Project Management: Get. Stuff. Done.

Webinar 27 in the "I Didn't Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!" webinar series

Could managing projects in ClearPoint make you even more productive?

In this episode of the “I Didn’t Know ClearPoint Could Do That!?!” Webinar, we’ll give you the tools to track your projects in ClearPoint and #GSD: Get Stuff Done. Learn about initiatives and milestones, show collaboration, mark items complete (who doesn’t love that part?!) and more, in the first of two project & workflow management-focused webinars.

Happy reporting!

Webinar 27 Transcript

 

Introduction

  • Hello everyone and welcome to the “I didn’t know ClearPoint could do that!?!” webinar series
  • Today we’re going to be diving into managing projects in ClearPoint, so that you can get even more stuff done!
  • Here are your smiling hosts, I’m Catherine and I’m Jenna
  • HOUSE KEEPING
    • We will be recording this session and will make it available within a week
    • Webinar will last about 25 minutes with time for questions
    • Submit questions to [email protected] (answered at the end)
      • We’ll follow up via email
    • On our last installment, we dove into the Data Loader to tackle your automated data needs. You can check out the recording on the ClearPoint Live Vimeo Channel, on our blog, as well as in our Support Center. Just search webinar.
    • Today, we’re focusing on the ways that ClearPoint can help you track project information and stay on top of all the important things that need to get done at your organization.

 

Agenda

  • So, chances are you are already tracking your high-level goals in ClearPoint, and staying up-to-date on performance measure data there as well.
    • So why not extend the benefits to your initiatives, and track them in ClearPoint too?
    • You can link them to your goals and measures to show the relevance to your strategic plan, and provide the same level of transparency and accountability to your project teams, departments, and leadership organization-wide.
  • We’ll cover the types of elements in ClearPoint that you can use to manage projects
  • We’ll talk about the fields you can use in ClearPoint to track information about your projects, as well as a few helpful summary reports
  • We’ll make sure you can set up your project team in ClearPoint
  • And we’ll go over options for marking elements complete.
  • Now, don’t worry if there’s a feature you don’t see on this list.
    • We’ll leave time for questions at the end, as usual, and there is also more of this content to come – this webinar is part 1 of 2 on project management in ClearPoint, and we’ll be covering workflow in more detail on our next installment.

 

Projects (2:12)

  • Catherine: So, let’s get right to it, and jump into the friendly skies at Upward Airlines. Jenna, over to you!
  • Jenna: Mm, no thanks, I’m not skydiving.
  • Catherine: Don’t worry, no ClearPoint employees or clients will be harmed in the making of this webinar. Can you start with an overview of the elements we have available for project management?

Definitions

  • Jenna: Sure thing Catherine.
    • According to the ClearPoint Glossary, an Initiative is ‘a project or group of activities put in place to improve measure performance and help achieve the overall organizational strategy.’
    • A milestone is ‘A key step along the way to completing an initiative.’
    • An Action Item is  ‘A small project or request that typically is short term and does not need funding or resources set aside.’
  • Catherine: Okay, so what does that actually mean in ClearPoint?
  • Jenna: Think of an initiative as the overall project contributing to your strategy, and the milestones as the key phases within the initiative. Action items come up along the way and are smaller tasks that usually have a pretty short timeline.
  • Catherine: Right, so those are great guidelines to keep in mind, regardless of whether your organization uses different terminology –
    • Like Program or Project for an Initiative; or maybe your milestones are referred to as Project Steps or Tasks, and your action items could be called To-Do’s instead.
    • So even if the terms we use today don’t sound like your organization’s process, keep in mind that those are the types of scopes we are referring to.

 

Project Management fields (3:47)

  • Initiatives:
  • Catherine: So, today we’ll be focusing on initiatives and milestones, and we’ll go into more detail on action items in our next webinar.
  • And I’m going to click into the “Redesign Employee Satisfaction Survey” initiative
    • Here you can see several properties about our initiative in the fields on the page that’ll help you stay in the know about your project.
    • And the best part is, these are available by default in ClearPoint.
      • We’ve got the start and end date here to see how long we have to complete the project,
      • Not to mention total days, and the days elapsed so far, which are both calculated automatically.
      • We’ve got budget, so you can show the resources set aside for the project
      • Percent complete, which gets re-evaluated each period,
      • A description of why the project is being completed,
      • And we’ll come back to owners and collaborators a little later.
    • Now as I mentioned, most of these are just the default fields that ClearPoint has in place when it comes to initiatives. We really want to make it easy to track the project-related information you need.
    • And that’s why you have the ability to add additional custom fields, and relabel default fields as well.
    • So, under Admin Options > Custom Fields > Let’s go to the Initiatives section, and maybe we want to add an additional date field for the Target End Date, so that you’re aware of that original target even if the reality shifts a little.
      • Let’s click the add icon
      • Give the field a name,
      • And then under field types, we’ll track a Date here. So, let’s click save to add that field.
      • Jenna: Another way that we can make sure our projects are getting completed on time is to add that information in a picklist field.
  • So, let’s click the add icon again, and we’ll call this field Completed on Time?
    • And we’ll want a picklist so that we can have a blank option for projects in progress, then we can see, Early, On Time, and Late.
    • So we’ll save, save again,
    • And then use the History shortcut to return to our initiative page.
    • Catherine: Okay, now to add these to our page layout
    • We’ll find those in our list of fields and rearrange them as we’d like
      • And then here out on the page, we’ll have our date-related fields all grouped together to really see whether we’re staying on track.
      • Jenna: This can also be a handy filter for summary reports, which we’ll talk about more in our next webinar.

