BLOG. SMART PRACTICAL BUSINESS ADVICE

New version released

If you haven’t been keeping up with our numerous blog and twitter posts announcing this major update or if you’ve missed the announcement inside of your WORK[etc] account, or if you haven’t tried out the beta before today, then logging into your WORK[etc] account might have been a bit of a surprise.

Over this weekend we promoted a number of revised WORK[etc] tools from beta to public release; meaning that all WORK[etc] accounts have now been upgraded to the new version.

The following key areas of WORK[etc] have all been updated:

  • Projects
  • ToDo List
  • Help Desk
  • Time sheets
  • Calendar

Missing Projects?  Missing ToDos?

Before I go into the details, the biggest issue some people may see in their accounts is going to be seemingly missing Projects or ToDos’.

Do not worry.  They aren’t missing.

It is just that some people with custom filters may have settings applied that will hide some items from view in the new version. This is very easily fixed.  Simply go into the projects and to-do screen and turn the filters to:

  • Period: Anytime
  • Active/Inactive:  All items
  • Employee: Everyone
  • Customers: Leave unselected

Turn on all filters to find any missing items

This will of course show everything under your account.  It is then just a matter of adjusting these filters to show the information that you want to see.

Whilst this new set up may be annoying to set up, the benefit is that allows you much more control over the information you see.  Particularly useful for some of our clients that are running hundreds of projects at any one time.

New in Project Management

Project management online should not just be a dumping ground for everything to do with a project.  Most tools feel like this; you log into an account, find a project and then throw everything to do with your project at it.  Maybe label some of the items and maybe tick off a few milestones.  I don’t see how this is really different to email.  We wanted a system whereby you actually worked on a project in that space.

We also wanted to be able to view a project from a number of perspectives, allowing people to choose their work style based on task or role.

And then of course there was 18 or so months of customer feedback, logic holes and suggestions made in the forums.

So this is how it turned out…

Project Management Software - Click to Enlarge

First, what the different tab views show:

Gantt Chart(shown above). 

This shows a visual timeline of the project, including sub project and todo hierarchy, linked or dependent sub projects and other visual indicators such as priority (red flag) and recoded data (speech bubble with an “i”).

When you would use it: This tab is useful to quickly set up a new project.  As well as being able to drag and drop to create project dates, you also hit the tab button and rapidly create new ToDos or Sub Projects or just select the tick box to mark an item as complete.

This view is also critical to visualise how a project is progressing in terms of completion or key milestones.

Project Tree

The Project Tree view is a simple relationship hierarchy of Projects, Sub Projects and ToDos.

When you would use it: Use this tab to quickly view what individual items make up a project and to add new items to a project.  Using this view it is simple to find a particular sub project and to create new items under that sub project.

Activity Stream

This is the project conversation.  Everything that happens under a project is fed into the project stream and sorted by date order; the end result is a constant feed of activity, with the ability to drill up or down in hierarchy by switching to a different tab view.

When you would use it: The Activity Stream makes it easier to get up to date on a project and to collaborate in real time.  Using the filters (mentioned at the start of this post) you can customise what information you want to see in your project feed.

Priority, Progress, Documents & People
These views are self-explanatory.  Essentially they are filtered views of the project.  So, for example the Priority view is all items under a project, sorted by priority, the people view is all items sorted and people.

Budget Tab

The new budget tab has been upgraded to allow discrete line view of how each sub project is tracking and then an overall view of project budget, taking into account logged time, milestone payments, expenses and more.  The diagram below best illustrates this:

Project Budget Tab - Click to Enlarge

Ironically we used our new project management tool, to manage the development of our new project management tool…

Main Project Directory Screen

Aside from the new design, there are a number of usability enhancements to the main project screen.  Screen grab below, click to enlarge:

Main Project Screen - click to enlarge

TimeSheets – Time Tracking

This entire module got a huge make over.  Most notably the ability to choose how you enter time:

  • Drag and Drop on a Calendar View
  • Line entry for each day of the week
  • Group entry to manage timesheets on behalf of other people.

Group Timesheet Entry - click to enlarge

Line Entry Timesheet - click to enlarge

Customer Support / Help Desk

Again, huge improvements in usability and user experience.  I’ll show these below, rather than explain.

Help Desk - click to enlarge

The coolest thing here is the new Activity Stream view.  This gives you a real time feed of everything to do with customer support, across your entire business.

…continued after I drink more coffee, shortly…>>>

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