Many of our clients choose to create Jobs in their system by starting with a Schedule, rather than with an Estimate. For some, creating work in this way leads to more accurate Estimates, and for others, this is just an easier mental approach to figuring out what it will take to complete proposed work.
Please review this article to learn more.
Create the Schedule
In this workflow, we being with the creation of a Schedule. This can be done from a Company page, or from the main navigation bar.
Note that when adding from the main navigation bar, and you have previously created Schedules this way, you will see the names of Companies pop out to the right. If you see the name of the company for whom you are creating the schedule, you can select it now, or just choose Add Schedule itself, to get to a blank Add Schedule page.
You will land on the Add Schedule page. Required fields are marked in blue.
- You can create this new Schedule to be based off any existing template in your system. Templates can serve as an excellent time saver when creating Schedules for new work, that is similar to other work you have performed, or work you perform often. Learn more about templates in this article: Creating Schedule Templates
- Give the Schedule a name. If and when you convert this Schedule into an Estimate and Job, you can choose to keep this name the same or change it.
- Optionally choose to give this Schedule a description. Again this is information that can carry to the Estimate and Job.
- Choose the Company for whom you're making this Schedule.
- Optionally associate this Schedule to a Project, and a person to be marked as the manager of the Schedule.
Click Submit when ready.
Add Task Groups & Tasks
Your Schedule has now been created, and you will land on the Schedule tab. You can now start adding content in the way of Task Groups, and Tasks.
Clicking New Group will create both a Task Group and a Task within the group.
Clicking the 'New Task' button will add a Task into the body of the Schedule. Because this Task is stand alone, and not part of a group, it's been organized under the 'Ungrouped Tasks' heading.
Use the "+" icon at any level to quickly add another Task Group or Tasks, And from the down-arrow menu you can take more actions including adding or copying the Task or Task Group.
Use your mouse or tab key to move through the fields associated to each task row. There is no requirement to fill in all the available fields - fill in as much as you know, or as much that you and your team find of value.
- Tags & Description: Tags are a nifty way to mark Tasks in any way you see fit - see more information on Tags in the next step. Descriptions can be added to the Task Group, or Task. Enter as much information as you think needed. You'll want your staff members to understand what you're asking them to do when they see this Task as assigned to them on their Dashboard.
- Service: Click here for a dropdown menu of all the active Internal Services in your system. This will be the time-trackable service bucket to which time tracked on this Task will go. Important to note: If you estimate to the service rate, you will want to ensure you populate this field across the Schedule. When you turn this Schedule into an Estimate (and Job) the system will look to the Service in order to establish the hourly value.
- To: Click here to assign this Task to a person on your team or their role. Important to note: If you estimate to the staff or role rate, you will want to ensure you populate this field across the Schedule. When you turn this Schedule into an Estimate (and Job), and choose the Aggregate option, the system will look to the staff or role in order to establish the hourly value.
- Start: The calendar date and time you want the assignee to begin working on this Task.
- Due: The calendar date and time you need the assignee to be finishing working on this Task.
- Status: You will have 5 options here - Draft, Assigned, In Progress, Completed, Confirmed or Cancelled. Note that you will not be able to pick any status other that Draft if this Task does not have an assignee.
- PCT: This field refers to the percent complete-ness of the Task. This needs to be selected manually, and is not affected by time tracked compared to time estimated to complete the Task.
- Estimated: The amount of time you think it should task someone to complete this Task.
- Actuals: This field will populate once time is tracked to the Task.
- Priority: Click here to mark this Task as being more or less important than others. You can control the options here via Admin > List Maintenance.
- Milestone: Another way to mark this Task. You can control the options here via Admin > List Maintenance. The milestone, combined with the due date is what shows on the Production Report, which is available from the Job list view page.
- Client Visibility: This is the way in which you would toggle rows as visible or not visible to your Client Portal users.
As you add data to the Grid View of your Schedule, a couple of things to note:
- In order for a Task to be set to a status other than Draft, it will need to have a person or role in the To field.
- Task Start Dates cannot be later than the Due Date
- The PCT field (for percent complete) will not be editable if the Task is in a status of Draft.
- The Actuals content is not editable from here, as it is pulling from the related Timesheets. If the values are wrong, please edit the Timesheet.
