Workamajig Project Management: The Project Way and Project Templates- Ron Ause

Project Templates – when you create a new project you can elect to copy the project setup from a project template. The idea is that you are wanting to copy similar work instead of rebuilding a project from scratch each time. They become the gatekeepers of your standards, which are housed within your templates. We have added a new project in our example by using the brochure template. The new project is opened; keep in mind that the command options for Projects can be collapsed to enable easier viewing. This is available on an individual basis. So, the project has been opened.

We proceed to the estimating screen (this is from the upcoming, new estimating module). The Way advocates storing Estimates within your templates. The templates are housed with standard services or roles. The tasks and services viewed on the estimate are the result of your agency determining a standard that can be applied to all projects that will use that template. They can certainly be updated, but they are the foundation. For each project you are trying to plug in your best guess for how many hours you think it will take to complete the project. Also, you can set up multiple estimates in your template to account for the various levels of scope. Each scope would have more or less hours allocated to the given tasks and/or services your are estimating for. Alternatively, you could create multiple tasks that each house one estimate reflective of the scope level. The idea is that the template is your knowledge base.

What is the Schedule? The schedule consists of our tasks. You can add tasks, and infinite levels of sub-tasks. A new element being added to the schedule is that you can change the name directly in the grid. Also, the task id’s will automatically be created for you. Workamajig advocates assigning the roles to your tasks within the template. You can do this by adding actual people or placeholder people, such as “Copyrighter” or “Art Director”. The users are non-chargeable (free licenses), that can be setup through employees. Simply leave their login data blank. Next, we have set the number of days (duration) each task will take. You can use your actual, historical data to help develop the number of days each template should house. Tip: you can create a Rush template copied from a typical template of any type, where the durations are set to be much shorter. Keep your typical template durations realistic and use them as a guide for client service, and helping keep client expectations realistic for when a project can be turned around. In the schedule we can link tasks together to create dependencies, or predecessor relationships. This keeps one task from beginning until another has ended. These relationships help manage your schedule and ultimately can help Workamajig determine which projects are in danger of not being completed by the Project Completion date. For the majority of the projects we do, we can develop good templates that work for us. There are exceptions of course for longer projects that are more complex. In this case you can go in add new tasks on the fly. Workamajig is making this easier. Now when you add tasks, you can have access to your templates, and view task structures within them to add new tasks to a Project. That’s pretty exceptional, essentially eliminating any need for master tasks. Keep in mind that these tasks are being added after the project has been opened, and are drag-and-drop. New views will enable you to view your schedule as a calendar and gantt chart, both of which will be printable. The new ‘way’ for the schedule and tasks will allow you to easily reassign and/or allocate hours to your staff by clicking directly into the grid by clicking on a new ‘eye’ icon. Once you have assigned tasks to people, it is important to utilize the My Tasks widget on your desktop so that people will know they are assigned to tasks. The My Task widget is not only a method of communicating tasks. By pushing the tasks to their Desktop, they simply input a number of hours spent, select a service, and optionally update the percentage complete, click save and the time entry is added to their timesheet automatically for them. There is no easier way to enter time. You should require your staff to enter time in this way because entering time on a daily basis is the best way to ensure accurate time entry. The ultimate goal we are setting is to manage by exception: set the standards and manage the deviations from it.

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