Here are some 'best practise' procedures to follow when generating your timetable:
1. Test the timetable before the first generation. Why to test the timetable?
2. Test the timetable after you make any big changes to the data.
3. Try to generate a Draft timetable, before inputting all your constraints.
4. It is a good idea to allow relaxation of the constraints during the first few generations. This can give you a idea of what might be problem in your timetable. For example: if the software always relaxes the maximum number of consecutive lessons for a teacher, it is most likely the case that you will need to allow this teacher to be able to teach more consecutive lessons.
5. Add constraints one by one. If you were able to generate a draft timetable then you are probably heading in the right direction. Now you can add constraints one by one, from the most important to the 'wish lists' of your teachers. So add a constraint, generate and if successful, add another. If you are not able to generate a schedule after adding some constraint it is likely that this constraint is unrealistic based on how your timetable data is currently setup.
6. If needed you can raise the complexity of generation, including draft generations. However, only do this if you are confident that the software understands what you want. That is at this complexity have you been able to generate drafts or previous timetables at this level of complexity.
7. Repeat steps 4,5,6 until you find a timetable you are fully happy with. The good thing about this approach is that you usually end up with a timetable that can be used even if the generation with added constrains produced no results.
8. At some point you might try to turn off the relaxation of constraints and accept only the timetables with no relaxations. Or, if this isn't working for you, you can continue with relaxations and accept the timetable with a few relaxed constraints.
a) Sometimes it might be necessary for the generation to take many hours. However it is best to only do this if you are in the later stages of generation. ie) you have already generated some schedules and you are adding new constraints.
b) We recommend that you do not input all the constraints you might think of to start with and then generate for 10 hours, for example. Rather it is better to follow the above approach (draft and then add constraints one at a time)
c) We can always assist you if you have problems with the generation of your timetable. Just contact us by using the red question mark (Don't forget to describe your problem so we are better able to help you).
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