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AtTask Fundamentals Course and Exercise Manual Education
AtTask Fundamentals
Course and Exercise Manual
Education

Copyright © 2011 AtTask, Inc. All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, photocopying, sound recording, or otherwise, without the prior written consent of AtTask, Inc., except as permitted by law.

Printed in the United States of America.

First Edition, September 2010 (rev. 20110202)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO ATTASK

9 !

Lesson

1.1 AtTask Terms to Know

10 !

Lesson

1.2

AtTask Structure

12 !

Lesson 1.3 Logging In and Out

14 !

Lesson

1.4

Navigation

17!

Lesson 1.5 TeamHome Navigation Chapter 1 Exercises

CHAPTER 2 PROJECT MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW

23 !

24 !

25 !

Lesson 2.1 Project Management Activities

26

Lesson

2.2 Understanding Other Roles’ Responsibilities

29

CHAPTER 3 BASIC PROJECT CREATION

33 !

Lesson

3.1 Create A Project

34

Lesson 3.2

Adding Tasks to a Project

46

Lesson 3.3 Other Gantt-Related Activities

50

Lesson 3.4 Assigning Role Resources to Tasks

64

Lesson 3.5 Using Team Builder

69

CHAPTER 4 PROJECT TEAM ACTIVITIES

75

Lesson 4.1 Updating Task Assignments

Lesson 4.2

Lesson 4.3 Reviewing Notes

Recording Notes

77!

93

!

97!

Lesson 4.4 Condition Updates

98

Lesson

4.5

Attaching

Documents to Projects

100 !

Chapter 4 Exercises

102 !

CHAPTER 5 LOGGING ISSUES

103!

Lesson

5.1 Creating

Issues

104 !

Lesson 5.2 Viewing and Updating Issues

108 !

Chapter 5 Exercises

110

CHAPTER 6 PROJECT ANALYSIS

111

Lesson 6.1 Search Options

112

Lesson 6.2 Using Views, Filters, and Groupings

117!

Lesson 6.3 Built-in Reports: List and Chart

120 !

Lesson 6.4 Exporting Search Results and Reports

123 !

Lesson 6.5 Dashboards

125!

CHAPTER 7 ATTASK HELP

129

Lesson

7.1 Using the Help Desk

130

Lesson 7.2 The AtTask Community

135!

Lesson 7.3 Internal Support Systems

137!

END-OF-DAY EXERCISES

139 !

WHAT’S NEXT?

141!

Course Feedback

141!

Professional Services Options

141!

AtTask Standard Courses

141!

APPENDIX A

143!

APPENDIX B

147!

APPENDIX

C

163!

INTRODUCTION

We would like to welcome you to the AtTask Fundamentals education course. We are honored to have you as a guest at our education center.

The intention of our education program is to provide you with a world-class education experience and assist you in obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the full potential of the AtTask solution.

Each AtTask education course has been designed to provide an opportunity for you to increase the depth of your product knowledge and reduce your personal learning curve.

As an end user, the skills you will learn during your education experience will be applicable to your daily responsibilities and add value to your organization. You will be able to share your new knowledge with fellow team members to create a highly effective project team.

Thank you for your time and dedication to making AtTask an essential part of improving your organization’s

value and efficiency.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact anyone on the Professional Services team.

In Service to you,

Jackie Golden VP, Global Professional Services AtTask, Inc.

YOUR COURSE OBJECTIVES

In order to assist the course facilitator to understand and help to meet your needs for this training course, please provide a list of goals you would like to get out of this training. You will be asked to share these with the class, and the instructor will incorporate, as much as possible, your objectives throughout the training.

Objectives for this Course

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

TENTATIVE TRAINING SCHEDULE

! Introduction

! Introduction to AtTask

! Project Management Overview

! Break

! Basic Project Creation

! Lunch

! Project Team Activities

! Logging Issues

! Break

! Project Analysis

! AtTask Help

Time Estimates (Eastern Time)

10 min

10:00 am - 10:10 am

30 min

10:10 am - 10:40 am

40 min

10:40 am - 11:20 am

10 min

11:20 am - 11:30 am

90 min

11:30 am - 1:00 pm

60 min

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

30 min

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm

30 min

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm

10 min

3:00 pm - 3:10 pm

40 min

3:10 pm - 3:50 pm

40 min

3:50 pm - 4:30 pm

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO ATTASK

“In the successful organization, no detail is too small to escape close attention.”

Lou Holtz

An organization can be structured in many different ways. The structure of your organization will determine the modes in which it operates and performs, ultimately deciding its success. AtTask was designed to make it easy for project team members to find their work and see what they need to see in order to do their job. This chapter will show you a simple and quick way to view the work you have been assigned and navigate within the software.

LESSON 1.1 ATTASK TERMS TO KNOW

Accomplishments:

The Accomplishments tab (or report) is located on each Team Member's profile. The purpose of the report is to display all completed tasks and issues by the user.

Commit Date:

The Commit Date is the agreed upon completion date set by the resource(s) completing the work item.

Done:

The 'Done' option allows you to indication when a task is complete or when part of a task is finished. The Done button can be customized with additional options for teams.

Help Requests:

Help Requests are used in Stream to mitigate concerns and resolve issues submitted by Team Members. By submitting a request or issue to a Help Request Queue, a Team Member is able to communicate needs to the best individual or individuals to get work done.

I’m Working With:

The I'm Working With filter appears on the left-hand menu when a Team Member accesses the Team area of the Team Member interface.

My Updates:

This report displays the feed of updates provided by people who are working on the same projects as you, as well as those who belong to the same Team as you. The My Updates tab (or report) can be added to portal profiles within the Project Management side of AtTask.

Notification Flag:

A Notification Flag appears to inform a Project Manager when a change has occurred to a task regarding a commit date.

Personal Tasks:

Personal Tasks represent the work a Team Member performs outside formally organized projects. Personal tasks provide the ability to capture all work you are doing in one place and prioritize normal daily-activities along with assigned work.

Project Condition Update:

This is a view option generated on a report to allow project managers to see the condition of current projects, tasks and issues.

Recent Updates:

The Recent Updates area contains a streaming feed of notes and comments generated as project managers and other team members post updates to their tasks or issues. You will find the Recent Updates on the Home page of the Team Member interface.

Stream:

A Stream tab appears in both the Team Member interface and the Project Management interface. In the Team Member interface, the Stream tab is located in the Team area (accessed by clicking the Team link in the top navigation). It contains a live feed of updates from users working with you. In the Team Member interface, a Stream tab appears on the Project, Task, and Issue landing pages to display just the notes and comments pertaining to that object.

Sorting:

This feature allows Team Members the ability to control how items appear in the Working On tab. The fields in the view of the report control the sort options that appear in a Team Member interface report.

Team Member Views:

A unique view specifically created for the Working On and Requests tabs in the Team Member interface. Configuring the teams and assigning the view to those teams represents the most efficient method to distribute the views.

Team Member:

The term refers to any resources that function in a project collaborator role.

Team Requests:

A Team Request represents a pending work item that unassigned to a specific user resource. Instead, the request is assigned to a Team (a collection of resources that perform the same type of work) and any member of the team can potentially accept responsibility for the task.

Team:

The Stream Team is a collection of people related by a common role or purpose. This is different from a project team. Stream teams are individuals who may have diverse job roles or serve various purposes, but are associated with a team in Stream.

Work On It:

The Work On It button communicates to project managers, team members, and other key stakeholders when you accept a work item. When this button is selected, AtTask transfers the work item from the Work Requests, or Team Requests report, to the user’s My Work tab on the Team Member Home page.

Work Requests:

A Work Request represents a pending task or issue assignment. Work Requests are found on the Home Page of the Team Member interface under the Work Requests tab.

Working On:

In general, the term Working On refers to a report, which contains work items users have agreed to complete. The Working On tab (or report) found on the Home page of the Team Member interface contains the list of the Work Requests, Team Requests, and Personal Tasks a team member has committed to complete .

LESSON 1.2 ATTASK STRUCTURE

While each organization must adopt their own unique Project Management Lifecycle (PML) – and many organizations implementing AtTask already have – AtTask has been built upon a standard project lifecycle that corresponds with industry standards. Once you understand this approach, you will be better equipped to deviate from the AtTask Project Management Lifecycle and adapt it to match your own established methods. It is important to organize your projects into phases that are industry-specific.

WHAT AM I LOOKING AT?

AtTask is essentially a collection of projects. AtTask is a web-based project management tool.

Figure 1. AtTask Projects.

project management tool. Figure 1. AtTask Projects. Projects are made up of work. This work is

Projects are made up of work. This work is either represented as tasks or issues.

Figure 2. AtTask Work Items.

Projects are made up of work. This work is either represented as tasks or issues. Figure
A Task is an item of planned work that must be completed in order for

A Task is an item of planned work that must be completed in order for the project to complete.

Generally, a project plan consists of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) or a task list.

consists of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) or a task list. An Issue is an item

An Issue is an item of un-planned work that must be preformed in order for the project to complete.

If the issue is recorded against a task, the issue must be completed before the task can be considered complete.

LESSON 1.3 LOGGING IN AND OUT

As mentioned previously, AtTask is a web-based Project Management tool. Your AtTask system administrator or core implementation team will provide you with the URL your organization is using to access AtTask. You will also be provided with login credentials for your own user account. If you do not know this information you will want to find out who your System Administrator is and ask them to enlighten you.

If you do not already know your organization’s URL, you need to contact your AtTask administrator and/or the implementation manager to access this information. Once you have this information, write it down.

http://

/

After inputting the AtTask URL, you will be presented with the Login Screen. See Figure 3.

Figure 3. AtTask Login Screen.

Figure 3. AtTask Login Screen. Input the Username and Password provided by your AtTask administration and

Input the Username and Password provided by your AtTask administration and then click the Login button.

My Username:

Never write down or disclose your AtTask password.

To log in to AtTask

1. Go the application URL.

2. Enter your username followed by your password.

3. After entering the password, click the Login button, or press the Enter or Return key.

NOTE To log out of AtTask, simply click on the Logout link in the upper
NOTE
To log out of AtTask, simply click on the Logout link in the upper right of the
interface.

LESSON 1.3 EXERCISES

Exercise 1 If you know your organization’s AtTask URL, go to the login screen and then bookmark the page in your browser or drag the URL to your desktop.

Exercise 2 Take the URL and login credentials provided by the AtTask Team Member course facilitator and login to the testdrive account you will use for the rest this training.

LESSON 1.4 NAVIGATION

When you have logged in, your will see a page similar to Figure 1-4.

Figure 4. The AtTask Home Page.

1.4 N AVIGATION When you have logged in, your will see a page similar to Figure

Portal Tabs

Across the top of the interface you will notice a series of tabs (see Figure 2-3). Each tab contains anywhere from one to three reports.

Figure 5. AtTask Portal Tabs.

from one to three reports. Figure 5. AtTask Portal Tabs. NOTE Portal tabs can be configured
from one to three reports. Figure 5. AtTask Portal Tabs. NOTE Portal tabs can be configured
NOTE Portal tabs can be configured by your AtTask administrator to display unique reports needed
NOTE
Portal tabs can be configured by your AtTask administrator to display unique reports needed
for your daily operations. You may see slightly different reports in your actual AtTask

The My Tasks Tab

To find the work that has been assigned to you, simply click on the My Tasks tab. In many AtTask implementations, this is the only place team collaborators need to go to find their work.

Figure 6. The My Tasks Tab.

need to go to find their work. Figure 6. The My Tasks Tab. This tab contains

This tab contains three reports, and you should be aware of what each of these displays.

