Shift planning my kid
My wife, Tamar, and I are planning a trip to Italy without our (almost) 3 year old kid – Jonny. Well actually my wife is planning the trip itself while I am busy planning the arrangements for Jonny. As it turns out – this is not an easy task. Jonny needs a 24*7 adult to watch over him during our 10 day trip. The kindergarten does the trick for most of the days from about 8 AM till 4 PM, but I am still required to find out who will take him to and from the kindergarten, and of course watch over him from 4 PM till the morning after.
We have six potential candidates total – my brother, aunty Chen and Jonny’s grandparents. Each one comes with his or hers preferences (my brother has shifts of his own in his work place, Tamar’s mother has cheer leader sessions every other afternoon and my mother prefers not to watch over him during “Survivor”). There are different skills involved (like driving license, ability to prepare Jonny’s dinner and of course diaper skills) each candidate having a subset. I need to make sure that my roster is fair, since I must not give the impression that I prefer my parents over my wife’sJ. So creating a shift plan that gives the required coverage and also takes into consideration the personal preferences, mix of skills and fairness is, as I said, not an easy task. It is even harder taking into account that my plan is just a plan – during the vacation things change (illness, car breaks down) and there must be an easy way to change the plan so that Jonny is not left behind somewhere, hungry, wearing a dirty diaper and all alone!
Come to think of it – if I have a problem setting this 10 day plan then what can I say about the shift planner that needs to make sure that his city is protected 24*7 by the correct amount of cops every single day, or that there are enough firemen ready for any emergency. In fact, any call center, retail or transportation company needs the ability to plan shifts for many employees covering a lot of demands. Luckily for them we are currently developing a new ClickRoster product that should handle exactly this problem – making sure that we have the correct number of people working the right shifts to cover the demand, taking into account things like preferences, fairness and regulations. Usually ClickRoster will deal with a lot more than six resources and a single child, but for me, not regarding Italy but maybe next time, I will be able to insert the data and make ClickRoster plan the roster for Jonny, while I am planning the trip to Paris (?)