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Troubleshooting Schedule Anomalies

It’s not always clear why a schedule goes wrong or why some agents get schedules and others don’t.  Troubleshooting a schedule run is a similar process no matter which WFM application is being used. This article offers steps on troubleshooting schedules in a WFM application when things don’t go as expected.

Step 1: Analyze the schedule: Look at the schedule holistically and see if there is a pattern. There will be three possible scenarios. All agents received a schedule, some agents received a schedule, or no agents received a schedule. We will be focusing on the latter two results.

Schedule anomalies

If no one received a schedule, it’s time to backtrack through the scheduling process. These are the questions that need to be answered:

  1. Has there ever been a successful schedule creation for this team or organization? 
  2. Did the run produce staffing requirements?
  3. Are there service goals in place for the schedule period?
  4. Were agents properly assigned to the run?
  5. Was a forecast produced? Did it have valid data?
  6. Are the appropriate WFM data collectors attached to the schedule period? (Some of the tools I’ve worked with call these Contact Types, Queues or Data Groups)

If the answer to any of these questions was “no”, fix the missing puzzle piece and re-run the schedule.

If some agents received schedules there is most likely not an issue with the schedule run itself and the remainder of this article will apply. In this instance ask:

  1. Did the agents ever have a schedule? If so, what changed?
  2. What’s up with the work rule; is it valid? Does anyone that has a schedule have a rule in common with an agent who does not? If other agents assigned to the rule have a schedule, the rule is good, so skip to Step 4.
  3. Do the agents have anything else in in common? If all the agents missing schedules have something in common that is not a work rule assignment, skip to Step 4.
  4. Are all agents missing a schedule new? If so, skip to Step 4.

If nothing jumps out, then move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Analyze the work rule: In a partially successful schedule run check work rule assignments. The questions to ask about work rules are:

  1. Do any other agents have the same rule assignment as the agents that are missing schedules? If not, is this a new rule?
  2. Does the work rule make sense?
  • Does it have a shift assignment?
  • Does it have the appropriate number of days off/working days?

If everything looks good with the work rule, move on to Step 3.

Step 3: Analyze the shift: If the weekly rule is correct, look at the shift that is attached to it, and ask:

  1. Is it inside operating hours for the center?
  2. Is it the correct length? It’s easy to forget to add the lunch to the length of the shift.
  3. Are the break rules configured correctly? Sometimes they are set to happen outside working hours for the shift or day.

If everything looks good with the shift, move to Step 4.

Step 4: Check the agent profile: The last step is to determine if the agents are configured correctly.  Make sure the agent records include:

  1. Skill assignments appropriate to the schedule run.
  2. A work rule, weekly rule or shift assignment.
  3. Minimum and maximum allowable working hours for the agent.
  4. A start date or hire date that falls within the schedule run period.

Troubleshooting a schedule run can be one of the most challenging and frustrating functions of Workforce Management. Following these steps and answering these questions will help any WFM professional successfully troubleshoot an incomplete schedule run without having to call technical support.

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