 

Adding and tracking Milestones (7:20)

  • Now, if your organization is like many of the others we work with, you probably break your projects down into smaller phases.
    • Milestones are the perfect elements to showcase this information.
      • We can see we’ve got the milestone field on our detail page already, so
      • Let’s click on this field to see this in action
      • I’m going to click on Add Milestone here, and an edit window will pop up for me to add the details.
      • We’ll give it a name
      • And just like our initiative, our milestone is going to have start and end dates. So I’m clicking on the Dates tab, and we’ll specify January 14th through March 30th.
  • So let’s click save on that for now – my milestone shows here in the milestone field,
    • And it’s automatically going to be linked to the initiatives
    • Jenna: Keep in mind that milestones are part of an initiative, they aren’t an element on their own, so they’ll be linked to only

one initiative.

  • Catherine: if we click down into the “Interview Survey Consultants” Milestone, we’ll see our Milestone detail page.
    • We can see the Initiative it’s linked to
    • We have an owner for the Milestone who can be different than the person who is the owner of the Initiative overall. More on owners in a bit.
    • We can have our own Analysis and Recommendations that are specific to the Milestone too.
    • Clearly, we have start and end dates and even attachments relevant just to this milestone.
  • Jenna: So, in terms of project management at your organization, you’ll want to decide how to use all the functionality around milestones in conjunction with your initiatives.
    • Catherine: Put another way, do you want to track information about your milestones by clicking down into each detail page? Or do you want to use a summary report to point out and have users edit the most important information?
    • Jenna: It might depend on how much bandwidth you’ll have on your project team in terms of the depth you’re hoping to track for each project.
  • Catherine: Right, so if we want to track our milestones at a high level, we’ll want to add a summary report to showcase the information we want to update.
    • I’ll click on Initiatives in the top navigation.
    • And Add/edit layout > we’ll give it a name, and leave it as a grid layout
  • Let’s go over to the columns tab, and include the initiative name, owner and collaborators, then type “Milestones” to find the milestone-related fields.
    • We’ll choose “Milestones”, Milestone Start and End Date, and “Milestone Analysis”.
    • Click Save and then let’s click on the name to view our layout.
  • Jenna: So now you can see we’ve got one central place showing an overview of the analysis for each of our milestones, organized by initiative.
  • So teammates can easily come to this one page to make all their updates and see, at a glance, how the project is going.
  • Catherine: Definitely, and we’ll talk more about setting up some other useful summary reports as we go along.
    • Back on the Initiative page, though, there are a few other features we want to show you, especially with milestones and sub-milestones.

 

Sub-milestones (11:21)

  • Jenna: Some projects are simple and may just need one initiative and one layer of milestones to track. If you’re tracking a more complex project, you can add multiple layers of milestones. We use a parent/child relationship to show this hierarchy.
    • Let’s make the milestone that we added earlier a child of our milestone ‘hire survey consultants.
      • Both interviewing the consultants and running a test project are steps that fall under the umbrella or phase of hiring survey consultants, so it makes sense to set up that hierarchy.
    • You’ll see in our milestones field that our child milestone is indented underneath the parent. It also shows as indented in our Gantt chart.
    • Catherine: Right, so the Gantt chart is a great visual aid for the information you see in the Milestones field and more – the status, percent complete, start and end dates, and the hierarchy of milestones and sub-milestones, all in more of a calendar format.

