive Tax Types.

I get an error telling me a tax type exists but I can't see it.

The tax type you have selected is inactive. In the tax types screen, select Show Inactive Tax Types to view the tax type.

COST RATES

When I increase (or decrease) cost rates in 4castplus, how does that change my past project actuals?

Transactions entered and estimates created using the original cost rates are calculated with the original cost rate. Any transactions or estimates you create after changing the cost rates use the new cost rates.

PROJECTS

Why can't I create a new project with the same name as another project?

4castplus reports on an individual project and on all projects. It would be confusing when reporting on all projects if there are two projects with the same name.

Why can't I see my projects in the project tree?

In order to see your projects, you must be assigned to that project.  Your Project Manager Pro can assign you to that project.  

Why can't I edit the project type?

Let's say you created a time-and-materials project and later realized it should be a fixed-price project.

Once you have created a project, you can change the project type as long as you haven't prepared a baseline estimate for that project. Once you have created a baseline estimate, you can no longer change the project type.

Why can't I edit the default mark-up on my Cost Plus project?

Once a project has a transactions on it, the default mark-up can’t be updated.  In order to update the default mark-up, you will need to:

a)      If the project has an Open estimate with no transactions, you can edit the Project, change the mark-up and re-calculate your Estimate

b)      If the project has a Baseline estimate with no transactions, you can Undo the Baseline, then edit the Project per above

c)       If the project has un-billed transactions, you will need to ‘re-assign’ those transactions to a temporary project, change the mark-up and then put those transactions into your project again. 

 

Why don't I see estimated revenue for my time-and-materials project?

Use the task calculator to estimate your project expenses at the resource level for 4castplus to calculate your estimated revenue. The billable rates for each resource are used, and a revenue estimate is created for you.

I want to see the project managers that are running our in progress projects.  I am in the Departments screen, and I can see the projects for a department, but I don't see who is managing them.  Where can I find the project managers that are running our projects?

The best report for that would be the All Projects Summary Report. You can access that through the Business Intelligence area (on the top blue bar), then click on Project Reports -> All Projects Summary. Make sure the checkbox beside "In Progress" is checked. Project Manager is the second column from the left on that report.

PROJECT WBS

I added a main folder to my WBS. Where is it?

If you can't see the folder, refresh the page and it will appear.

How do I change a task in my project WBS from billable to non-billable?

Once there are transactions charged against a task, you are unable to change billable or non-billable status. This is a financial control to prevent altering historical transaction information in 4castplus.

Why can't I delete a task on my WBS?

If there is an estimate for your task, or if there is cost charged against the task, you will be unable to delete.  If your project is in Baseline, you will need to Undo to bring your project back to Open, update the estimate value to zero and then delete the task.  If you project is in Forecast, you will be unable to delete the task as there is a Baseline estimate value associated with the task that can no longer be removed.  To remove the cost from your task, you will need to open the timesheet or re-open (if timesheet is Submitted), and remove the units or cost associated with the task or transfer to another task.

PROJECT RESOURCES

Where can I see resources available for my project?

The Project Resources tab displays all labor, equipment, and materials resources assigned to your project. If resources you require are not visible in Project Resources, they have not been assigned to the project.  You can add labor and equipment resources on this tab, as well as assign the resource to the project in Manage Labor Resources.

Why can't I add or remove materials resources on the Project Resources tab?

All materials resources set up for your company are displayed on the Project Resources tab.  Adding or removing materials resources can only be done in Manage Material Resources.

PROJECT REPORTS

Why don't I see earned revenue broken down by labor, equipment, and materials resources in my fixed-price project Quick Report?

In order to see calculate earned revenue at the resource type (Labor, Equipment and Material) you will need to use the task calculator to estimate your project cost at the resource level.  4castplus can then calculate your estimated revenue by resource type.

When you prepare a forecast and provide the percent complete for your tasks, 4castplus applies the percent complete to your estimated revenue by resource type to calculate your earned revenue by resource type. If you have not used the task calculator to estimate your project at the resource and have estimated at the task level, when you provide the percent complete, earned revenue will be calculated at the task level.  

 

How is ETC (Estimate to Complete) calculated when no progress has been entered?

1)      ETC is a complicated formula that requires values for the following:  Cost/Revenue Estimate (what was estimated to be spent/earned), Actual Cost/Revenue (what was actually spent/billed) and Percent Complete.  Using these three values, two additional metrics are then calculated that are used in the calculation of ETC – Earned Value/Revenue (how much cost you should have incurred or how much revenue you should have earned, based on your percent complete) and your CPI (which is a ratio of your actual cost/revenue, compared to how much cost you should have spent or revenue you should have earned)

2)      Sometimes, one of the three fields above – Revenue Estimate, Actual Revenue or Percent Complete - does not have a value.  For example, actual cost may be incurred on a work package, but no budget was created.  Or progress was recorded on a budgeted item, but no actual revenue has been earned.  Or, progress has not been entered for a work package that has actual cost or revenue and an estimate of cost or revenue.  When that happens, this is referred to as a forecasting 'anamoly' and certain assumptions need to be made, in order to calculate ETC.  For example, when progress has not been entered, but there is both actual and estimated revenue, the following assumption is made:

-          The Revenue Estimate at Completion (EAC) is assumed to be the same as the current Revenue Estimate.  Estimate to Complete will be the difference between the Revenue Estimate and Actual Revenue.  So, if my Revenue Estimate is $200 and I have actual revenue of $75, my ETC will be $125.