My Upcoming Tasks

The My Upcoming Tasks report displays tasks that meet all of the following criteria:

! Incomplete tasks

! Tasks on current projects

! Tasks assigned to “you” (the logged in user)

! Tasks due to start before the end of next week.

My Issues

The My Issues report shows all incomplete issues that are assigned to “you”.

My Approvals

The My Approvals report displays projects, tasks, and issues that are awaiting your approval.

TIP If the My Tasks tab is the first thing you want to see when
TIP
If the My Tasks tab is the first thing you want to see when you log in to AtTask, make sure the
My Tasks tab is being viewed and then click on the Pin Tab icon (
AtTask workspace.
) in the upper right of the

The My Tasks Menu-Option

The My Upcoming Tasks report on the My Tasks tab only displays outstanding assigned items due in the next few weeks. You may want to see all of your incomplete tasks. Simply click the My Tasks link on the left hand navigation.

Figure 7. The My Tasks Report.

on the left hand navigation. Figure 7. The My Tasks Report. NOTE This report is essentially
NOTE This report is essentially the same as the My Upcoming Tasks report except the
NOTE
This report is essentially the same as the My Upcoming Tasks report except the date range is
excluded from the filter.

To view the upcoming Tasks and Issues assigned to “you”

1. From the AtTask Home page, click the My Tasks tab.

To view all incomplete Tasks assigned to “you”

1. From the AtTask Home page, click the My Tasks link.

TIP From most reports you have the ability to apply an additional Filter, change the
TIP
From most reports you have the ability to apply an additional Filter, change the View,
and set a Grouping. Apply the Active Tasks filter and observe what happens to your
list.
NOTE In this case, Active means tasks that can be worked on right now. The
NOTE
In this case, Active means tasks that can be worked on right now. The planned start date
has passed and predecessors are complete.

LESSON 1.5 TEAMHOME NAVIGATION

AtTask presents a simplified the home page and navigation designed for Team Members. All work items assigned to a team member appear on the home page as soon as he/she logs in. Other information related to work is only one or two clicks away from the Home page.

to work is only one or two clicks away from the Home page. 1. Work Calendar

1. Work Calendar: This calendar shows selected and completed work.

2. Working On: This is a team members personal work list. Only tasks and issues selected by the individual team member will display here.

3. Work Requests: Team members go to this report to review, select, and reply to work requests assigned to him/her.

4. Add Task: Team members can create individual tasks to capture all the work he/she is doing outside of assigned project work.

5. Recent Updates: Displays a live feed of updates submitted by others you work with.

CHAPTER 1 EXERCISES

Exercise 1 Go to the My Tasks tab and click the Pin Tab icon. Click on the My Tasks link in the left-hand navigation and, finally, click on the AtTask logo in the upper left corner of the page. Make note of the tab displayed by default.

Exercise 2 Go to the My dropdown menu to select the Tasks option.

! What is the difference between this and the My Upcoming Tasks report?

! Do you notice any difference between this and the My Tasks report accessed through the left-hand navigation?

CHAPTER 2 PROJECT MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW

“The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.”

Marcus Aurelius

This chapter provides a brief overview of the AtTask Project Management Lifecycle (PML). The PML is a reference for a logical sequence of activities. These activities are directed at achieving a project’s goals or objectives. Regardless of scope, any project goes through a series of stages during its life.

Depending on the approach you take, this lesson will help you get a better understanding of what AtTask Project Management can do for you and how it can be used within your own organization.

LESSON 2.1 PROJECT MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

In general, to complete a project successfully, specific activities must take place. The Project Management Institute (PMI) identifies five process groups (or phases) of a project’s lifecycle. The Six Sigma business strategy offers two variations of a project methodology, depending on the type of project.

PMI Process Groups

Six Sigma (DMAIC) Phases

Six Sigma (DMADV) Phases

1.

2.

3.

4. Monitoring and Controlling

5.

Initiating

Planning

Executing

Closing

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Define

Measure

Analyze

Improve

Control

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Define

Measure

Analyze

Design

Verify

Even in an Agile environment there is an established workflow for taking an idea and transforming from a backlog item into stories, sprints, and releases.

Regardless of the methodology you use in your organization, without following certain steps at the inception of the project, you create a greater risk of failure for the project. Likewise, commonly accepted steps take place during a planning phase and an execution phase.

The purpose of this lesson, and course, is not to instruct you on which methodology you should subscribe to; rather, one of the several purposes is to identify the need of establishing a methodology. Once a methodology is adopted, you can begin to translate the methodology activities into AtTask activities and features.

Figure 8. The Waterfall Project Management Lifecycle

the methodology activities into AtTask activities and features. Figure 8. The Waterfall Project Management Lifecycle 26

Now is an appropriate time for you to ask the question, “How do I complete these activities using AtTask?” The image below identifies how the waterfall activities correspond to AtTask features.

Figure 9. Waterfall Lifecycle with AtTask Features.

Figure 9. Waterfall Lifecycle with AtTask Features. After you have identified your project management

After you have identified your project management methodology and mapped the methodology activities to AtTask features, you are ready to begin sorting out who is responsible for completing each AtTask activity and using the different AtTask features.

NOTE As stated previously, this course does not suggest using one methodology over another. In
NOTE
As stated previously, this course does not suggest using one methodology over another. In
Lesson 2.2 you will be introduced to the AtTask Project Management Lifecycle (PML). The
AtTask PML illustrates how to efficiently use AtTask to take a project request from the Idea
state through to the Complete status.
When followed, the AtTask PML provides a higher degree of data integrity, all individuals
know their responsibilities, and the features in AtTask begin to compliment each other.

LESSON 2.1 EXERCISES

Exercise 1

After completing the Fundamentals course, sit down with your AtTask Consultant and/or your organization’s Implementation Team to fill in the following diagram.

sit down with your AtTask Consultant and/or your organization’s Implementation Team to fill in the following

LESSON 2.2 UNDERSTANDING OTHER ROLES’ RESPONSIBILITIES

While there are several approaches to completing projects, AtTask is designed to fit best within a traditional waterfall environment. However, AtTask is flexible enough to accommodate a myriad of methodologies.

Regardless of the methodology your organization uses, one of your first tasks is to learn how AtTask was designed to work. Once you understand how each feature works, you are then prepared to deviate from the intended use and come up with other creative approaches to using the software.

You will begin by reviewing the AtTask Project Management Lifecycle (PML). The Lifecycle identifies several activities that need to be performed to initiate, plan, execute, and eventually close a project.

The AtTask Project Management Lifecycle workflow in this course focuses on three primary PPM roles:
The AtTask Project Management Lifecycle workflow in this course focuses on three
primary PPM roles:
1) Portfolio Manager: This may include Portfolio/Program Managers, Executives,
Resource Managers, and other Stakeholders.
2) Project Manager: This may include Project Managers and Resource
Managers.
3) Team Member:
This is any resource on the project responsible for
receiving and updating assignments in AtTask.

* Each Portfolio Manager activity is accented with a red dot, the Project Manager activity is blue and Team Member activities are yellow.

By understanding and implementing the following steps, you will be better able to build your project, understand what needs to be done and decide who will do it. This lesson introduces two versions of the AtTask Project Management Lifecycle (PML) with the steps each role will complete throughout the process of completing a project.

The Simplified AtTask Project Management Lifecycle depicts the workflow of AtTask activities when using only the Professional features of the software.

Figure 10. The Simplified AtTask Project Management Lifecycle.

using only the Professional features of the software. Figure 10. The Simplified AtTask Project Management Lifecycle.

The Standard AtTask Project Management Lifecycle represents the steps and activities completed by Project Managers and Portfolio Managers who are using Enterprise features such as the Portfolio Optimizer and Capacity Planner.

Figure 11. The Standard AtTask Project Management Lifecycle.

Figure 11. The Standard AtTask Project Management Lifecycle. The Standard AtTask PML provides a greater degree

The Standard AtTask PML provides a greater degree of Executive oversight and cleaner transitions between typical waterfall activities.

Whether using one of the AtTask Project Management Lifecycles or another one specific to the activities your organization needs to complete in AtTask, documenting the workflow of project management activities is an essential step to a successful implementation of AtTask. A documented workflow communicates a clear transition between the activities of all project collaborators, and it distinguishes the lines between Executive leadership and project management responsibilities.

NOTE The remainder of this course utilizes the Simplified AtTask PML to provide you with
NOTE
The remainder of this course utilizes the
Simplified AtTask PML to provide you with
a foundation of knowledge for the system.
The AtTask Project Manager and the AtTask
Portfolio and Resource Manager courses take
a deeper look at specific AtTask activities,
using the Standard AtTask PML as a guide.

30

Resource Manager courses take a deeper look at specific AtTask activities, using the Standard AtTask PML

The Standard AtTask Project Management Lifecycle

For your reference, the following provides an explanation of each activity in the Standard AtTask Project Management Lifecycle. This is meant to be a guide as you develop your own project management methodology.

The Initiation Phase:

Project Request: This involves assessing the project and preparing to document a Business Case. Portfolio Managers : This involves assessing the project and preparing to document a Business Case. Portfolio Managers will prepare a project shell and include a description, information and any necessary criteria to be submitted for further review.

Complete Business Case: By completing a Business Case you are able to present your reasons why a : By completing a Business Case you are able to present your reasons why a project should be approved by your organization, and what value it will provide. It also allows you to outline your goals, costs, and risks, create a scorecard, and ultimately calculate your Return on Investment (ROI) and any benefits or opportunities involved. The Project Manager coordinates and gathers information, helping the sponsor to complete the Business Case to be submitted for approval. Changing the status of the project from Idea to Requested indicates the Business Case is complete.

Initial Approval: Once project requests are submitted, an appropriate committee or individual will review all submissions : Once project requests are submitted, an appropriate committee or individual will review all submissions to determine if they should be included as a priority in the project portfolio. The status is then changed from Requested to Approved or Rejected.

The Planning Phase:

Plan Task Schedule: After defining the project, and getting the approval necessary to move forward, Project Managers : After defining the project, and getting the approval necessary to move forward, Project Managers will change their Approved projects to the Planning status to communicate the active stage of the project to stakeholders. Project Managers decide what tasks are needed and define schedule durations and job roles using the Gantt chart.

Reserve Resource Estimates: Assess your requirements and observe availability for each job role using the capacity planner. : Assess your requirements and observe availability for each job role using the capacity planner. While in the planning status, the Portfolio Manager should include the project in the Capacity Planner to reserve resources in the resource pool budget. The initial resource estimates provided in the request will be used until a more detailed plan is prepared.

Prioritize projects: Decide what projects take precedence by comparing projects competing for the same resource budget : Decide what projects take precedence by comparing projects competing for the same resource budget using the Portfolio Optimizer. From there you can better ascertain how to proceed, determine the significance of each project, its tasks, and when a project will be implemented.

Submit Schedule for Approval: Once you have organized your priorities, projected your timeline, identified critical dates, (absolute or : Once you have organized your priorities, projected your timeline, identified critical dates, (absolute or relative to a start date), and completed the Business Case, you will submit the schedule for approval.

Validate Resource Requirements: Review the resources available to your project. Verify with Project Managers the needs, requests, : Review the resources available to your project. Verify with Project Managers the needs, requests, the number of resources necessary to do specific jobs, and the hours available in the schedule. Detailed planning and scheduling is often made with a Capacity requirement- planning tool. For organizations that have a formal Resource Manager role, this is his/her primary activity in AtTask.

Reconcile Schedule with Approved Budget: Make sure all aspects of the plan correspond with approved schedules and project scope. : Make sure all aspects of the plan correspond with approved schedules and project scope. If necessary, reconcile and reassess changes to match the resource budget. Make sure you have what you need for a project.

