Schedules are a great way to create, organize and manage the tasks you and your team need to complete to get work done. In this article, we'll review:
- How to create a new Schedule from scratch
- Ho to convert that Schedule into an Estimate and Job
- How to manage that Schedule as the scope of work changes
Begin from the Main Navigation Bar
The Schedules module is visible on the main navigation bar of your system. To create a new Schedule from scratch, hover over Schedules, and choose Add Schedule.
If you have previously created Schedules this way, you will see Company names pop out to the right of the Add Schedule option. Pick one of these Company names, if you see the name of the Company for whom you're making this Schedule.
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 & Tags
Your Schedule has now been created, and you will land on the Schedule tab. You can begin adding content in the way of Task Groups, Tasks, and Task level Tags.
New Task button
Clicking the New Task button will pop a Task onto 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.
Any Task can have associated Tags - Tags are a new way to mark tasks in any way you see fit. At the moment, Tags are only associated to Tasks, and are added and edited directly on Tasks. Just click into the Tags area to add or edit. Note that once a Schedule is associated to an Estimate and/or Job, you can filter Tasks by their Tags, on the Schedule tab of the Estimate and/or Job.
Use the New Group and New Task buttons as you see fit to fill in the Schedule.
- You can use your mouse or tab key to move through the fields associated to each task row.
- Each field has helper text, to let you know the content to be added. 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.
- In fields such as Service and To, you'll see information pull from other areas of the system that you have set up.
Some fields depend on one another, or other system content. For example: unless a Task row has an assignee (the To field), the row will stay in a status of Draft.
Once you add a person (or role) you can set the Task to Assigned. Note that you would likely move Tasks to Assigned when you want it to show on the staff member's Dashboard, and want them to begin their work on this call to action.
And content in the Actuals column will populate if and when this Schedule become a Job, this Task gets worked on, and time gets tracked.
Copy Tasks Groups & Tasks
Once a Task Group or a Task are created, you can easily make copies from this Schedule view. Copying a group will copy all the content, including the Tasks within the group and their Task Tags, descriptions, Start date etc.
You can also copy a single Task. Copying a Task will copy all the Task level content including Tags, Service, Assignee etc. From the copied version, you can in-line edit to change the Assignee or any other content.
Drag & Drop to Organize
You can easily move the order of Task Groups or Tasks within and between groups. Use the dots on the far left to move content as needed. Let's say I need to move the Mock Up Sign Offs above the Initial Design Phase.
You will be able see what row you are moving, as well as the number of tasks within the group. Changes you make will save once you "drop" the task or group.
Bulk Edit button
Although it is quick and easy to mouse or tab through the available fields to build out your Schedule, you may want to make bulk changes - such as marking a large number of tasks as all being due on the same day, or assigned to the same person. At this time, bulk editing is done on our older view via the Bulk Edit button.
Bulk (or Batch) edits are made on the top row of this view. To begin, select which rows you want to edit. Do so by ticking boxes along the far left side.
You can now use the top row to make changes to the highlighted rows - let's say I want the selected Tasks to both be Assigned to Tim.
Repeat these steps to make bulk changes to the entire Schedule, or selected Tasks. When done, you will need to hit Save & Finish - found at the bottom right of the page.
You can continue to view and build out your Schedule from this Grid View, but there is also an option to view your Schedule as a Gantt. Click the Gantt View button.
Note that you'll also see a Retro Gantt button. This gives you a peek at what our Gantt view looked like up until recently - got to dig those colours!
On the Gantt View, you view and edit up to 52 weeks worth of Scheduled out Tasks. Here we can see:
- The date span of my Schedule, from the date of the first task to the last. The Gantt can display up to 52 weeks at a time.
- The shades of grey across the days/ weeks pulls from the content on your Work Calendar, representing days that your office is or is not open.
- The Task name, number and initials of the person or role assigned to the Task.
- A horizontal bar to represent the time span to complete the Tasks within this Task Group.
- A horizontal bar to represent the time span allocated to complete particular Tasks within this group. The date(s) also displays here, as well as the Task Status.
9. Click either the starting or ending point of a Task, and drag to stretch.
Future iterations of the Gantt will include even more functionality. Stay tuned for enhancements being released as we complete them!