 

I don't see any revenue on the Revenue vs. Cost Timeline chart for my fixed-price project.

You must create forecasts for revenue to appear on the Revenue vs. Cost Timeline chart for a fixed price project. When you create a forecast, the earned revenue is calculated based on the project's percent complete, and then appear on this chart.

I am trying to run a Progress Report.  When I click on the report, only the bottom part of the report is visible and I am unable to scroll to the top of the screen to view. I am using Google Chrome.

This is browser issue with Google Chrome.  If you use the scroll wheel on your mouse to scroll up, you will be able to view the entire Progress Report.  4castplus is supported by the following internet browsers: Internet Explorer 9 and Mozilla Firefox 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.  

CHANGE ORDERS

How do I change an estimate for a task in my forecast?

Once a forecast is created, the original estimate tasks, costs, and revenues are locked down: you can't change those particular task and costs. However, you can still issue a change order to edit these tasks and values.

Example

Let's say Paving is a task, with an estimated value of $10,000. After you establish your forecast, you realize the cost estimate for this task should include $4,000 in additional materials costs. Although you can't edit the original Paving task of $10,000, you could create a change order, call it Paving Additional Cost, and add the $4,000 in additional materials cost.

INVOICES

I am preparing an invoice for my time-and-materials project, and don't see any project transactions to bill.  Where did they go?

When you create a project WBS, you need to confirm whether a task is billable or not. If you haven't stated that a task is billable, those transactions are not picked up for invoicing.

I put the wrong hours on a timesheet and they were billed out to a customer.  I want to edit the invoice - why can't I edit it?

Once you have committed an invoice, you are not able to edit it.  Changes or corrections to your invoice should be entered as adjustments on an open timesheet week (comments you enter in will be picked up on invoices) and then invoiced to your customer as a correction, credit or adjustment.

TIMESHEETS

Why is my timesheet locked? How do I enter time for days in that week?
  • When you save a timesheet, the timesheet saves that data and remains open for you to input more hours.  
  • When you submit a timesheet, the timesheet is locked and you can't enter transactions. Your Project Manager Pro can unsubmit the timesheet if you need to enter more transactions on a submitted timesheet.

However, if the data on your timesheet has been used to create a customer invoice, the timesheet cannot be unsubmitted.  

Why can't my resource see a project on their timesheet?

There are two possible reasons why your resource isn't seeing a project in the Select Tasks area of a timesheet:

1. Your resource has not been set up with the appropriate permission settings to see that project.  There are three areas within 4castplus to check to make sure the settings are correct:

  • Project Resources - In Projects, check the Project Resources tab. If your resource does not appear in the list of available resources, click on Add/Remove Labor. 

2. The project status is not set as "In Progress" or "In Bidding".  To check and update the project status:

  • Go the Project Dashboard and check the Project Status - projects with a status other than In Progress or In Bidding will not appear on timesheets.
  • To modify the project status, highlight the project name in the Project Tree and click on Edit Project.
I am trying to enter time in for a time and materials project.  Why isn't my resource class showing on My Timesheet?

In order to appear for selection in a project work package, your resource class must be set up with billing rates.  The billing control in 4castplus will prevent you from selecting a resource class for billing, if that resource class has not been set up with a billing rate.

 

USER INTERFACE

Why do I get the message "A script on this page is causing Internet Explorer to run slowly. If it continues to run, your computer may become unresponsive. Do you want to abort the script?" 

There are some situations when a 4castplus page may contain a script that takes a long time to run. Internet Explorer detects and prompts you with a dialog box. You can change the time-out value value in Internet Explorer to stop receiving this dialog box. 4castplus is supported by the following internet browsers: Internet Explorer 9 and Mozilla Firefox 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Why does my company logo appear fuzzy when I upload it?

All images files are converted to .png format. Upload your company logo in .png format to preserve image quality.

The Project Activity Charts on the Project Dashboard are covering up my Project Transactions.  How do I move them back?

Occasionally, you may notice some "browser" related effects, such as the Charts superimposing over the Transactions area.  Should this happen to you, select F5 to refresh your webpage.  The webpage will empty and then you can click on your project to view the Dashboard.  4castplus is supported by the following internet browsers: Internet Explorer 9 and Mozilla Firefox 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

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