The Execution Phase:

Resource Project with Team Members: This where you make job assignments. Using the Team Builder tool, assign specific user : This where you make job assignments. Using the Team Builder tool, assign specific user resources to tasks meeting the skill sets identified through the initial role assignments during planning. You can update your project status to Current at this point.

Accept Task Assignments: Take time to review your task assignments, work required, schedule commitments, and understanding of : Take time to review your task assignments, work required, schedule commitments, and understanding of a concrete outcome. If you have questions or concerns, take time to resolve them with your Project Manager.

take time to resolve them with your Project Manager. Negotiate Commit Dates : Once the schedule

Negotiate Commit Dates: Once the schedule is approved, make sure each team member has accepted the assigned : Once the schedule is approved, make sure each team member has accepted the assigned tasks, understands their individual roles, and the expected contributions from the team as a whole. If there are concerns over a team member’s ability or availability to complete an assignment, now is the time to address it and try to resolve any concerns.

Update Task Assignments: In order to communicate fully with other project stakeholders, Team Members should update the : In order to communicate fully with other project stakeholders, Team Members should update the status of their tasks on a regular basis.

Manage Issues and Track Project Progress: As a Project Manager, you are responsible to make sure all goes well on : As a Project Manager, you are responsible to make sure all goes well on the project. By consistent management of the issues that appear on each task, and working quickly to resolve concerns, you will be able to help each team member be successful and thereby assure the success of your project.

Record Issues and Update Issue Assignments: It is imperative that you keep track of and record all issues that emerge : It is imperative that you keep track of and record all issues that emerge on a task or a project. Due to the magnitude and scope, some issues may result in creating a new task solely to settle the issue. By updating the issue status you allow others to see your progress and help to work out any issues that may emerge before it becomes a detriment to the project. Uncontrolled issues are one of the most common causes of delay and failure on projects.

Review Hours and Add Billing Records: While the project is being executed, management undertakes the process of reviewing and monitoring : While the project is being executed, management undertakes the process of reviewing and monitoring deliverables including managing time, cost, change, tasks, issues, and all other forms of communication within the project. Hours are recorded to provide cost and billing estimates as well as to schedule projections. Hours can also be used to generate billing records that will be important when you create billing reports.

that will be important when you create billing reports. The Closure Phase: Utilize the Process Improvement

The Closure Phase:

Utilize the Process Improvement Worksheet: The Process Improvement Worksheet allows you to compare and reconcile your template plan with : The Process Improvement Worksheet allows you to compare and reconcile your template plan with the actual results of your projects created from a template. This worksheet will assist you in improving your templates by comparing them to empirical data.

CHAPTER 3 BASIC PROJECT CREATION

“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”

Theodore Levitt

Creating a project is the first step to structuring the way it will be managed. Once a basic format is established you can better determine the activities necessary to organize and carryout the project. Depending on your project, and the tasks throughout its life, you can begin to establish a functional approach and conduct the activities and strategies to complete it. Having a well thought out plan is essential to the success and overall satisfaction in the completion of any project.

This chapter shows you how to set up a project in AtTask. Here you will learn to:

! Create a project

! Add tasks to a project using the Gantt chart

! Assign resources to tasks in the Gantt chart

! Attach a document to a project

! Create and utilize a project template

LESSON 3.1 CREATE A PROJECT

Figure 12. Project Creation.

L ESSON 3.1 C REATE A P ROJECT Figure 12. Project Creation. The first step to

The first step to creating a project in AtTask is to create a container where all the project details will reside. These details can include company and group associations, tasks and issues, as well as documents, notes, and hour entries.

Figure 13. Project Attributes and Components.

tasks and issues, as well as documents, notes, and hour entries. Figure 13. Project Attributes and

Depending on the organization, this step is completed by either the executive sponsor or the project manager.

To create a new project

1. From the Create menu select the Project option.

project 1. From the Create menu select the Project option. 2. Fill in the relevant information

2. Fill in the relevant information for your project on New Project form.

3. Click the Save button.

your project on New Project form. 3. Click the Save button. NOTE Project creation does not
NOTE Project creation does not need to be long and drawn out. While there are
NOTE
Project creation does not need to be long and drawn out. While there are approximately 30
fields to choose from on the Project Details and Related Information tabs, most organizations
do not use all of these fields.
Many of the fields have defaults that can be set on the Project Management Preferences page
and never have to be changed on the project creation form. Other fields, you may decide to
ignore because they do not feed the reports your organization uses to receive value from
AtTask.

Since not all the project data fields are relevant to every organization, this training will elaborate only on the fields that are universally used by most organizations. For a full understanding of fields not discussed during this course, refer to the diagrams on the following pages that define each field on the New Project form.

Commonly Used Project Fields

Project Details Tab

1. Project (Name)

2.

3. Planned Start Date

4.

Description

Template

Related Information Tab

1. Owner

2.

3. Company

4.

5. Program

Sponsor

Portfolio

As defined by your organization’s project creation steps, project managers may also need to go to the Custom Data, Approvals, etc. tabs to fill out additional information.

NOTE Many fields can be set either by default as system preferences or they can
NOTE
Many fields can be set either by default as system preferences or they can be set in the
template. A well-defined template not only saves time while building out a work breakdown
structure, but it also streamlines the Create Project step and builds consistency across project
definitions.
The following attributes can be automatically populated through the template:
1. Related Information tab: Milestone Path
2. Custom Data tab: Category
3. Queue Properties tab: Publish As Help Desk
4. Queue Properties tab: Types of Issues
5. Queue Properties tab: New Issue Fields
6. Approvals tab: Existing Approval Process
NOTE Many project components can also be set by default through the template: 1. Documents
NOTE
Many project components can also be set by default through the template:
1. Documents
2. Expenses
3. Goals
4. Queue Topics
5. Reminder Notifications
6. Routing Rules
7. Risks
8. Tasks
9. Team Members

Figure 14. New Project: Project Details.

Figure 14. New Project: Project Details. More Information About a Few of the Project Details Fields

More Information About a Few of the Project Details Fields

Schedule Mode and Planned Start/Completion Date

You can schedule a project from a start date or a completion date. If you schedule from the start date, you will need to indicate the project’s planned start date. If you schedule it from completion date, you will need to indicate the project’s planned completion date.

As you create additional tasks, AtTask will consider the durations and predecessors of all the tasks in the project, and automatically calculate the planned project completion or start date depending on the schedule mode you select here.

To select a date, click the calendar icon (

).
).

Condition and Condition Type

In AtTask, you can automatically or manually set the project’s overall condition. There are three possible project conditions:

! On Target. The project is on time and in good shape.

! At Risk. The project is behind the planned schedule, but not yet late.

! In Trouble. The project has passed the planned completion date and is late.

The condition is automatically calculated based on the progress status of the project. However, it is possible to manually override the condition by modifying the Condition Type dropdown field.

By default, the condition type is set to Progress Status, which means AtTask will automatically track the project’s condition based on the progress of the project’s tasks. If you change the condition type to Manual, you must set the condition to On Target, At Risk, or In Trouble manually and manage any changes among these conditions by hand.

Status

The status of the project communicates to team members what stage of the project lifecycle a project is in. Unlike the condition, this setting requires a manual change as you move from one stage of the project lifecycle to another. AtTask offers several possibilities for a project’s status:

! Idea. The project is still in an idea stage and has not yet been formally requested.

! Requested. The project has been requested, but no planning has taken place.

! When selected the Rejected and Approved status options become available.

! Planning. The project is not underway but is being planned.

! Current. The project is underway and active.

! On Hold. The project is on hold, perhaps because other projects have taken precedence or because of financial constraints. However, interest in the project remains, so it is placed in a holding pattern rather than dropped.

! Complete. The project is finished. The project manager normally manually sets the project as complete as he or she verifies that all work is done.

! Dead. The project is no longer being pursued and it is not expected that it will be reactivated.

The following figure identifies the possible status selections from each status.

Figure 15. Status Progression

Figure 15. Status Progression NOTE System Administrators can customize Project, Task, and Issue status options. If
NOTE System Administrators can customize Project, Task, and Issue status options. If your account of
NOTE
System Administrators can customize
Project, Task, and Issue status options. If
your account of contains different or
additional status options, be sure to request
information regarding the intended use of
each status from your Implementation Team.

Figure 16. New Project: Related Information.

Figure 16. New Project: Related Information. 40

More Information About a Few of the Related Information Fields

Completion Mode

Completion Mode has two options: Manual and Automatic. Manual is the default setting and requires the project manager to update the status of the project must be manually updated to ‘Complete’ once all tasks and issues within the project have been completed, in the Project Details tab.

When you select Automatic, AtTask changes the status of the project to ‘Complete’ when all of the project's tasks are complete and all issues have been resolved. After this occurs, you cannot change the status of the project unless you change this field back to Manual.

Update Type

Using Update Type, you can set the circumstances under which AtTask updates the project's schedule timeline and associated labor costs. The following list describes the update types you may choose.

! Automatic. Each day, project schedules and costs are updated automatically.

! On Change. Updates occur automatically as changes are made to project and task schedules.

! Automatic and On Change. Updates both automatically and on change. (This is the default option. Best practice is to use this option.)

! Manual. Updates only when you manually choose to update the project.

Schedule

When a specific schedule is attached to a project, AtTask uses that schedule to calculate the project timeline. If you do not assign a schedule, then AtTask assigns this project the system default schedule, which is Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. When only a job role is assigned to a task or multiple users are assigned to a task, AtTask uses the schedule that is assigned to the project. If no schedule is assigned, the system default schedule is assigned. Otherwise, AtTask will use the schedule assigned to a single user to calculate the project timeline.

Recorded Changes

The Recorded Changes checkboxes determine which changes are recorded as notes so you can track changes made to the project. In AtTask, this function is also called an audit trail. These records help you track the following changes:

! Status Change. This includes changes that affect the status of a project such as completion percent or project status.

! Attachment Action. This includes changes to a document that has been attached to an object.

! Scope Change. This includes changes in project scope, such as changes to the duration of tasks, forced working dates in schedules, work assignments, and so forth.

! General Edit. This includes additional changes that have taken place, such as changes to names, descriptions, and other informational fields that are not covered by the other types of changes.

Review

Project creation is made easier when you realize you will not be using all of the project fields that make AtTask versatile. Using only the fields in the Commonly Used Project Fields lists, the specific steps to create a project would be:

1. Go to the Create menu to select the Project option.

2. Input a name into the Project field.

3. Provide a narrative Description of the project.

4. Select a date the project will start on.

5. Select a Template.

6. Click on the Related Information tab.

7. Identify the project manager in the Owner field.

8. Identify the Sponsor of the project.

9. Identify the customer of the project in the Company field.

10. Select the Portfolio and Program this project belongs to.

Practice Exercise 1 Scenario:

Your boss just informed you that you will head up the opening of an overseas office in Germany. This is a high profile project and you know it will be carefully watched. To make sure you are thorough, create a project container for the Overseas Office Opening. You want to start planning the project as soon as possible.

Steps:

1.

Create a new project and name it Overseas Office Opening.

2.

Provide a brief description.

3.

Using Schedule from Start Date, set the planned start date to next Monday.

4.

Set the project status to Planning.

5.

On the Related Information tab, set yourself (Michael Scott) as the Owner.

6.

Select Ryan Howard as the Sponsor.

7.

Select Dunder Mifflin, Inc. Corporate in the Company drop-down.

8.

Make sure the Group is set to Management.

9.

Click Save to create the project.

Practice Exercise 2 Scenario:

You have been selected to manage the company's next software release. You're not sure when you need to begin the project, but the software is scheduled for release in six months.

Steps:

1.

Create a new project and name it Semi-annual Software Release.

2.

Provide a brief description.

3.