Add Task Dependencies
Tasks that are part of a Schedule can have an associated predecessor or dependency to Tasks that are also part of the same Schedule. Any Task can have one predecessor, and more than one dependency.
Linkages to predecessor/ dependencies can be created from any Task details page (aka where you are looking at a full screen view of a particular Task). You can access a Task details page by clicking its name on the Grid View, or from the Gantt View - the Gantt View is the recommended option, in that clicking a Task on this view, will open that Task for you in its own tab.
Here in the full screen view of my Task, the Dependencies function appears in the bottom right of the page.
- Clicking New Predecessor opens up a searchable dropdown menu of the other Tasks on the same Schedule. Click Create Linkage to save your selection.
- Clicking New Dependency opens up a searchable dropdown menu of the other Tasks on the same Schedule. Note that the Task we picked as our predecessor is not selectable, and in italics. Click Create Linkage to save your selection.
"Illegal" actions will be highlighted
Should you aim to make a predecessor or dependency link to a Task where the dates don't work - for example, the dependent Task dates occur before the predecessor Task dates - the offending Task will be marked in orange.
We'd recommend you choose to Unlink this Task, or change the dates of the Task so the linked relationship flows better.
Predecessor and dependency links can be seen on the Gantt View. Go back to the Gantt View and click the Gantt View button - doing so will refresh this page only, and allow you to see any Task linkages.
I can now see the lines of dependency between a selection of Tasks. Follow the same steps above to add more predecessors or dependencies. To change any current linkages, click into any of the affected Tasks to access the detailed/ full page view.
Convert to Template option
Schedule Templates can be a real timesaver - templates can be used as the basis to create new Schedules, or used when adding a Schedule to an Estimate or Job - we'll go over these options in other articles. A template can be created from scratch, but you can also decide to turn any Schedule you made for a particular client into a template.
From the Action button, choose Convert to Template.
A pop up will give you a few options - you can decide that the Schedule you've made is no longer going to be used for real work, and should just be a template - in that case, choose: Yes, Convert Schedule to Template. The more common scenario though, is that you want to keep using the Schedule you've just made for a job, but that it would be good to also have the bones of is for future use as a template. In that case pick: Convert a Copy.
A template version has now been created. From the Basic Info tab, you might want to make a few adjustments:
- Rename the Schedule to make it clear what kind of template it is.
- Add a description of when to use this template.
- Remove the Company name.
Click Submit to save this template.
Printing the Schedule
Choose the Print icon to select from the available standard printouts. By default, all the rows will print.
You can create your own configured versions of both these printouts, and have up to 3 of each available for use. Learn more about printouts here:
Alternately you can use the tick boxes along the left hand side to pick particular rows, and then Print Selected.
Turn the Schedule into an Estimate & Job
So you've got your proposed Schedule all sorted out, but you don't know what their dollar value, or necessarily have a printout you want to share to clients for their sign-off. You can turn any Schedule into an Estimate and Job in a few clicks.
From the top right, choose Add Estimate & Job.
The 'Create Estimate and Job from Schedule' window will open. 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 again 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.
If you bill using Staff or Role Rates (rather than Service Rates) then you should drill into the Service Groups and Services 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.
Add a Revenue Schedule
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
View & Edit Estimate and Job Content
From the Basic Info/ tab, you can see and edit information such as the Approval Status, Description, or Estimate Type. Click Job Details to see job level data.
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 begin tracking time to this Job.
Job Statuses can be created via List Maintenance, and you can learn more here: Job Statuses
Syncing Adjusted Schedule Hours back to the Estimate
Should the Schedule from which you have built the Estimate/ Job need to change, you can re-sync information related to hours. Begin by updating the Schedule as needed.
Above, I'm changing my "Sign Off" Task of from 12 Estimated Hours, to a 20. Click Save Changes when done.
Navigate back to the Estimate and to the Services tab. My Service bucket for Sketches & Roughs has not yet updated, and still shows only 12 hours. The updated hours will not come over unless I direct the system to do so.
Choose Edit Services.
You will see a preview of the updated Schedule data, including the change we made on the Sign Off task from to 20 hours. Click Sync.
The total hours for the updated Service, and the overall Estimate total have now updated. Click Save to keep your changes.