The Workamajig Way – Ron Ause: Project Management

*Please note, due to the ‘live’ nature of the content, it is not proofread.  This allows me to get the information to the blog more quickly.  I apologize for this inconvenience.  If any of the content is unclear, please contact me and I will try to do a better job of explaining what was covered (lee@workamawiz.com).  Thank you for your patience.

The Workamajig Way – Ron Ause

1.  Ron – playing role of various characters to show examples of the process.  Logging in as “Natalie” (an AE).  Begin this process by adding a “Project Request”.  Recommends setting up a project request based on the types of projects.  You can define a list of Project Request types and define all of the fields for data collection.  Workamajig asks for the client, Requests By, and Notify Email.  Lookup options are available.  The next option is the Creative Brief.  In this example, the Creative Brief is generated from a custom Spec Sheet, as opposed to the Project Creative Brief.  This too can be customized with various types of fields to capture data.  So at this point the AE is filling out as much information as possible to help the agency.  The next page prompts you to add to optionally select other spec sheets based on the project.  You could create various spec sheets to have in place for this step.  You can attach files to the spec sheets, which could be client-driven files that help further define the scope of the work.  At this point you “Complete the request”.  The system notifies the personnel you specified of the new request.  Notification can happen through email or desktop.   

2.  Ron logging in as traffic person (Carrie).  Carrie has items to approve on the desktop — the Project Request.  This may be on many people’s desktop, depending on who needs to review this request.  Carrie will then open the request to review and approve or reject, paying attention to the sensitivity of the time restraints, etc.  She is looking for information that would be missing for rejection/approval purposes, and an option to add comments to help give further direction.  The Request can also be edited.  Approval leads to estimating and scheduling for potential (if required) presentation to the client.  Next step after approval, is create a project.

3.  New project doesn’t mean it is approved, but we need estimate and schedule.  Important to leave project status to “Estimate” to note this distinction.  When you open the project from the request, the information captured at the initial stage, will transfer it in.  The Creative Brief option for the project will then be turned off since it was captured in the first step.  NOTE:  Workamajig has a set of templates that come with the system.  Email support (support@workamajig.com) and they will load the templates into your system, if you have had the system prior to the template generation.   This can be helpful if you did not start with a Project Request.  

Other users may skip the Project Request and begin by adding a new project.  You can add a new project and copy from the template, and go straight to the spec sheets for the creative brief.   You can manage the options that appear to each user within a project through the use of security options.  Use the security options to remove access to “Creative Brief” if you want to use the spec sheet.  Workamajig recommends using the spec sheet but leaves the old option for users that prefer.

4. We now move to scheduling.  We will cover using the estimating portion in another presentation.  This “Workamajig Way” has a general estimate already specified through copying the template, which can be tweaked.  Workamajig recommends using the templates and tweaking them based on the reality you experience within your agency.

Within the current example, copied from the template, a schedule has been pre-defined.  The pre-defined tasks have been assigned to general types of people rather than specific employees (AE, Art Director, etc).  You can do this by setting up employees “Art Director, AE, Copyrighter).  Make these users “Active” so that you can select them and put them into templates.  Do not give them login information and Workamajig will not charge you for them as users — this is a great tip (thanks Ron!).  Again, the purpose of this function is to have the roles established in your template, and you can add the relevant employees later.  If you have a smaller agency, use your existing employees to assign to these tasks.  Within your templates you will have assigned (or use the pre-defined parameters from Workamajig) the number of days it will take to accomplish each of your tasks.  You can also set dependancies (predecessors; can use “link” function in Workamajig to do the same thing) where some tasks cannot be performed until another is complete.  Remember, depending on the size of your agency, you may not need to follow this level of detail.  But, it is good to have your mind set and ready for this process regardless of your plans for growth.

