Types of Conflicts
A conflict arises whenever the schedule does not meet some realistic requirements. For example, when the same person is attempted to be scheduled at two different locations simultaneously – it is considered as a conflict because that person cannot really be physically located in two places at the same time. There is a variety of potential conflicts which the program monitors in order to warn you in case they are detected.
By nature, human resources cannot be double booked. This means that if two activities which involve the same participant, supervisor or group of people are scheduled at the same time, the program considers it as a conflict.
There is only one exception to this rule, and that is when the activities belong to the same Set. In that case, the conflict is ignored because all activities which belong to the same set are considered by the program as required to be scheduled simultaneously by definition.
As you remember, you have the possibility to block certain times of a resource's schedule due to unavailability. You can place blocks in any resource's schedule, including themes. An attempt to schedule an activity which involves a blocked resource immediately raises a conflict.
A location such as a room has a certain capacity in terms of the number of people, groups and/or activities it may contain. In fact, you can define 4 types of capacities for each location: maximal number of participants, maximal number of supervisors, maximal number of groups and maximal number of activities which the location can host at a single moment.
If any of these limits is overrun, the program warns about a conflict.
As you also remember, each location can have a listing of distances from other locations.
Whenever an activity which involves a person or a group is scheduled at some location, the program checks whether there is an activity before or after that activity scheduled at another location which is too far from this one. For example, in case there are two activities, involving the same person, scheduled in two different rooms 10 minutes apart, and the program knows that the distance between the two rooms is actually 15 minutes of travel time, a conflict arises.
Each activity has a Quantity field which defines the planned quantity of hours or periods for that activity to be scheduled during a week. It is technically possible for a user to schedule an activity for more hours/periods than the planned quantity, but this will raise a conflict.
Note that it is possible to define an unlimited quantity for an activity (by typing 0 in the quantity field), in which case this conflict will never happen.
Whenever the program detects one or more new conflicts as a result of the last operation you did, it displays a window called the "Conflicts Window" which essentially lists all the newly detected conflicts. You have three options at this stage. The first is to cancel the last thing you did and go back to the state before (basically undo what you just did). The second option is to ignore the conflicts, complete the operation and settle the conflicts later at your convenience (note that you will be able to see these conflicts in the Conflicts pane – as explained below).
The third option is to settle the conflicts "on the spot" directly in the Conflicts window by choosing which conflicting activities should remain scheduled and which will be deleted. If you take a look at the Conflicts window, you will see that conflicts which involve two activities list these two conflicting activities with a square check box next to them. Clicking inside that check box tells the program that the activity should be deleted. A red "X" mark will appear in the check box and the activity's text will appear with a strikethrough. Then, if you click on the "Continue" link, all the activities marked with an "X" will be deleted.
Note that in the Collaborative version of the program (while working online via a server), when some user is facing the Conflicts window, no other user can make any changes until the first user either presses "Continue" or "Cancel" in the Conflicts window. If some other user attempts to do something, he/she will be shown a message asking to wait for the first user to finish an operation.
The Conflicts pane is located at the right side of the workspace but it is not visible unless you click on the "Conflicts" tab (near the "Activities" tab).
Once you do, you will see a pane consisting of a toolbar with buttons, a row of tabs above it and a list below it. The list has 4 columns: Conflict, Day, Time and Resources. This list displays all the existing conflicts in the schedule. Each row is one conflict. If you double click on a row, the program will take you to the schedule of the resource in which this conflict occurs and also select the relevant cell(s).
The toolbar above the conflicts window is used for filtering the conflicts. The leftmost wide button, which by default says "Conflicts – All" controls which types of conflicts are shown and the following 7 resource type filter buttons control which types of resources are shown. By default, all the 7 resource buttons are selected (you will see that they have a dark background around them), meaning that the conflicts list will show conflicts related to any type of resource. The wide filter button can be used to narrow down the view to a certain type of conflict, e.g. only "Double Booking" conflicts. The resource type filter buttons can be used to narrow down the view to a certain type of resource, e.g. only conflicts of Supervisors. This is done by deselecting the unnecessary buttons (one click selects and another deselects).
Above the toolbar there is a row of tabs. These are also used for filtering. However, they differ from the previous filters because this filter is "dynamic". It totally depends on the current selection in the main window. Let's look at an example.
Suppose the main schedule currently displays the schedule of "Computers Lab" and you have also selected the time range Monday 8:00-9:00 in that room's schedule. You will then see 3 tabs above the Conflicts list. One tab is the default tab which says "All". The second tab will say "Computers Lab". If you click on that tab, the list will display only the conflicts of "Computers Lab" (for instance, times in which that particular room is double booked). The third tab is yet an additional optional filter. It will say "Monday 8:00-9:00" (it reflects the current selection's time range). If you click on the third tab, the list of conflicts will be narrowed down to display only the conflicts which overlap that time range.
Note that the first two tabs are mutually exclusive – you can either select "All" or "Computers Lab". The third tab, however, is optional – you can either select or deselect it (one click selects, another deselects). It can be selected both when "All" is selected (in which case it will display all the resources' conflicts on Monday 8:00-9:00) or when "Computers Lab" is selected (in which case it will display only that room's conflicts on Monday 8:00-9:00).