Learning Objectives:

After completing this module you should be able to _____.

  • identify how your company's settings correlate to the way you build reports.

  • build and save custom work views which allow you to view the state of work items and team capacity in real time, avoiding bottlenecks and tasks falling through the cracks.

  • instruct colleagues how to view data within the app to better articulate your communications.

Product Feature Keywords:


READ

In this course you'll learn how to access and report on the information you need to manage your practice or your team.

A lot of people use spreadsheets or similar tools to track what work is going on. But it's important to phase those tools out once you adopt a purpose-built workflow management app.

Spreadsheets are great for a lot of accounting related tasks. People like feeling that they can see everything at once. And, if they built the spreadsheet themselves, there's probably a comfortable familiarity to it as well.

But spreadsheets have a lot of failings when it comes to tracking work progress:

  • Manually keeping them up to date is very inefficient.

  • Choosing between collaboration and accountability, since spreadsheets can't offer both simultaneously.

  • Difficulty shifting between high level and detailed views.

There is one last thing your spreadsheet can do before you say goodbye to it. It can help you identify what questions you need to be able to answer to manage people on your team.

Once those questions have been identified, this course will walk you through how to answer them in the app with better speed, accuracy, and focus.

ACTIVITY

Managing your teams' work

note: This activity is for your own benefit and not being assessed for accuracy. To write down your responses you can use a document app of your choice, a sheet of paper, or whatever is most comfortable.

Step-by-step directions:

  • Think about the spreadsheet or other tool you used to manage workflow prior to this app. Now write down the five most common reasons you would consult that old tool.

  • For each of the five reasons you just listed, write what specific types of data are important to you (e.g. assignee, due date, etc). Think about where this data comes from and how it's kept up to date.

  • Next, for each of the five reasons, write why you want the data, or how you plan to take action once you have it. For example, maybe you communicate to your clients based on the status of work. Or, perhaps you communicate to the assignee of the work if the combination of due date and status are not acceptable.

  • Keep your notes handy throughout this course and continue adding additional reasons for consulting your old tool as you think of them. This list will be a useful way to verify that you've fully replaced the old spreadsheet or other tool's functionality.

WATCH

ACTIVITY

Asking the right questions

Step-by-step directions:

  • Select one of the questions you identified in the previous module and start building a custom view to help you answer it.

  • Add in filters that will focus in on just the work items you need to see.

  • Adjust the column sorting to display in the way most meaningful to you.

  • Save your view. Don't worry if it's not perfect, you can always edit and re-save later, or delete it if you want to start over.

  • Does your view capture everything you need to know? In your notes, record any concerns you have about this saved view being able to do what you need it to, and then proceed to the next module.

WATCH

ACTIVITY

Reporting on colleague activity

note: if you are brand new to the app you may not have historical data for reporting yet. If that's the case, create and assign yourself a note in the app due one month from today reminding you to come back and try this activity then.

Step-by-step directions:

  • Go to your Work Insights dashboard.

  • Set a filter for the work type used most regularly in your practice.

  • Edit the date range filter to be the most recent historical month in which work of that type was completed.

  • Scroll down to the colleague leaderboard widget, select the tab for "completed work", and use the drop-down menu at the top of the chart to choose "average days to complete."

  • Does the variance in completion time for this type of work across colleagues fall within your internal benchmark? If not, consider how you might investigate the reason for the variance as you continue through the rest of this course.


READ

Producing actionable reports like those in the prior modules requires you to be confident that data in the app is being setup consistently and updated automatically

While there are many nuanced reports you can build, the majority of common reports rely on a combination of these four fields: work type, work status, assignee, and due date.

Understanding how each is being populated and updated on your work is key to having confidence that your reporting is always accurate and up to date.

Assuming you create most work from templates, the work type should be set automatically based on the template settings.

Work status should be kept up to date using automators. There are exceptions, such as when resending client tasks that have reached their maximum send limit. But if status is frequently being manually updated you may need to revisit your template construction.

Preferences for assigning work vary widely across different practices. While assignee can be set and updated automatically, it's also possible you prefer to change this manually as the work progresses.

Due dates can similarly be set to update automatically based on how the work is progressing. However, many firms prefer to leave the due date fixed to allow clear reporting on what work is overdue or overrunning time allocation. Setting task due dates to reflect updated expectations, while leaving the overarching work due date fixed, can be a good way to balance the needs of productivity reporting and work planning.


ACTIVITY

Automating data consistency

Step-by-step directions:

  • Go to your Work page and choose one work item there at random.

  • Without clicking into the work item's details, can you explain how the current work type, work status, assignee, and due date were set?

  • If not, click on the work item's name; you should be taken to the Timeline tab within the work.

  • In the upper right of the page, click the sorting menu and deselect all but the "activity" option. Status, assignee, and due date changes will all be reflected here. The work type would have come from either the template default, or a manual adjustment by the work's creator.

WATCH

ACTIVITY

You build it! Here's the recipe to replicate the work view seen in the video.

Step-by-step directions:

  • Add filter for a work type(s)

  • Add filter for work status and exclude "completed" work

  • Add filter for start or due date range

  • Sort into List mode

  • Save the view with a name meaningful to you

  • Share view to a colleague and get their feedback

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Spreadsheet risks

Saved views

Queue user


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