Once the schedule has some initial facts set from the template (answering “How long does it normally take us to do this?”) then you can go back to the project setup and enter in proposed completion dates and see how they fit in to your schedule.  This will help you determine if your schedule is realistic based on other projects and your resources.  Go to Projects/Staff Schedules:  this will tell you your resources and how busy your staff is.  Set parameters to define what your resource usage is currently at.  Use the filters on the left of the screen to determine what defines this for your agency (from a beginning date, how many weeks, with how many man-hours during that period.  Refresh your screen and you will see summary information based on existing schedules in your system.  You are viewing how many hours are needed from your employees during each time period for your projects to be completed on time.  The system will give you red, yellow or green lights, by person, based on their ability to perform their functions on time.  Remember, we are talking about your ability to take on the new work based on what it is already in-house (per existing schedules, AND calendar information).  You are doing this to set a schedule that you can meet for the new work.  NOTE:  this system relies on your using reliable information.  If your schedules assign 2 days for a client to review an estimate but it routinely takes longer, then your information is not as reliable. 

Enhancement note:  Calendar enhancements are on the way for iCal and Exchange server.  

Moving on, we assume that we now have accepted the project.  Now we need to re-assign the general roles that were assigned to actual employees (NA if you use actual people in your templates).  You can do this in the Project Schedule as well.  In your Staff Schedule screen, you will select your general employee and you will see all the tasks assigned to them.  Find the task assigned for the project we just set up and select it.  There is a command to ‘Reassign’.  Click this and select the person to assign the task to.  You also have the option to notify them via email that they have been assigned.  

Quick Summary:  we are trying to project resource load to accurately deliver our product delivery estimates to the client, and complete the work in-house in a timely fashion.  

Tip:  when entering task information you can click to “Show on Calendar” and then enter the times so that it will show up on your calendar on a meeting.  

5.  Communication Like a Pro – using the Project Diary.  The Project Diary is your central place to capture communications for the project.  You can also use the “Activity” section under “Contacts” to document communications.  This module can actually set ‘follow up activity’ as well.  You can add a “follow up date”.  This follow up activity will show up on your desktop if you have the desktop widget for “My Activities”.  This will display all of the followup activities you have.  You can use the Project Diary function to store email you send outside of Workamajig to the Project within Workamajig.  This is as simple as setting up an address (example:  diary@workamajig.com), and forwarding your messages to this address, with the project number in brackets “[PROJECT]”.  You can use this when you send invoices as well.  Future enhancements will improve these functions so that it is more automatic.  You can add notes directly from the diary and email the notes to employees.  This correspondence tracking can be useful when you need to document client changes, particularly if you have to document changes in a budget.  Activities can be linked to the project.  

6.  Wrap-up – Once the schedule is set for projects, employees that have been assigned the tasks you set, will be able to view them from their desktop so they will know their day’s workload.  If the employees’ tasks are assigned correctly, they can use their widget for “My Tasks” to easily enter time to tasks and create their timesheet.  You can then use a new tool called the time tracker.  This tool creates a great visual tool that shows time elapsing as you work.  This is a cool tool but hard to capture in text — visit your site to check it out.  What do you do if you are not assigned the task?  What if you are simply told ‘Do this now”?  You can use the My Tasks function to add a new timesheet entry and manually enter the project and task information.  You can still access the grid entry system traditionally utilized in Creative Manager Pro.

4 thoughts on “The Workamajig Way – Ron Ause: Project Management”

    1. Thank you for your comment. You should be able to continue adding projects to an existing campaign for a client as long as the Campaign is active in Workamajig. From the Workamajig help guide: “Campaigns allow you to tie multiple project together into a single entity where you can easily review budgets and schedules. Each project can belong to one campaign and each campaign can have as many projects underneath it as you need. You can only assign a campaign to a project that has the same client.”

  1. Thanks, Ron. One of the more challenging aspects I’ve found is migrating project data from within WMJ. I know custom tracking forms (such as Status Reports, Creative Briefs) can be built, but can one forms’ fields be used to populate the same field on another form? For example, if the fields in a Status Report are populated, can those same fields on a Daily Priority Report (as long as it exists) within the project auto populate? Since a Status report houses ALL projects, and the Daily Priority Report would be based on the day as needed. Extracting only daily project data onto the Daily Priority Report is what I’m envisioning. Thx.

    1. Hi Andrew, this is Lee Handley, aka, the Workamawiz. The custom fields do not currently have a way to link towards one another, and I wouldn’t think that will become an option. There are some instances where you can access data in one data set from another data set (i.e. Company data while in Project data). The good news is that you can pull your customized data into reporting tools; we just don’t have a way to auto-populate that data. I hope this helpful!

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