 

Project team and Collaborators (12:55)

  • Jenna: And, of course, someone’s going to need to be in charge of making sure these projects get done!
  • One of the most crucial aspects of project management is ensuring that every project has someone responsible for making sure it stays on track. When it comes to initiatives, that might not just be one person.
  • We have both the Owner field and collaborator field to track accountability. The Owner should be the main person in charge of the project, and anyone else involved can be assigned as a collaborator.
  • You can set the owner and collaborators for your initiative or milestone right from their detail page. Double click in the field, select the user, and save.
  • Of course, if we want to change the name of this field because we do not like the term “Collaborator,” then we can go into Admin Options > Field Labels, find “Collaborator” and change it to be “Team Member(s)” or another term we’d like to use across the system.
  • Similarly, under Custom Fields, select Initiatives, and we can change “Owner” to be “Project Manager” or any other title we think would be more appropriate.
  • When we click save and go back to the initiative page, we can see our changes.
  • Catherine: One thing to note here is that when your users look at “My Scorecard” to see everything that’s on their plate, it will include the initiatives that they own AND collaborate on.
  • Jenna: Right, and you can also use these fields to your advantage when you’re sending reminders. We’ll delve into that in more detail next time.
    • For now, let’s go back to our initiative report and add a filter based off of the owner field.
    • We can edit, go over to the filter tab, and add the owner field as a filter. My favorite way to use this filter is to set it to the ‘current user’. This means that whoever is logged in to ClearPoint will see the initiatives that they own.
    • Let’s save the report and see what we’re responsible for.
    • So now we only see our own initiatives.
    • Since many users are involved in each initiative, you may want them to be able to communicate right on the initiative page.
    • We can add a discussion field to the detail layout and users comments will be date and time stamped.

 

Setting periodicity  (17:02)

  • So Jenna, do you think our project team is going to have new information for this initiative every month?
  • Jenna: No, we’re really only looking to update the status of the project once a quarter.
    • Catherine: Ok, so, there are definitely instances where you might not want to track new information about your initiatives every month, or even have that information available, and that’s no problem in ClearPoint.
    • You can set the reporting frequency of your initiatives, just like you can for other elements.
      • Just click to edit the initiative, Edit initiative tab, and click to edit reporting frequency.
      • Let’s click save.
    • And even though this doesn’t show up in something as obvious as a measure data table, you’ll see the current period change to Q4-16, for the initiative and each of the milestones.
    • When we change the status of the initiative, it’ll now carry through the periods in this quarter.

 

Displaying completed elements (18:11)

  • Jenna: Once you have completed an initiative or milestone, you can mark it as complete.
  • Catherine: That’s the best part!
  • Jenna: Agreed, and it’s important for keeping everyone on the same page about what has and hasn’t been accomplished!
  • So to make that change, edit the initiative, navigate to the dates tab, and check the complete box. It will automatically select today’s date as the completed date,
    • So if you’re completing this initiative today, may the 4th be with you,
    • or you can set it to another date.
  • You can also mark elements complete from summary reports. We’ll turn on this option in Admin options > organization and security > Completed items
  • Now, when we go to our summary report, we can mark an initiative as complete right from this page.
  • Catherine: Jenna, even though I’ve completed my initiative or milestone, do I still have to show it on this page? It’s hard to tell the difference between the ones I’m still working on and the ones that are complete.
  • Jenna: Actually Catherine, there are several ways that you can decide to display or not display initiatives and milestones once they’ve been completed.
    • You can choose to have your completed items show on your reports with a strikethrough. You can turn on this option in Admin options > Organization and Security > Completed Items. Now When I go to my summary report, my completed milestones have a strikethrough.
    • Catherine: Ok that’s pretty helpful, but I really just want these milestones out of my face!
    • Jenna: Well then you can also hide completed items completely. This option is turned on for each individual scorecard.
    • I’ll navigate to Manage scorecards, Edit my scorecard, and click on the completed items tab. When you check the box next to ‘hide completed elements’, you’ll also have to select a date that the item was completed for. Since we just marked our milestone as complete, let’s set it for the end of May.
    • Now, when we go to our summary report, our milestone no longer shows. This option will hide initiatives, milestones and action items from summary reports, drop down menus, and ‘my scorecard’.

 

Questions (21:40)

Alright, so we’re reaching the end of our time here today, and we want to make sure we address your questions.

  1. Is it possible to change the terminology of initiatives and milestones?
    1. Yes, absolutely! We want to make sure ClearPoint fits the reporting process you have in place.
    2. So, if we’re going to change the initiatives to be called “projects”, for example, we’d go back to the admin options screen,
    3. And this time in the top right we’ll click on “Menu and Element Names”. Then when we go to edit initiatives, we can change the singular and plural names as we see fit.
    4. So then you can see that in the top menu too.
    5. If we wanted to change milestones, we’d go back to Field Labels, and to the milestones tab, and do the same from there
  1. Do I really have to add my milestones one by one?
    1. Not at all! There’s an easy way to make changes to elements all at once.
    2. Edit the Initiative, and under the milestones tab, you can go to the add button, and add multiple!
  1. Is it possible to set controls so the start and end dates don’t fall outside of the initiative’s scope?
    1. No automatic controls, but the Gantt chart is a very helpful tool to ensure the dates make sense.

 

It looks like we’ve reached the end of our time here today – hopefully we’ll see you next time for round two of our project & workflow management series…. . Thanks for joining us and happy reporting!

EXPLORE MORE VIDEOS