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Workload Contouring (Box types)

Table of contents

Change workload distribution for a given task. Workload contouring allows you to specify how the effort of an assignee is distributed across a task period. 

Thanks to Box Types, you can set up any number of default Boxes - flexible, high-level containers that come preconfigured, partially customized, or fully personalized. In practice, this means unprecedented flexibility in shaping a portfolio hierarchy to suit your business needs best.

A Box type is akin to a template, which, once configured, can be used each time you or your team want to start working on a new thing (i.e., a Project, Portfolio, etc.), launch a new SAFe Agile Release Train, or do anything else. Each team can have a different Box template to accommodate different types of projects and individual team preferences.

An App Admin can set a default workload contouring mode for new Boxes of a given type. The setting can be overridden in a specific Box after creation.

Changing the Box Type or Box Configuration settings doesn't impact existing tasks - their workload contouring has to be manually changed in the Resources Module.


You can set a workload contouring mode of a task to:

  • Auto flat

  • Auto back-loaded

  • Auto front-loaded 

  • Manual (available only in BigPicture Enterprise)

Auto Flat Mode

The “flat” mode means that if a task duration spans five days + the time needed to complete the work (Original estimate) is 20 hours, the effort of the assignee is spread out evenly. For example, 20h spread over five days = 4h a day. The mode is reflected on the Gantt chart in the Resources panel. If you extend or shorten the task duration, the effort is re-distributed evenly.

Auto Back-Loaded Mode

The extra effort is gradually added in the “back-loaded” mode, starting with the task end date. The app assigns users as many hours per day as capacity allows (i.e., 8 hours and going back in dates until a whole effort is distributed).

Let’s look at the same task from the previous example (5 days; 20 hours required). If the assignee has no other responsibilities and works eight hours a day, the system will distribute the work as follows:

Auto Front-Loaded Mode

In the “front-loaded” mode, the extra effort is gradually added starting with the task start date. The app assigns a user as many hours per day as capacity allows (for example, eight hours going forward in dates until a whole effort is distributed).

Manual Contouring Mode

Manual contouring mode is available only in BigPicture Enterprise.

You can manually configure workload contours by switching to a manual mode. Once a manual mode is selected, the system stops contouring workload automatically. All changes have to be made manually, directly in the pop-up. 

As you adjust the workload, the original estimate changes accordingly. The remaining capacity is displayed below each field. While planning, you can always see the remaining capacity a given resource has on a particular day. This allows for much flexibility and helps you ensure the desired allocation can be reached. If you want to assign someone 7 hours of work every day and ensure they get 1 hour left for miscellaneous tasks, you can quickly achieve that even if they have multiple obligations. 

Manual workload contours refer to a specific estimate: Remaining Estimate or Original Estimate. You can select the option you want to work with at the top. 

Manual contour can’t be defined for Story points effort mode.