Gantt View & Task Dependencies
Any Schedule you create in your system can be accessed as a Gantt via the Gantt View tab. On this view you can see your Task Groups and Tasks represented by horizontal blocks across weeks of time, toggle between a monthly and weekly view, drag and drop to change start and due dates, and add and remove task dependencies.
Turn the Schedule into an Estimate & Job
So you've got your proposed Schedule all sorted out, but you don't know what all this work means dollar-wise. Nor may this be a view into your agency that you would wish to present to your client for their approval.
You can turn any stand alone Schedule into an Estimate and Job in a few clicks. From the top right of the Schedule, choose Add Estimate & Job.
The 'Create Estimate and Job from Schedule' window will open. The top portion will be seeking more information about this potential work. Required fields are marked in blue:
- The Estimate Name will pull from the Schedule Name, but can be changed as needed.
- Select the Estimate Type, and optionally choose a Contact from the client company.
- Pick from your staff marked as Account Executives.
- Select the Rate.
- The Description is pulling from what you entered on the Schedule, but can be changed as needed.
- Enter the date the work is expected to be delivered to the client.
In the lower portion of the window, you will see which of your active Service Groups have associated Tasks, and which do not. When the Estimate is created, and should you want to add more lines to it, you will only be able to choose from Services that are selected at this stage.
If you bill using Staff or Role Rates (rather than Service Rates) then you should drill into the Service Groups and Services (click the small black arrows on any row) you associated Tasks to in the Schedule.
Because the majority of clients do bill based on Service Rates, the Aggregate option is defaulted to be ON for each Task. Only de-select the Aggregate tick box if you want to bill out at the Role or Staff Rate of the person assigned to the Task. Note that you can set the Aggregate button to be on or off by default, via Admin > System Set Up > System Preferences, and the Task tab.
Click Submit to save, and to create the Estimate & Job.
You will land on the Services tab of the now created Estimate, and can see the breakdown of dollars to Services. Depending on your user permissions, you may see the same or less financial information as above in your own system.
Note that we recommend you also navigate to the Revenue Schedule tab if you want to do some financial forecasting, and break out your expected revenue by date. Learn more about using this feature here: Revenue Schedules
On the Basic Info tab, we can update information such as the Approval Status, once the client gives us the go-ahead. We can also easily generate a printout version of this Estimate to share with the client for sign-off (via the Print button in the top right).
At the Job level we can add job related Contacts, and access reports and financials. You can also easily adjust the Job Status - for example, you may want to move the status to something like "On Hold" if you have not had the Estimate approved by the client, and/ or do not want staff to being tracking time to this Job.
Job Statuses can be created via List Maintenance, and you can learn more here: Job Statuses
Should the Scope of Work Change
If you make changes to the Schedule, it will not automatically update the Estimate - and vice versa. You can sync information regarding estimated hours changes on the Schedule back to the Estimate, and make that update happen. You cannot make changes on the Estimate and push them to the Schedule.
Begin by updating the Schedule as needed. Above, I'm changing one of my 2 x 8 hour Tasks to the Errands Service bucket from 12 to 20 hours. Click Save Changes when done.
Navigate back to the Estimate and to the Services tab. At the moment, the service bucket of Research still shows the old total of 24 hours worth of Tasks. The update we made to the Schedule is not yet being reflected.
Click Edit Services.
Choose the Sync Estimated Hours button.
You will see a preview of the updated Schedule data, including the change we made to the Research service bucket. Click Sync.
The total hours for the Service, and the overall Estimate total have now updated.
Click Save to keep your changes.
Should the dates that scheduled work needs to start or end change, you're best to do this through the Schedule. Choose the Old Edit View Button.
Then choose the Adjust Dates button. This will bring up a modal through which you can make date changes to all or a selection of the Schedule.
Assigning out the Tasks
Once the client approves the Estimate, and the Job is live, you will want to staff to begin working on these Tasks. This is easily done by going into the Schedule, and moving Tasks from the status of Draft to Assigned.
Dependent Tasks will automatically move from Draft to Assigned when their Predecessor Task is marked as Completed. Learn more about creating dependencies here: Create & Manage Task Dependencies
You can even arrange for staff to receive an email or in-system alert when a Task comes their way, and you can set yourself to get alerted when that Task moves to a status of In Progress, meaning that it's being worked on.
You can learn more about setting up alerts here: System Alerts