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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Myth27's Avatar

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    Default I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Ideally I need a way so that each of my collegues can write somewhere when they want to be on vacation or when they would prefer to be in morning/afternoon and then a program with this info automatically creates a shift schedule. Also the schedule needs to be balanced over time so the program needs some kind of memory so that at the end of the year everyone has done more or less the same amount of each type of shift.

    I've seen many app that do that for a subscription, for example humanity seems perfect, but also zira workforce, bBend or EZshifts to name a few. Unfortunatey for administrative-bureaucratic reasons my boss told me we cannot pay a monthly or annual fee for a software but can only "buy it completely" paying it once. I have a budget of 1000$
    can you think of a solution for me?


    we are 26 employees with only one location. Shifts are basically the same all the time.
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    Melayl's Avatar

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    We use SuiteScheduler at work, and I believe it can do all of those things, but I have absolutely no idea how much it costs.
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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Melayl View Post
    We use SuiteScheduler at work, and I believe it can do all of those things, but I have absolutely no idea how much it costs.
    From what I can tell, Suite Scheduler charges a setup fee plus a monthly charge per employee scheduled. So it doesn't conform to the OP's requirements, from what I've seen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    where is the atropal? and does it have a listed LA?

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    Rynjin's Avatar

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Do any of the services you've mentioned offer some kind of "lifetime membership"? Even if it's not listed on their website it might be worth calling into their customer service and asking directly. A lot of businesses, particularly in the service sphere, have quite a few "hidden menu" options they're willing to negotiate with businesses who know to ask for them.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    I'd second Rynjin on talking to the service/sales at some companies to see what they can really offer.

    ----

    In theory, you might be able to find a programmer who could write something like that as a custom software, but $1000 probably couldn't hire anyone professional-grade, so you'd be really hit-or-miss on if the person you hire is actually able to make something worthwhile.
    I know there's some reputable websites where you can post contract work and try to get work offers, but for this price you'd likely only get newbies looking to build their portfolio. Doesn't mean they capable, but it really doesn't guarantee it either. I wouldn't trust it if my job was on the line to find a good software.

    At least unless you're lucky enough to find someone already made a software like this and just is selling a license to use it, e.g., not actually programming it fresh.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    I'd second Rynjin on talking to the service/sales at some companies to see what they can really offer.

    ----

    In theory, you might be able to find a programmer who could write something like that as a custom software, but $1000 probably couldn't hire anyone professional-grade, so you'd be really hit-or-miss on if the person you hire is actually able to make something worthwhile.
    I know there's some reputable websites where you can post contract work and try to get work offers, but for this price you'd likely only get newbies looking to build their portfolio. Doesn't mean they capable, but it really doesn't guarantee it either. I wouldn't trust it if my job was on the line to find a good software.

    At least unless you're lucky enough to find someone already made a software like this and just is selling a license to use it, e.g., not actually programming it fresh.
    The drawbacks with writing it fresh via freelance is imo lack of real world testing and lack of experience with the specific topic. Codewise I and many others could probably write one pretty quickly (depends on the concrete needs of course but the main effort is probably hammering out good rules for what to do when wishes overlap etc. programming wise it wouldn't be hard). And likely it would work but established software has the advantage that it should be less likely to run into a surprise bug after some months. And the lack of experience part is that you need to know more clearly what you need because they will have less of an idea what people need in their shift schedulers.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Optaplanner has an opensource application that should do everything you need. Of course, it's going to be a more complicated set up, but $1000 should pay for a decent chunk of your time to get the system running...
    Last edited by Thomas Cardew; 2021-09-24 at 01:30 PM.

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibrinar View Post
    The drawbacks with writing it fresh via freelance is imo lack of real world testing and lack of experience with the specific topic. Codewise I and many others could probably write one pretty quickly (depends on the concrete needs of course but the main effort is probably hammering out good rules for what to do when wishes overlap etc. programming wise it wouldn't be hard). And likely it would work but established software has the advantage that it should be less likely to run into a surprise bug after some months. And the lack of experience part is that you need to know more clearly what you need because they will have less of an idea what people need in their shift schedulers.
    For $1,000? How many weeks pay is that for a qualified programmer? One? Nobody gets much done in a week.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    For $1,000? How many weeks pay is that for a qualified programmer? One? Nobody gets much done in a week.
    For a qualified, experienced one? Yeah between 1 and 2 weeks.