Set the project status to Planning.

4.

Select the New Product Development template.

5.

On the Related Information tab, set yourself (Michael Scott) as the Owner.

6.

Select Dunder Mifflin, Inc. Corporate in the Company drop-down.

7.

Make sure the Group is set to Management.

8.

Click Save to create the project.

LESSON 3.1 EXERCISES

Exercise 3.1 After completing the Fundamentals course, sit down with your AtTask Consultant and/or your organization’s Implementation Team and build out your organization’s specific project creation steps. Realizing different projects may have different initiation steps, you are provided with several step outlines below.

Our Project Creation Steps for

 

Projects

1.

Go to the Create menu and select the Project option.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

Our Project Creation Steps for

 

Projects

1.

Go to the Create menu and select the Project option.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

Our Project Creation Steps for

 

Projects

1.

Go to the Create menu and select the Project option.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

Our Project Creation Steps for

 

Projects

1.

Go to the Create menu and select the Project option.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

LESSON 3.2 ADDING TASKS TO A PROJECT

Figure 17. Plan Task Schedule.

DDING T ASKS TO A P ROJECT Figure 17. Plan Task Schedule. Once you have created

Once you have created the project container to hold all the project details, tasks can be added to through the Gantt chart. The first step is to access the Gantt chart.

From the Navigation screen of the newly created project, simply click the Gantt Chart button in the workspace.

simply click the Gantt Chart button in the workspace. From the Navigation tab or any other

From the Navigation tab or any other project-level screen, click on the Gantt Chart link on the left-hand navigation menu.

on the Gantt Chart link on the left-hand navigation menu. Clicking either the Gantt Chart button

Clicking either the Gantt Chart button or link will present you with your task plan in an interactive Gantt tool.

Figure 18. Gantt Chart Diagram.

Figure 18. Gantt Chart Diagram. 47

To create a task in the Gantt chart

1. In the spreadsheet section of the Gantt chart, click the + Add Task… link. A new task row will appear.

click the + Add Task… link. A new task row will appear. 2. Double-click the cell
click the + Add Task… link. A new task row will appear. 2. Double-click the cell

2. Double-click the cell containing temporary (default) Task Name, and input a name for the task.

3. Enter necessary task attributes in the columns that follow.

As you enter tasks in the spreadsheet, the Gantt chart will automatically display the bar representation of these tasks on the right.

4. When you are done, click the Save button.

Commonly Used Task Fields

As with the creation of a project, when creating a task you have a lot of options you may or may not use. However, depending on the overarching objectives of your AtTask implementation, some of the fields may become more important to you (and other Project Managers as well).

Task Creation Fields

1. (Task) Name

2. Duration Type

3. Duration

4. Work Required

5. Planned Start Date and/or Predecessor

If you want to add or remove a particular column, click the Add and Remove Columns

icon (

a particular column, click the Add and Remove Columns icon ( ), and check or uncheck

), and check or uncheck the column you wish to add or remove.

You can rearrange column order by dragging a column heading to where you desire, or you can resize a column by moving the border between two columns using your mouse cursor.

Practice Exercise 3.2.1 Scenario:

An organization preference is communicated to you from the system administrator and the AtTask Implementation Manager that all Project Managers need to use the Duration Type and Work Required columns in addition to the columns shown by default in the Gantt tool.

Steps:

1. Click the Add and Remove Columns icon ( options.

2. Select the Duration Type and Work Required options.

3. Click anywhere else in the Gantt tool to close the options menu.

Work Required options. 3. Click anywhere else in the Gantt tool to close the options menu.

) to display the available

Work Required options. 3. Click anywhere else in the Gantt tool to close the options menu.

Practice Exercise 3.2.2 Scenario:

Rearrange the columns on the worksheet panel of the Gantt tool to look like the image below.

panel of the Gantt tool to look like the image below. Practice Exercise 3.2.3 Scenario: Build

Practice Exercise 3.2.3 Scenario:

Build out a simple task list for the Overseas Office Opening project.

image below. Practice Exercise 3.2.3 Scenario: Build out a simple task list for the Overseas Office

LESSON 3.3 OTHER GANTT-RELATED ACTIVITIES

This section provides instruction on performing the following Gantt Chart activities:

1. Creating Subtasks

2. Defining Predecessor Relationships

3. Setting Duration and Effort Estimates

4. Editing Tasks

1. Creating Subtasks

An important part of defining a project’s task list is to identify parent-child relationships. Parent tasks allow project managers to organize project plans and communicate the sub-deliverables that make up a larger task.

To create a subtask in the Gantt chart

1. Right-click on the task that you want to become a subtask.

2. Select the Indent option.

SCENARIO The Review locations with agent task and the Finalize rental agreement task are both
SCENARIO
The Review locations with agent task and the Finalize rental agreement task are both sub-
deliverables of the Secure office location task. Additionally, Purchase office equipment and Obtain
telecom services are children to the Office Build task.
Update the project plan to reflect these parent-child relationships. You project should appear
as follows.

To set multiple tasks as subtasks at one time (to complete the scenario described above)

1. Click on the task number for Review locations with agent.

2. Shift-click on the task number for Finalize rental agreement.

3. Control-click on the task number for Purchase office equipment – (Command-click on Mac).

4. Control-click on the task number for Obtain telecom services.

5. Right-click on any of the highlighted tasks.

6. Select the Indent option.

7. Click the Save button to commit your changes.

2. Defining Predecessor Relationships

As you notice, all tasks in the Gantt Chart line up at the planned start date of the project, which means all tasks are scheduled to start on the project start date. Now what you need to do is to sequence those tasks so they will accurately represent the task schedule you need for the project.

represent the task schedule you need for the project. One way to sequence tasks is to

One way to sequence tasks is to specify a start and completion date for every task. You can do this simply by double-clicking into the Start Date field and inputting a new date, or you can drag the task bar to a different date on the Gantt tool.

However, this method has the potential to create problems when you are managing these tasks later. If you specify a start and completion date for each task, you will need to manually edit all tasks and change those dates when any one of the tasks is adjusted.

To avoid this problem, it is recommended you simply set durations and effort (work required) estimates for tasks and use predecessor relationships to sequence the tasks. This method will allow AtTask to automatically update the scheduled dates of dependent tasks when any predecessor task’s duration changes.

To create a predecessor relationship between two tasks using the chain function

1. Select the tasks that need to occur in sequence.

2. Right-click on either of the selected tasks, and click the Chain option.

The relationship will be applied to all selected tasks.

on either of the selected tasks, and click the Chain option. The relationship will be applied
SCENARIO The Secure permissions to open office task must occur before the Secure office location
SCENARIO
The Secure permissions to open office task must occur before the Secure office location task can
begin. Additionally, the two subtasks in the Secure office location task should occur in sequence.
Update the project plan to reflect these predecessor relationships. You project should appear
as follows.

To complete the scenario described above

1. Click on the task number for Secure permissions to open office.

2. Shift-click on the task number for Secure office location.

3. Right-click on any of the highlighted tasks.

4. Select the Chain option.

5. Click on the task number for Review locations with agent.

6. Shift-click on the task number for Finalize rental agreement.

7. Right-click on any of the highlighted tasks.

8. Select the Chain option.

9. Click the Save button to commit your changes.

Practice Exercise 3.3 Scenario:

The Office Build task should start after the Secure office locations task is complete, and the Hire office support staff task should occur after Secure permissions to open office.

task should occur after Secure permissions to open office. To build these relationships 1. Click on

To build these relationships

1. Click on the task number for Office Build.

2. Control-click the task number for Secure office locations.

3. Right-click on either of the selected tasks, and select the Chain option.

4. Click on the task number for Hire support staff.

5. Control-click the task number for Secure permissions to open office.

6. Right-click on either of the selected tasks, and select the Chain option.

Alternate approach to build these relationships

1. Click into the Predecessor column for the Office Build task.

2. Input the task number of the Secure office locations task – 2.

3. Click into the Predecessor column for the Hire office support staff task.

4. Input the task number of the Secure permissions to open office task – 1.

3. Setting Duration and Effort Estimates

Duration Type Summary

Duration Type selection is an important, if not critical, part of project planning. Without selecting the correct Duration Type and providing realistic Duration and Work Require estimates it becomes difficult to project costs, duration, and communicate the amount of time project collaborators should spend on each task.

Figure 19. Duration Type Chart.

and communicate the amount of time project collaborators should spend on each task. Figure 19. Duration

An important part of communicating expectations for task assignments to team members is to plan the duration and effort for each task. Realistic duration and effort estimates also allow you to derive financial estimates, track allocation across projects, and more accurately use the Capacity Planner.

What’s the difference between Duration and Effort?

Duration:

The total window of time allocated when the work will be completed.

Effort (or Work Required):

The total number of man-hours needed to complete the task.

SCENARIO The following table outlines the Duration and Effort expected for each working task in
SCENARIO
The following table outlines the Duration and Effort expected for each working task in the
Overseas Office Opening project.
Secure permissions to open office task is expected to take 1 month to complete, but is only
expected to take 60 hours of effort.
Duration
Effort
Secure permission to open office
1 month
24 hours
Review locations with agent
2 weeks
16 hours
Finalize rental agreement
1 week
8 hours
Purchase office equipment
2 days
6 hours
Obtain telecom services
2 weeks
20 hours
Hire office support staff
4 weeks
40 hours

Duration Types

Calculated Assignment:

Calculated Assignment is normally used when a single resource is assigned to the task. It provides Project Managers with the ability to input individual duration and effort estimates.

assigned to the task. It provides Project Managers with the ability to input individual duration and
assigned to the task. It provides Project Managers with the ability to input individual duration and

Calculated Work:

Calculated Work is best used when multiple resources are assigned to the same tasks and additional resources do not decrease the duration of the task. Instead, by adding resources, the total number of hours increases.

The default assumption for Calculated Work tasks is that all resources assigned to the task are allocated for the full duration of the task. Therefore, the Work Required field is inactive when the Calculated Work option is selected. However, project managers can change the allocation of each assignment by inputting a percentage onto the assigned resource (i.e., [25%]) following the name listed in the assignment column.

[25%] ) following the name listed in the assignment column. In the following image, make note
[25%] ) following the name listed in the assignment column. In the following image, make note

In the following image, make note that when one resource is assigned the Work Required is set to the number of hours available in the Duration.

is set to the number of hours available in the Duration. When two resources are assigned,

When two resources are assigned, the Work Required is double the Duration (in hours).

the Work Required is double the Duration (in hours). Notice the Work Required decreases to 25%

Notice the Work Required decreases to 25% of the Duration (in hours) when [25%] is appended to the assignment.

Notice the Work Required decreases to 25% of the Duration (in hours) when [25%] is appended

Effort Driven:

The Effort Driven duration type is used when multiple resources are assigned to the same task and the duration of the task decreases.

The default assumption is that all resources assigned to the task are allocated for the full duration of the task. When Effort Driven is selected, the Work Required field becomes inactive. Appending a percentage (i.e., [25%]) to an assignment, designates the daily commitment needed for that resource during the duration of the task. The Work Required is always set equal to the Duration (in hours).

When working heavily with Effort Driven tasks, it is recommend you add the Planned Duration column to the worksheet to see the impact of multiple assignments.

to the worksheet to see the impact of multiple assignments. Note that nothing changes when a
to the worksheet to see the impact of multiple assignments. Note that nothing changes when a
to the worksheet to see the impact of multiple assignments. Note that nothing changes when a

Note that nothing changes when a single resource is added to the task.

nothing changes when a single resource is added to the task. However, when a second resource

However, when a second resource is added or the percent allocation of the resource increases, the value displayed in the Planned Duration column will decrease.

or the percent allocation of the resource increases, the value displayed in the Planned Duration column
or the percent allocation of the resource increases, the value displayed in the Planned Duration column

Notice that when the percentage allocation of a single resource is reduced the Planned Duration increases proportionately.

that when the percentage allocation of a single resource is reduced the Planned Duration increases proportionately.
SCENARIO The following table outlines the Duration and Effort expected for each working task in
SCENARIO
The following table outlines the Duration and Effort expected for each working task in the
Overseas Office Opening project.
Secure permissions to open office task is expected to take 1 month to complete, but is only
expected to take 60 hours of effort.
Duration
Effort
Secure permission to open office
1 month
24 hours
Review locations with agent
2 weeks
16 hours
Finalize rental agreement
1 week
8 hours
Purchase office equipment
2 days
6 hours
Obtain telecom services
2 weeks
20 hours
Hire office support staff
4 weeks
40 hours

To input the Duration and Work Requires values for each task provided in the above scenario

1. Change the Duration Type for each working task to Calculated Assignment.

2. Input 1 month into the Duration field for Secure permission to open office.

3. Input 24 h into the Work Required field for this task.

4. Repeat these steps for the other working tasks using the suggested values.

TIP To change the Duration Type in the Gantt worksheet, you do not have to
TIP
To change the Duration Type in the Gantt worksheet, you do not have to double-click into
the cell and select it from the drop-down.
You can simply highlight the field and type ‘a’ for Calculated Assignment, ‘e’ for Effort
Driven, and ‘w’ for Calculated Work, and then navigate away from the cell.
NOTE It is not necessary to provide duration or work estimates for parent tasks because
NOTE
It is not necessary to provide duration or work estimates for parent tasks because they are
defined by the summary of their children tasks.

4. Editing Tasks

There are three ways to modify tasks apart from editing the task in the Gantt worksheet:

1. The Edit Task dialog box in the Gantt tool

2. The Edit Task page

3. The Bulk Edit page

To access the Edit Task dialog box in the Gantt Chart

1. Highlight a task by clicking on the task number.

2. Right-click on the task and select Edit Task.

Selecting the Edit Task option will open the Edit Task window. In this window, you have three tabs:

1. Details

2. Predecessors

3. Assignments

Under the Details tab, you can change common task attributes.

Under the Predecessors tab, you can change the information about predecessor relationships.

Under the Assignments tab, you can edit task resource assignments. Please also remember that information in the Gantt spreadsheet is editable as well.

information in the Gantt spreadsheet is editable as well. To access the Edit Task page 1.

To access the Edit Task page

1. Highlight a task by clicking on the task number.

2. Right-click on the task and select the View Task option.

3. Click the Edit Task link in the left-hand menu.

The Edit Task page is usually only needed for advanced task setup.

Most task attributes can be set through the Gantt Chart. However, to modify certain default task creation settings (defaults are usually set globally and do not deviate from task to task), you will need to access the Edit Task page.

Actions that can be completed on the Edit Task page that cannot be completed in the Gantt Chart include:

1. Setting Revenue and Cost Types

2. Creating Cross-Project Predecessors

3. Assigning Custom Data Categories

4. Setting Approval Processes

and Cost Types 2. Creating Cross-Project Predecessors 3. Assigning Custom Data Categories 4. Setting Approval Processes

To access the Bulk Edit page

1. Highlight the tasks you wish to make the same change to by Control-clicking on each task’s task number.

2. Right click on any of the selected tasks.

3. Select the Edit Tasks option.

4. Enable the field(s) you wish to modify for all of the selected tasks.

5. Input a value into or select the option for the field(s) you enabled.

6. Click the Save button to store the changes.

5. Input a value into or select the option for the field(s) you enabled. 6. Click
5. Input a value into or select the option for the field(s) you enabled. 6. Click

Gantt Chart Keyboard Shortcuts

Action

Key Stroke

Delete

Delete

Undo

Control Z

Redo

Control Y

Zoom Out One Level

Control -

Zoom In One Level

Control +

Zoom to Fit

Control 1

Indent Task(s)

Control ]

Outdent Task(s)

Control [

Open/Close Sidebar

Control \

Save

Control S

NOTE Mac users should use the Control key, not the Command ( ⌘ ) key.
NOTE
Mac users should use the Control key, not the Command ( ⌘ ) key. In many cases the
Command combination will work; however, in others the combination is an already
established browser shortcut that will navigate you from the current page.
TIP If you are interested in using AtTask for resource management and/or financial reporting, be
TIP
If you are interested in using AtTask for resource management and/or financial reporting, be
sure you have added (and instruct all Project Managers to add) the Duration Type and Work
Required fields to the worksheet side of the Gantt.

Practice Exercise 3.3.2

SCENARIO:

Create the portion of the project plan show below for the Semi-annual Software Release project created in the previous lesson.

Software Release project created in the previous lesson. NOTE: Be sure to include realistic Duration and

NOTE: Be sure to include realistic Duration and Work Required estimates.

LESSON 3.4 ASSIGNING ROLE RESOURCES TO TASKS

After creating tasks for a project, the next thing that you need to do is to assign resources to the tasks you created. While it is possible to assign either role or user resources at this stage in the game, it is recommended you only assign roles to the tasks.

To assign job roles to tasks in the Gantt chart

).
).

1. Click the Show Sidebar icon (

2. To assign a job role, click the job role tab ( all job roles will be displayed.

3. To assign a job role, drag the name of a resource to a task.

To assign a job role, drag the name of a resource to a task. ). A

). A list of

To assign users to tasks in the Gantt chart

1. To assign a user, click the user tab (

in the Gantt chart 1. To assign a user, click the user tab ( ). A

). A list of all

users will be displayed. Users are grouped by their default job role. Click on the name of a job role to see the users that fill that role.

2. To assign a user, drag the name of a resource to a task.

3. You can use the Search bar to narrow your list of job roles or users.

To remove the resource assignment

1. On either the worksheet or chart of the screen, select the task you want to remove the resource from. The name will appear on the sidebar under the People Assigned label.

2. Place the mouse over the name in the sidebar, then the delete icon will appear.

3. Click the delete icon (

).
).
the delete icon will appear. 3. Click the delete icon ( ). Assignments can also be
the delete icon will appear. 3. Click the delete icon ( ). Assignments can also be

Assignments can also be modified through the Assignments column of the worksheet panel. This is sometimes the preferred method for adding and removing resources on tasks. The Gantt Chart tool uses predictive type ahead functionality to streamline the process of adding resources. Simply use commas to add multiple resources to the same task.

Why do you suggest only adding role resources at this point?

There are several reasons it makes sense to only add role-based assignments at this point in the planning process. They include:

1. If you intend to use strategic resource planning tools like the Capacity Planner, a role assignment on tasks is necessary to ensure the most accurate information is being used in that tool.

2. Billing override rates for calculating task revenue only work on tasks with role-based assignments.

3. You don’t have insight into how resources are already allocated. The tactical resource-planning tool, the Team Builder, provides this vision. It is recommended you wait until the project is about to launch and use the Team Builder to make the user assignments.

4. Depending on the duration or length of the project, you may not know who is going to be available six months to a year out into the future, and you don’t want to resource your project only to find out a person is not available or no longer works for the company – another reason to wait until project launch to use the Team Builder.

5. The Team Builder works best when it matches on role assignment and user availability.

In short, you don’t have to build your project plans with role assignments; it is only a recommendation. However, if you plan on taking advantage of the functionality dependent on role-based assignment, it is strongly recommended you adopt this practice in your project planning.

TIP Don’t make a decision on whether your organization requires role assignments on tasks until
TIP
Don’t make a decision on whether your organization requires role assignments on tasks until
after you have completed the remainder of this course, or at least wait until the section on
using the Team Builder.

Assigning Tasks to Teams

You are now able to assign tasks to teams. A Team is a group of individuals that can complete the same types of work. This includes individuals of diverse job roles or purposes who often function in a working unit.

Requests appear in the Team area as long as no other team member has claimed the work item. If a Project Manager assigns a team to a task, the task will show up on each team member’s Team Requests tab. The individual will then have the ability to accept the team task.

Keep in mind individuals may belong to multiple teams.

To Assign a Task to a Team in the Gantt chart

1. Add the Team column to the Gantt chart by clicking on the Add or Remove column icon Team.

2. Type the name of the team you wish to assign in the Team column.

3. Click Save. The task will now show on the Team Requests tab.

Click Save. The task will now show on the Team Requests tab. and selecting NOTE: You

and selecting

task will now show on the Team Requests tab. and selecting NOTE: You can also assign
NOTE: You can also assign a team to a task or issue through the Bulk
NOTE: You can also assign a team to a task or issue through the Bulk Edit option.

The task will now appear on the Team Requests tab where team members can select the task, agree to a commit date and update progress.

The project manager’s Working On tab shows the top three work items their team members have committed to work on. These items are either listed according to the priority given to them by the Team Member or by commit date. To see all work items a team member is working on, click the More option.

to them by the Team Member or by commit date. To see all work items a

Practice Exercise 3.4

Add at least one job role assignment to each task in the Overseas Office project you created in the Lesson 3.2 exercises.

Steps:

1.

Go to the Recent menu to select the Overseas Office project.

2.

Click the Gantt Chart link in the left-hand menu.

3.

Expand the Resources Sidebar and activate the Roles view.

4.

Drag a role onto several of the working tasks in the project plan.

5.

If the Team column is not already displayed, locate the Add or Remove Columns icon and include the Team column.

6.

Assign the Creative Team to one of the tasks by typing the team name in the Team column next to the task you want assigned to them.

LESSON 3.5 USING TEAM BUILDER

Figure 20. Resource Project with Team Members.

EAM B UILDER Figure 20. Resource Project with Team Members. In addition to the Team Management

In addition to the Team Management tool, AtTask provides a more advanced function that allows you to manage your project team and assign them to tasks. This function is called Team Builder.

The purpose of the Team Builder is to provide an intuitive, user-friendly interface for creating and managing a project team and assigning them to tasks. AtTask’s internal scheduling engine and matchmaking logic can determine the best match between team members and tasks they should be assigned to. This matching is based on job roles assigned to tasks and users’ job roles and work schedule. The Team Builder’s matching functionality will help you make smart decisions. The matching functionality is most effective when tasks are assigned to job roles first, users are assigned to their appropriate job roles, and user schedules are correctly set up. You can also view resource allocation of users in the Team Builder.

To access to the Team Builder, simply click Team Builder in the contextual menu from a project page.

Figure 21. Team Builder Interface.

Figure 21. Team Builder Interface. The interface is divided into two major areas, and users and

The interface is divided into two major areas, and users and their work schedules are displayed in the upper panels and tasks and the project schedule in the lower panels.

To add users to a project team with Team Builder

1.

Go to the User panel.

2.

If you have already assigned a group to the project then click on the Group tab in the panel. Users in the group are displayed in the panel. Decide which users you want to include on the project team and select the check box in the Add User to Project Team column.

3.

You can also click on the All tab and all AtTask users will be displayed in the panel. Select the check box again to add a user to the team.

4.

Now click on the Team tab and all users who have been selected will be displayed under the tab.

5.

To remove a user from the project team simply uncheck the checkbox next to that users name.

6.

Click the Save button to save your changes.

To assign a user to a task in Team Builder

1. Click on the far left cell of the desired task’s row from within the Task panel.

2. All users who are available to perform the task will be highlighted in the User panel (NOTE: users will only be highlighted if matching criteria is selected in the Team Builder preferences).

3. Drag the task and drop it on the name of the user who you would like to perform the task. This action automatically (1) adds the user to the project team if the user was not on the team, and (2) assigns the task to the user.