    For some dude you find on UpWork who's really trying to get his foot in the door as a freelancer? Like 3 months, or a month if he knows he's still worth something even as a relatively untested factor.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    For $1,000? How many weeks pay is that for a qualified programmer? One? Nobody gets much done in a week.
    I bet that most decent solo programmers could churn out the code side of something like OP said (which only has to work for a single company) in two days or so if you don't care too much about pretty design. Take in data from some users, set data about the schedule, option to add/remove users, make decisions about schedule based on rules and some data, some admin abilities to be able to interfere if people entered nonsense or manual changes are necessary, display the schedule... All pretty basic stuff. Some more time because it probably needs some stuff I didn't think of. Now how long it takes to decide what to program is hard to say and how much costumer communication slows it down. But if it goes well a week is doable and yeah I bet you could find a freelancer who does that for you for 1000 and produces something that works okay. Probably not super flexible or robust so big changes in how their scheduling work could break it. (In a company I would expect it to take more time but we are talking freelance.)

    But for a common use case like this it just doesn't make much sense to hire someone to write another solution.
    Last edited by Ibrinar; 2021-09-25 at 04:53 AM.

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibrinar View Post
    I bet that most decent solo programmers could churn out the code side of something like OP said (which only has to work for a single company) in two days or so if you don't care too much about pretty design. Take in data from some users, set data about the schedule, option to add/remove users, make decisions about schedule based on rules and some data, some admin abilities to be able to interfere if people entered nonsense or manual changes are necessary, display the schedule... All pretty basic stuff. Some more time because it probably needs some stuff I didn't think of. Now how long it takes to decide what to program is hard to say and how much costumer communication slows it down. But if it goes well a week is doable and yeah I bet you could find a freelancer who does that for you for 1000 and produces something that works okay. Probably not super flexible or robust so big changes in how their scheduling work could break it. (In a company I would expect it to take more time but we are talking freelance.)

    But for a common use case like this it just doesn't make much sense to hire someone to write another solution.
    The $1,000 presumably includes the cost of hiring and firing and taxes. Even if it doesn't, $12,000 per year is a poor wage.

    Take in data, validate data, you're already looking at weeks.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    The $1,000 presumably includes the cost of hiring and firing and taxes. Even if it doesn't, $12,000 per year is a poor wage.

    Take in data, validate data, you're already looking at weeks.
    Why hire and fire a freelancer, you give a task, they do the task and write you an invoice. Anyway I disagree with your time assumptions though I don't really have the free time to demonstrate that by writing one so I will leave it at that it is becoming a bit of a tangent to the threads purpose anyway.^^
    Last edited by Ibrinar; 2021-09-25 at 04:36 PM.

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    The $1,000 presumably includes the cost of hiring and firing and taxes. Even if it doesn't, $12,000 per year is a poor wage.

    Take in data, validate data, you're already looking at weeks.
    Yeah...hiring a freelancer involves no hiring and firing costs. Or taxes.

    We have to pay the employer's side of the taxes too. =/

    Quarterly.

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Anyone worth paying will probably ask at least three days worth of questions trying to nail down what you really need the software to do. Then someone good can probably put a rough alpha/beta in front of you two days later. After that you're probably out of money and you need at least two more test & rework cycles to get it where you'll actually use it without regrets.

    I'm betting there's some already written thing out there that does 90% of what you want and within your price range. But finding it will be the hard part. You might try some game theory code. Although, thinking about it, I'm pretty sure someone could write a spreadsheet that would do it...

    Actually, is there any reason a basic scheduling spreadsheet can't do it? First come first serve time off each shift, warnings when there aren't enough people available, auto-sums time on/off per employee into a field, you just have to manually eyeball the sums to see if the times offs sort of even out and talk to people if too many want the same days off.

    Edit: here, quickie google search turns up a list of ten options https://peoplemanagingpeople.com/tools/best-free-employee-scheduling-software/
    Last edited by Telok; 2021-09-26 at 01:16 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Telok's already gone where I was going to go - a spreadsheet's probably the best bet, at least in the short to medium term.

    Something like Access, or an open-source equivalent (eg. in Open Office/Libre Office) might be a more long term plan if you or someone in your office has some programming skills to set up the db tables and put a front end on it, or if you or someone in the company can use the $1000 budget to get some training in that area (which you can then justify with the idea that your company would then have full control over it).

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    For $1,000? How many weeks pay is that for a qualified programmer? One? Nobody gets much done in a week.
    1000$ is more like an afternoon of work. Mind you, professional work without idling. Still, hiring experienced programmers is about 2000$ a day, including overhead, taxes, ...

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Rydiro View Post
    1000$ is more like an afternoon of work. Mind you, professional work without idling. Still, hiring experienced programmers is about 2000$ a day, including overhead, taxes, ...
    And doesn't cover things like documentation or testing.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Rydiro View Post
    1000$ is more like an afternoon of work. Mind you, professional work without idling. Still, hiring experienced programmers is about 2000$ a day, including overhead, taxes, ...
    I think you're drastically overestimating how much a WebFocus developer or similar equivalent (which is who would be best suited for this job) makes. You're looking at a little over $500 a day ($65 an hour, based on my own experiences with people in the role), before taxes, as a full time WebFocus or SQL dev (typically on a 3-6 month contract to hire 1099).
    Last edited by Rynjin; 2021-09-30 at 08:55 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Myth27 View Post
    Ideally I need a way so that each of my collegues can write somewhere when they want to be on vacation or when they would prefer to be in morning/afternoon and then a program with this info automatically creates a shift schedule. Also the schedule needs to be balanced over time so the program needs some kind of memory so that at the end of the year everyone has done more or less the same amount of each type of shift.
    This is one of those things that is a lot harder to program than you'd think it would be, and in the general case gets into unsolved problems in computer science.

    So what you probably actually want is something that does a good enough job of keeping track of vacation requests, shift requests, previous shifts, and so on and reporting in a friendly way so that whoever is managing these people can see upcoming problems, adjust as needed, and make judgement calls before things get really out of balance.

    With only 26 people, a decent program can essentially guess and check and spit out some sample shift schedules that meet whatever constraints you've included, but explaining to a computer what makes a "good" schedule gets complicated fast so it'll still need tweaking by an actual manager if the workers have lives that are at all complicated and you want people to have schedules they're actually happy with.

    I have no suggestions for specific software, since I work in education and every school I've worked with deals with the related scheduling issue of building the master schedule more or less by hand. (I'm sure someone uses a computer program and then tweaks the output, but places I've worked it's been at best a spreadsheet and sometimes a bunch of sticky notes that get moved around.)

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    I think you're drastically overestimating how much a WebFocus developer or similar equivalent (which is who would be best suited for this job) makes. You're looking at a little over $500 a day ($65 an hour, based on my own experiences with people in the role), before taxes, as a full time WebFocus or SQL dev (typically on a 3-6 month contract to hire 1099).
    The money doesn't just go to you, it also goes to HR, sales, your travel expenses, invoicing, your office, ...
    Especially when you are hiring for a few days instead of months, the beaurocratic overhead grows.
    You're right, that I probably overestimated the skillset required for the job, tbh.

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    Default Re: I need a program that automatically creates a shift schedule. 1000$ budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Myth27 View Post
    program .. creates a shift schedule. .. can only "buy it completely" paying it once.
    This will most likely set you up to pay for upgrades, new versions etc.

    Also, do you already have test-data, with lots of problem-cases ?
    Eg. when everyone wants the same days off, many sick, etc.
    Do you already have established rules on how to fairly deal with those cases ?

    And dont forget the time/money of someone who would need to hand-balance conflicts,
    ie. that would just move the 'monthly fee' to some other department.
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