4. To remove the task assignment simply right click on task name in the User Panel and select Unassign Tasks.

5. Click the Save button to save your changes.

You can also click on a user’s name in the User panel and all the tasks that the user can perform will be highlighted in the Task panel. AtTask performs this match making highlight based on the following criteria:

! User’s job roles found in user’s profile

! User’s Team Job Role

! User’s Available Work Hours

Matching only works if:

! You assign job roles to the tasks in the project, and/or

! Users have their work schedule in AtTask.

The most effective way to use the Team Builder may be to assign job roles to the tasks in Gantt chart and then come back to the Team Builder to determine which users can perform each task.

Use either the Work Schedule and Task Schedule panels as a reference when you are making decisions about whom to include in the teams. In the Work Schedule panel, you can see the users’ available work hours. Any cell in red indicates that the user is over allocated for the particular time period.

The Task Schedule panel lets you view a Gantt view of tasks, the hours required for tasks, or the remaining hours needed to complete tasks. If you assign the task to a user the work required or remaining hours will empty out.

The drop down menu in the upper-right corner of the Team Builder gives you the option to change how the Team Builder displays users’ allocation. User allocation can be displayed in Hour, FTE (Full Time Equivalent; by default 8 hours is one FTE), or Percent.

Other Team Builder Related Actions

! Hold down the mouse button (left mouse button on a two-button mouse) and move the cursor left and right on the timeline. It will zoom in and out of the Work and Task Schedule panel.

! Right click on the timeline (Control-Click on the Mac). It will open up a menu from which you can choose different zoom options.

! If a task has subtasks or a user has task assignments, they are hidden by default. Click the triangle next to the name of a task or user to show or hide the subtasks or the assignments.

Table 1. Team Builder Icons.

Icon Name

Icon

Description

Zoom In and Zoom Out

Zoom In and Zoom Out Zoom into or out of the Work and Task Schedule panels.
Zoom In and Zoom Out Zoom into or out of the Work and Task Schedule panels.

Zoom into or out of the Work and Task Schedule panels.

Undo and Redo

Undo and Redo Undo or Redo the most recent action.
Undo and Redo Undo or Redo the most recent action.

Undo or Redo the most recent action.

Preference

Preference When you click the Preferences icon, you can (1) control what information to display in

When you click the Preferences icon, you can (1) control what information to display in the columns in the User Panel; (2) control what information to display in the columns in the Task Panel; (3) control what information to display in the Gantt chart; and (4) customize match making conditions

Full Screen

Full Screen Toggle between full-screen and normal views of Team Builder.

Toggle between full-screen and normal views of Team Builder.

Edit Job Roles

 

Edit team members’ job roles. You can only edit the job roles that are

assigned to the project. Before you click this icon, make sure that you have assigned

assigned to the project. Before you click this icon, make sure that you have assigned job roles to the project.

Legend

 

Provides an explanation of the colors used in Team Builder.

Filter

Filter Filter and search users or tasks based on different filtering options.

Filter and search users or tasks based on different filtering options.

Practice Exercise 3.5.1

SCENARIO:

You have built a project plan and assigned job roles to all of your tasks. Now you want to solidify your project team and begin to populate their work schedules with project work. Use the team builder to add another user to the team and assign some of the tasks to users.

Adding a user to the project team:

1. Access a project using the Recent drop down menu.

2. From the Navigation Tab, click on the Team Builder area button.

3. In the top left section change the tab from team to all.

4. Select the user you want to add to the project team by clicking in the box on the left.

Assigning a user to a task:

1. Click and hold the left side of a task, drag it up to the user section, and drop it on the name of the desired user.

Practice Exercise 3.5.2

SCENARIO:

You have built a project plan with job roles. Now you want to assign names to tasks based on who is available and who has the right skill set. Activate the matching tool and use it to find someone best suited for a task outside the project team, and assign him or her accordingly.

Activating the matching tool:

1. Click on the preferences

2. Activate the matching function to match on work required and user roles and click OK.

to match on work required and user roles and click OK. icon and select the matching

icon and select the matching tab.

Assign someone to a task outside the project team:

1. Change the tab setting on your user list from 'Team' to 'Group' or 'All'.

2. Click on the left side of a task and use the matching tool find someone outside the project team who is suited to complete a task.

3. Review the user's scheduled hours in the calendar and compare to the work required for the task.

4. Assign them to the task by dragging the task name over the user name.

NOTE: Assigning a user to the team from the group or all tab may require the appropriate access level. If you have the appropriate access, the user will automatically be added to the project team.

CHAPTER 4 PROJECT TEAM ACTIVITIES

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent”

John Donne

In project management, it is important to remember that planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about completion of a project is dependent on how the project is undertaken at each phase. Team management is imperative to establishing a higher level of construct; that is managing a group of related and interdependent resources that may be working on several equally related and interdependent projects.

In the previous chapter, you learned how to assign users and job roles to tasks using the Gantt chart. Whenever users or job roles are assigned to tasks, these resources are added to the project team. It is often necessary to find ways to communicate to your team members so they know what you are doing and how your project is progressing.

This chapter introduces two methods for communicating assignment progress to project managers and other team members. You will learn how to access and utilize specific update tools. The tools you will focus on are the:

! Update Task Assignments

! Completion Status Worksheet

! Updating Timesheets

! Recording Notes

! Reviewing Notes

! Attaching Documents to Projects

Before addressing the topics listed above, briefly review two steps included in the AtTask Project Management Lifecycle that are not discussed directly in the course material.

Task Assignments

Figure 22. Task Assignments.

material. Task Assignments Figure 22. Task Assignments. In the Project and Portfolio Management software, team

In the Project and Portfolio Management software, team members who receive assignments from project managers usually indicate they have accepted the assignment in one of two ways:

1. They communicate via note (discussed later in this chapter) that they will get the work done, or

2. They change the status of the task from New to In Progress (discussed later in this chapter) that they have actually started working on the task.

In the first scenario, team members sometimes include in this communication more time and/or resources are needed to accomplish the work on time. If this request is made, then the next step of the Project Management Lifecycle should take place.

Negotiate Commit Dates

Figure 23. Negotiate Commit Dates.

Negotiate Comm it Dates Figure 23. Negotiate Commit Dates. When users need additional time and/or resources,

When users need additional time and/or resources, the Project Manager needs to work with the team member(s) assigned to the task to identify ways the task can be completed on time without drastically increasing the planned scope of the task.

In the past, this negotiation may or may not have occurred inside of AtTask. Generally, when it took place in AtTask, it was in the form of note communications. Now the ideal tool for negotiating new commit dates is available as Updates because updates sent through AtTask become part of the project or task history or Stream.

If you plan on including these steps in your organization’s Project Management Lifecycle, pay particular attention to the Updates lessons that follow.

LESSON 4.1 UPDATING TASK ASSIGNMENTS

Figure 24. Update Task Assignments.

T ASK A SSIGNMENTS Figure 24. Update Task Assignments. This lesson will show you how to

This lesson will show you how to prepare your team members to perform updates to their task assignments. As the project manager you can rely on your team members to provide updates so you know when the next steps of the project can begin. They will also benefit from updating their tasks because it eliminates work from their own to do list and they won’t have to remember where they left off.

By the end of this lesson, know how to:

! Navigate to the Updates tab.

! Use this interface to provide updates.

Updates Tab

To Navigate to the Updates tab

1. From the AtTask Home page, go to the My Tasks tab.

2. Identify a task you need to update, and click on the task’s name.

You will be presented with the Update Status tab where you can review the task details and see attachments and other details.

3. Click on the Updates tab if you are not already there.

You will then see the update field for the

other details. 3. Click on the Updates tab if you are not already there. You will
other details. 3. Click on the Updates tab if you are not already there. You will

The Update Task Status Tab.

The Update Task Status Tab. Completion Status There are two fields that help communicate the state

Completion Status

There are two fields that help communicate the state of a task: Status and Percent Complete.

! Status: Allows you to identify the status of a task through a standard label. The default options are:

! New

! In Progress

! Complete

to identify the status of a task through a standard label. The default options are: !

To Update a Task Using Percent Complete

1. Navigate to the More tab and select the Update Task Status option.

2. Under the Completion Status drop down, choose the option that best applies and set a percentage that best fits the status of the task.

and set a percentage that best fits the status of the task. NOTE When you change
NOTE When you change the status to Complete, AtTask will set the Percent Complete field
NOTE
When you change the status to Complete, AtTask will set the Percent Complete field to 100.
Likewise, if you set the Percent Complete to 100, AtTask will change the status to Complete.

Actual Start Date

As soon as you make a change to either of the Completion Status fields, the Actual Start Date field is set to one of the following dates:

! Today’s Date and the Current Time: This date is used if the task is started early.

! The Planned Start Date of the Task: This date is used if the Planned Start Date and Time is in the past.

NOTE In case you forget to set a more accurate start time, @AtTask will assume
NOTE
In case you forget to set a more accurate start time, @AtTask will assume that everything was
started on time or ahead of schedule. You are the only person that can provide a more
accurate date.

Actual Completion Date

As soon as either of the Completion Status fields is set to Complete or 100, the Actual Completion Date field is set to today’s date and the current time.

Hours

Another important piece of data you can provide while making updates to your assignments is the number of hours (amount of effort) you have spent on the task. Project Managers will use this information to make more accurate project plans in the future. This directly benefits you because project and functional managers have more realistic expectations on how long certain activities take to complete. When you record hours, you provide the real life data they need to do their jobs better, which in turn makes your job easier in the future.

Hours

The Hours field is where you input the number of hours spent on the task since your last update. Table 3-1 provides examples of acceptable values and common decimal representations of fractions of hours.

Table 2. Acceptable Hour Inputs.

Time Value

Hours Entry

5

minutes

.08

10

minutes

.16

15

minutes

.25

30

minutes

.5

45

minutes

.75

1

hour

1

90

minutes

1.5

2

hours

2

NOTE AtTask stores all previous hour entries individually, so be sure you only input your
NOTE
AtTask stores all previous hour entries
individually, so be sure you only input your
share of the hours worked since your last
update.

Apply Hours To

This dropdown field displays the other resources assigned to the task. It is designed to allow managers to record time on behalf of another team member. You will not normally need to utilize this field.

TIP If the update Task Status tab is the first thing you want to see
TIP
If the update Task Status tab is the first thing you want to see when you click into a task, while
viewing this tab, click on the Pin Tab icon (
) in the upper right of the AtTask workspace.

The following figure provides brief descriptions of each Update Task Status tab field.

Figure 25. Update Task Status Tab Diagram.

figure provides brief descriptions of each Update Task Status tab field. Figure 25. Update Task Status

Timesheet Mode

The Timesheet Mode allows you to update hour entries to create a more accurate record of work.

To Access and Use the Timesheet Mode

1. Click the Timesheet Mode link on the Update Task Status tab to display the Timesheet Mode interface.

Task Status tab to display the Timesheet Mode interface. 2. Input hour entries for each day.

2. Input hour entries for each day. Use the back arrow to see the dates for the previous week.

Figure 26. The Update Task Status Tab with Timesheet Mode Enabled.

back arrow to see the dates for the previous week. Figure 26. The Update Task Status

When will I need to use the Timesheet Mode?

There are several reasons why you may need to backdate your time entries. These might include:

! If you forgot to log time for a previous day. You should always try to put your hour entries on the day you did the work for more accurate reporting and so project managers can create better plans for future projects.

! If you have been working on a task for multiple days or weeks, working a total of 20 hours on the task, and this is the first update you are providing. You may want to spread out the 20 hours across the several days instead of claiming you worked 20 hours on a single day.

Completion Status Worksheet

If you have several tasks to update, it can be time consuming to have to click into each task, provide the update, go to the AtTask Home page, and repeat.

Figure 27. The Update Cycle

1. Find

Task

page, and repeat. Figure 27. The Update Cycle 1. Find Task a 2. Go to the

a

2. Go to the Update Status Tab

Update Cycle 1. Find Task a 2. Go to the Update Status Tab 4. Go to

4. Go to the @task Home

3. Update

the Task

Update Status Tab 4. Go to the @task Home 3. Update the Task To avoid this

To avoid this back and forth, you may consider using the Completion Status Worksheet, which is available from any task list.

To access and use the Completion Status Worksheet

3. From the Home page, go to the My Tasks tab.

4. Use the checkboxes to the left to select several of the tasks you need to update from the My Upcoming Tasks report.

5. Click on the Status Worksheet option from the more options drop-down.

The Completion Status Worksheet is shown below.

Click on the Status Worksheet option from the more options drop-down. The Completion Status Worksheet is
Click on the Status Worksheet option from the more options drop-down. The Completion Status Worksheet is

Figure 28. The Completion Status Worksheet.

Figure 28. The Completion Status Worksheet. The Completion Status Worksheet organizes tasks by project and only

The Completion Status Worksheet organizes tasks by project and only displays the tasks selected from the task list.

Notice nearly all the same fields appear on the Completion Status Worksheet as seen on the Update Task Status tab.

! Status and Percent Complete work just like these two fields on the Update Task Status tab.

! Hours also represents the amount of effort since your last update.

! The Start and Completion fields are the same as the actual date fields on the Update Task Status tab. They represent the actual dates the work began and was completed.

NOTE Parent tasks (tasks that have subtasks) cannot be updated and are grayed out when
NOTE
Parent tasks (tasks that have subtasks) cannot be updated and are grayed out when they
appear in the Completion Status Worksheet.
TIP The Apply Hours To option does not appear on this worksheet. Through the Completion
TIP
The Apply Hours To option does not appear on this worksheet. Through the Completion
Status Worksheet you cannot record hours for another resource. Go to the Update Task Status
tab to do this.

The Timesheet

The Timesheet is another interface you may want to use to record time spent working. Depending on your organization’s requirements, your Implementation Team might recommend this as the sole method of time entry.

Figure 29. The Timesheet Interface.

your Implementation Team might recommend this as the sole method of time entry. Figure 29. The

To Access Your Timesheet

1. Go to the My menu to select the Timesheets option.

2. Click on the date range link for the time period you want to record.

Timesheet Rules

! Timesheets are organized into weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly time frames.

! Timesheets display any task that has time recorded within the date range of the timesheet.

! Any time recorded through the Update Task Status tab or the Completion Status Worksheet will automatically appear on your timesheet for the corresponding time period. Be aware that until you access and save the data on your timesheet, these hours will not count toward your timesheet.

! Timesheets will also, by default, display up to 15 of the tasks or issues that have actual dates set for the current week, the previous week, and the following week.

NOTE An AtTask administrator can re-define many of the above rules. If you notice different
NOTE
An AtTask administrator can re-define many of the above rules. If you notice different
behavior, be sure to ask your Implementation Team for clarification.

Reviewing Hours and Adding Billing Records

Figure 30. Review Hours and Add Billing Records.

Records Figure 30. Review Hours and Add Billing Records. The Review Hours and Add Billing Records

The Review Hours and Add Billing Records steps in the AtTask Project Management Lifecycle is closely related to task updates in that these steps have to do with hours, costs, billing, etc.

Specific instructions on these options are provided in both the Project Management and Portfolio Management courses.

Negotiating Commit Dates

When a team member receives a task or issue assignment, he or she has the choice to accept the proposed completion date or to renegotiate the date to one they will most likely be able to complete. The team member can suggest a new date and leave a note to send back to the Project Manager.

date and leave a note to send back to the Project Manager. Once this occurs, the

Once this occurs, the project manager receives notification of the newly proposed date. The project manager can now view the date with the option to accept the new date or to continue to negotiate with the team member.

The project manager can see how the proposed date will affect the project by opening the Gantt chart. The commit date will show up as a stake in the timeline of the project when the Projected Timeline Option is turned on.

The commit date will show up as a stake in the timeline of the project when

If the Project Manager agrees with the date change, he or she can adjust the work item’s planned completion date by changing the task constraint to ‘Must Finish On’ and selecting the date the team member provided. Otherwise the Project Manager could continue to negotiate the date with the team member or assign the task to someone else.

the Project Manager could continue to negotiate the date with the team member or assign the

LESSON 4.2 RECORDING NOTES

All team members have full access to the project journal or notes log. The notes log serves to store all communication as part of the historical record of the project. Having access to this information means you no longer need to search through emails, voicemail, or strain to recall the conversation or minutes from a meeting.

As project managers and team members consistently leave notes on tasks and issues during updates to work, you should have fewer questions about who did what and when.

In addition to comments left during an update, AtTask records system notes to identify how the project has evolved.

To View Notes on a Project

1. From any project report, click on the notes icon (like the one on the Projects tab of the home page), click on the project name (use the Corporate Sales Initiative project).

2. Click on the Notes tab or the Notes area button.

3. Give the note a subject, fill in the content, and mark the recipients you want to receive the note. Members of the project team with AtTask licenses are the only ones who can receive notes.

AtTask licenses are the only ones who can receive notes. NOTE A project, task, or issue
NOTE A project, task, or issue with user-entered comments/notes will have an illuminated Notes icon
NOTE
A project, task, or issue with user-entered comments/notes will have an illuminated Notes
icon (
). A project, task, or issue with an un-illuminated Notes icon (
) may still have system
notes on it. Either option will present you with notes for the project.

Figure 31. Project Notes History List.

Figure 31. Project Notes History List. 94

Figure 32. My Updates and notes.

When a Team Member or Project Manager leaves a comment or submits an update, a note will appear on the My Updates tab. This tab can be filtered to view updates for a specific project or from a specific team.

view updates for a specific project or from a specific team. The Recent Updates function in

The Recent Updates function in a similar manner to the notes in the Team Member interface. The recent updates display the comments and notes generated by team members when they make updates to a work item.

The recent updates display the comments and notes generated by team members when they make updates

To Make Updates

1. From the Working On tab, select the Update Status option.

1. From the Working On tab, select the Update Status option. 2. Enter a comment or

2. Enter a comment or update in the text box.

Status option. 2. Enter a comment or update in the text box. 3. Change the commit

3. Change the commit date if necessary.

in the text box. 3. Change the commit date if necessary. 4. Update the status to

4. Update the status to reflect the status of the task. Click Update when finished.

the commit date if necessary. 4. Update the status to reflect the status of the task.

LESSON 4.3 REVIEWING NOTES

As you already know, you can add notes to a task on the Update Task Status tab; however, the Optional Comment box only appears after modifying one or more of the values on the update form. Sometimes it is necessary to leave a note on a task or project outside of an update. The steps provided in Lesson 4.1 to view the notes on a task or project are the same steps to get to an Add Note interface.

NOTE The Optional Comment box did not require a Subject, but the Add Note interface
NOTE
The Optional Comment box did not require a Subject, but the Add Note interface does.

The rules for message recipients are the same on both the Optional Comment box and the Add Note interface.

Message Recipients

It is possible to direct a note to a specific individual or to several resources. The users displayed in the Message Recipients area are individuals also assigned to the project team. If a resource is displayed in bold, it means he/she is assigned to the task.

NOTE A bolded resource will automatically be checked if it is someone other than you.
NOTE
A bolded resource will automatically be checked if it is someone other than you.

If you would like to direct the note to a person who does not appear in the list, click the search icon ( temporarily add an individual to the list of possible recipients.

add an individual to the list of possible recipients. ) to By default, optional comment notes

) to

By default, optional comment notes are delivered to other resources through an internal messaging system. The Messages link in the upper right of the interface indicates you have unread messages.

right of the interface indicates you have unread messages. To send notes to the recipient’s email

To send notes to the recipient’s email inbox, simply mark the Email Notes checkbox found below the Comment area.

To send notes to the recipient’s email inbox, simply mark the Email Notes checkbox found below

LESSON 4.4 CONDITION UPDATES

Due to the sheer amount of information available in AtTask, project managers now have the option to view a feed of updates on their projects concerning the project, task, and issue condition. The Condition View allows a project manager to see all his or her current projects and conditions.

To View the Project Condition

1. Navigate to the My navigation drop-down.

To View the Project Condition 1. Navigate to the My navigation drop-down. 2. Scroll down and

2. Scroll down and select projects.

3.

In the View drop-down, select Condition.

3. In the View drop-down, select Condition. 4. Notice the feeds posted along with the condition

4. Notice the feeds posted along with the condition of the project are listed in the condition column. This view will show what projects are at risk or in trouble, as well as those that are on target for on-time completion.

LESSON 4.5 ATTACHING DOCUMENTS TO PROJECTS

AtTask lets you upload an electronic file (document, image file, etc.), and attach it to a project. You can load more than one file if you like. You can even upload different versions of a document. Here are some procedures you can follow to manage documents in a project.

To Attach a Document to a Project

1. Go to a target project page.

2. In the left-hand menu, expand the Attachments submenu

3. Click the New Document link. The New Document screen appears.

4. Locate a desired file by clicking the Browse button.

5. Enter a description if you would like one. This is optional.

6. In Version you can enter a version for the file. For now, just leave this at 1, the default.

7. If you check the Is Private checkbox, the document will only be visible to its subscribers and to those who have View All Document privileges.

8. To add another document, click the

9. When you are done, click Save.

document, click the 9. When you are done, click Save. ). link. To delete a document,
).
).

link. To delete a document, click the delete icon (

Figure 33. New Document Form.

9. When you are done, click Save. ). link. To delete a document, click the delete

To Find documents

1. While your target project is open, click attachments and View Documents from the contextual menu.

2. From the list of documents, click on the name of the document you want to view.

3. Click All Versions in the contextual menu to view all versions of the document.

To Download a Document

1. Using the previous procedure, go to the documents list page.

2. Click the (

procedure, go to the documents list page. 2. Click the ( ) link in the View

) link in the View column. The file will be downloaded to your computer.

To Upload a New Version of a Document

1. Go to a documents list page, and click on the name of the document you want to upload a new version.

2. From the contextual menu, click New Version. A New Version screen appears.

3. Locate and upload a new version file by clicking the Browse button.

4. Click the Save button. You can view a list of all versions by clicking All Versions from the contextual menu.

To Delete a Document

1. Go to a documents list page.

2. Choose a document you would like to delete by selecting the checkbox next to the target document. Use the Control (Windows), Command (Mac), or Shift keys to select multiple documents.

3. Click the

document. Use the Control (Windows), Command (Mac), or Shift keys to select multiple documents. 3. Click

link.

CHAPTER 4 EXERCISES

Exercise 4.1 From the My Tasks tab, click on a task that does not have an illuminated notes icon. If you selected a task that has a percent complete value greater than 0%, you will likely see system notes on that task.

Exercise 4.2 Leave a note on this task to communicate that you are running late on this assignment, and send it to other resources on the project.

Exercise 4.3 From the Recent menu, go to any project or task. Then record a note on that work item.

Exercise 4.4 Navigate to the My drop-down menu and select Tasks. Use the Condition view to observe the condition of your tasks.

CHAPTER 5 LOGGING ISSUES

“There are myriad ways to fail. There are very few ways to succeed.”

Steve Yager

Sometimes a Project Manager will underestimate the planning, cost, time, and pain required to roll out a particular project. This can create a serious uphill battle if it is not handled appropriately. Having unresolved issues on a project can waste resources and be detrimental to your project.

Therefore, you may be asked to log issues you have identified. As discussed previously, an issue normally represents unplanned work that comes up during the execution of a project. Often it is a team member or project collaborator who first notices an obstacle or problem that could hinder progress on the project. Recording issues can then raise the alarm and that will save the project.

The two AtTask Project Management Lifecycle steps displayed below in reality take place simultaneously – while the project is in an execution phase. The topics addressed in this chapter provide an introduction to Issue Management activities for Project Managers and Resource Managers.

Figure 34. Manage Issues and Track Progress Status.

Managers. Figure 34. Manage Issues and Track Progress Status. Figure 35. Record Issues and Update Issue

Figure 35. Record Issues and Update Issue Assignments.

Managers. Figure 34. Manage Issues and Track Progress Status. Figure 35. Record Issues and Update Issue

LESSON 5.1 CREATING ISSUES

While working on a project or task, it is not uncommon for problems to pop up or for obstacles to arise. AtTask refers to these surprises as issues. AtTask enables you to document the problem, communicate it to the project team, and track its progress, all with a few simple clicks.

It is important to remember that issues can be logged against either a project or a task. Whether you record the issue at the project level or on a task really depends on the specific problem. The following offers some suggestions to help you.

When should the issue be recorded at the project level?

! If the problem impacts the completion of the project overall, and not of a specific task, then you will want to record the issue directly on the project. Some examples include:

! If there is an omission in the task plan that impacts the quality of the project unless it is added to the plan

! Errors or defects found in the project documentation or charter

When should the issue be recorded on a task?

! If the problem is specific to one task, then generally the issue is recorded on the task level. Some examples include:

! If you were assigned to the task and you feel you shouldn’t be.

! If an unforeseen limitation has come up that needs to be resolved before you can continue working on your assignment. For example, you might record an issue if the materials or data needed to complete the task have not yet arrived.

To Create an Issue

1. From the project or task screen click the New Issue link from the left-hand menu.

2. In the Issue Type drop-down select Issue. This is set to Issue by default.

3. Enter a name for the issue in the Name field (this is a required field).

4. Enter any other relevant information in the other form fields. Click submit when you are finished.

Figure 36. The New Issue Form

submit when you are finished. Figure 36. The New Issue Form NOTE The standard Issue Types
NOTE The standard Issue Types include: ! Issue ! Bug Report ! Request Change !
NOTE
The standard Issue Types include:
! Issue
! Bug Report
! Request Change
! Order
Only Issues is enabled by default.

Project Managers will configure the New Issue form for each project to meet the needs of the project. Figure 5-1 shows the default New Issue form for Team Members, which contains just a few fields. Your organization may enable several additional fields, as seen below.

Figure 37. The Expanded New Issue Form.

as seen below. Figure 37. The Expanded New Issue Form. Whether you have a simple or

Whether you have a simple or complex New Issue form on the project, you can only provide the information you know. Don’t feel overwhelmed by all the fields if they aren’t applicable to your issue; simply ignore them.

The project manager should review each issue to ensure the project is completed on time. If he/she has questions, they know how to contact you and will ask for more detail.

To Upload a Document Associated with this Issue

1. While on a New Issue screen, click the New Document tab.

2. Use the Browse button to navigate to a file to upload.

3. Add a description for the file in the Description field, if you’d like.

4. You can enter a version number for the document if you wish. This will help you differentiate between different files that may have the same name but are a different version.

that may have the same name but are a different version. 5. Click Is Private if

5. Click Is Private if you want to keep this document private. A private document is only visible to subscribers or for those who have privileges to view all documents.

6. To upload an additional document, click the Add Document link, or if you want to delete a

document before it gets uploaded, click the delete icon (

).
).

7. When you are ready to upload your document(s) and submit the issue, click the Save button.

NOTE You can also click Attachments ! New Documents in the contextual menu when you
NOTE
You can also click Attachments ! New Documents in the contextual menu when you are in
an issue page to attach your document. As you know, this option is available for both projects
and tasks as well.

LESSON 5.2 VIEWING AND UPDATING ISSUES

Now that you have learned how issues will be created, let’s discuss how to view issues that are associated with a task or that are in a project. Keep in mind a project manager will be interested in reviewing how issues are progressing and to verify that all issues are assigned to the correct resources. Other team members will also use the Open Issues reports to look for assignments and provide updates to issues they can assist with.

To View and Update all the Issues Added to a Task or a Project

1. Through the Recent menu, select the project you submitted an issue to in the previous section.

2. From the contextual menu click View Open Issues. Open issues are unresolved and need attention.

3. Click on the Update Issue Status tab to record any changes to the issue.

Figure 38. The Issue Details Screen.

changes to the issue. Figure 38. The Issue Details Screen. An alternative is you can click

An alternative is you can click View All Issues from the contextual menu. This report displays all issues for the project, resolved or not.

Also, when you see the issue icon ( associated issues.

not. Also, when you see the issue icon ( associated issues. ) in any list of

) in any list of projects or tasks, you can click on the icon to go to the

NOTE When viewing all issues, a project manager can use the Issue Status Worksheet to
NOTE
When viewing all issues, a project manager can use the Issue Status Worksheet to make
updates to several of the issues at once.

Figure 39. Issue Status Worksheet Link.

Figure 39. Issue Status Worksheet Link. If you click on the link it will take you

If you click on the link it will take you to a page similar to Task Worksheet where you can bulk create issues. You can use this option when you want to create or edit multiple issues at once.

CHAPTER 5 EXERCISES

Exercise 5.1 From the My Upcoming Tasks report, go into any task. Click the New Issue link on the left to record an issue called Network Outage and provide a description to explain why you could not access the files necessary to complete the task.

Exercise 5.2 From the Issue Details screen, click on the name of the project the issue resides on. Click the New Issue link on the left to record an issue called Missing Resources and provide a description to indicate you think more people need to be added to the project team.

CHAPTER 6 PROJECT ANALYSIS

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Henry Ford

Now that you are familiar with AtTask and some of its functions, it is time to decide what methods and tools you can use to help you get the most detail and best snapshot of your projects. What do you want to see when you log into AtTask? What reports will be of most value to you and your organization? How do you want those values to be represented?

This chapter provides a brief introduction to reporting option in AtTask. The topics discussed in the following lessons are meant to provide you with context of basic reporting terminology and to allow you to leverage existing reports provided with AtTask until you can attend the AtTask Reporting course and/or your AtTask Consultant prepares custom reports for your organization’s implementation. For a more in depth understanding of reporting capabilities, you are invited to attend the AtTask Reporting course.

Figure 40. Manage Issues and Track Progress Status.

you are invited to attend the AtTask Reporting course. Figure 40. Manage Issues and Track Progress

LESSON 6.1 SEARCH OPTIONS

In Chapter 4 you learned you could go to the My Tasks tab to find tasks and issue assignments. Sometimes you know a task or issue exists, but the item does not appear in the reports on the My Tasks tab. Common reasons the work item doesn’t appear on the My Tasks tab include:

! The task is not yet due to start.

! The task or issue is work you have already completed and want to review.

! The work item is on a project that has a Planning, On Hold, or Complete status.

! It is an issue you submitted and is not assigned to you.

AtTask provides a number of search options to find the work items you need.

The Quick Search Field

One of the most useful search options is the Quick Search field, which is found in the upper-right of the interface. Figure 6-1 shows where this field is located.

Figure 41. The Quick Search Field.

this field is located. Figure 41. The Quick Search Field. Quick Search Rules The keywords input

Quick Search Rules

The keywords input into the Quick Search field are matched against the following attributes:

! ID: This is the database ID set when the item is created.

! Name: The name that is provided on the New Task, New Issue, etc. form.

! Description: The description that is provided for the item (if it is exists).

The items returned in the search results are also dependant on the object type selected.

To Use the Quick Search Field

1. Click on the icon to the left of the Quick Search field to select the object type you want to search.

2. Input your search text into the field.

3. Hit the Return/Enter key.

search text into the field. 3. Hit the Return/Enter key. NOTE If the icon already displayed
NOTE If the icon already displayed in the field represents the object you wish to
NOTE
If the icon already displayed in the field represents the object you wish to search against, then
you can skip step 1.

The Find Menu

The Quick Search field is useful when you know the specific name or ID of a task or issue, or when you are searching for an item of work based on a keyword from the description. However, from time to time, you may want to input more specific search criteria. This is done through a Find menu search.

Figure 42. The Find Menu.

done through a Find menu search. Figure 42. The Find Menu. SCENARIO You may want to
SCENARIO You may want to search for tasks that meet all of the following conditions:
SCENARIO
You may want to search for tasks that meet all of the following conditions:
! Assigned To Me Tasks
! Incomplete Tasks
! Progress Status is At Risk, Behind, or Late
! Tasks on Current, Approved, or Planning Projects

To Perform the Task Search Described in the Scenario

1. Go to the Find menu to select the Tasks option.

2. In the Quick Lists field, select the My Tasks option.

3. Mark the appropriate Project Status checkboxes.

4. Mark the appropriate Progress Status checkboxes.

5. Mark the appropriate Status checkboxes.

6. After defining the search criteria, click the Search button.

Figure 43. Search Results.

Status checkboxes. 6. After defining the search criteria, click the Search button. Figure 43. Search Results.
Status checkboxes. 6. After defining the search criteria, click the Search button. Figure 43. Search Results.
Status checkboxes. 6. After defining the search criteria, click the Search button. Figure 43. Search Results.
Status checkboxes. 6. After defining the search criteria, click the Search button. Figure 43. Search Results.
Status checkboxes. 6. After defining the search criteria, click the Search button. Figure 43. Search Results.
Status checkboxes. 6. After defining the search criteria, click the Search button. Figure 43. Search Results.

The other fields on the search screen may be used to further refine the search or may be left blank. You will want to become familiar with the search options on the Search Fields and the Advanced Search tabs to know what your search options are.

Figure 44. The Task Search Fields Tab.

search options are. Figure 44. The Task Search Fields Tab. Figure 45. The Advanced Search Tab.

Figure 45. The Advanced Search Tab.

Task Search Fields Tab. Figure 45. The Advanced Search Tab. NOTE Each option in the Find
NOTE Each option in the Find menu has a unique search form. To search for
NOTE
Each option in the Find menu has a unique search form. To search for projects, select the
Projects option; select Issues for issues; and Users for users to produce the correct search form.

LESSON 6.2 USING VIEWS, FILTERS, AND GROUPINGS

AtTask allows you to view reports in a variety of ways. You can choose the method that best fits your needs. This is done through Filters, Views and Groupings. You can search for and view projects that have a common element, or that need to be used in a specific way. AtTask allows you the flexibility to see reports in a way that is most helpful to your personal needs.

Figure 46. Default View of Tasks.

to your personal needs. Figure 46. Default View of Tasks. Filters You can use the Filter

Filters

You can use the Filter dropdown menu to limit the view based on the given information. For example, from the Filter dropdown menu, select My Tasks. Only the tasks that are assigned to the logged-in user will be shown in the view. Play around with some of the other filter options such as Incomplete Tasks or My Late Tasks. When you are done, choose the Filter menu item of None.

Views

Views control what columns are displayed in a view. You can change which fields are displayed using the View dropdown menu. Try some of these views from the View menu—like All Dates or Status—to see the difference in the views.

Groupings

Items in a list report (such as this list of tasks) can be organized in AtTask using Groupings. For example, if you group this task list by job role, then the tasks assigned will be organized under job roles that are assigned to the tasks. Try different groupings from the Group menu such as by Assigned To (assigned users) or Project. You can click on the blue heading to hide or show grouped rows. When you are done select a grouping of None.

Figure 47. Tasks Grouped by Job Role.

Figure 47. Tasks Grouped by Job Role. 118