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 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.
- 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.
- To: Click here to assign this Task to a person on your team or their role.
- 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.
Continue to build out the Schedule. Drag and drop rows into a different order as needed, and be encouraged to use the Copy options to quickly add similar Tasks across the Schedule.
Should you want to make sweeping changes across a large number of Tasks, navigate into the Bulk Edit view.
Gantt View & Task Dependencies
Click the Gantt View button to see your Task Groups and Tasks across a maximum 52 week view. At this time, the Gantt View is in view-only mode. Stay tuned to FP as future iterations of the Gantt will offer increased functionality.
Tasks that are part of a Schedule, can have an associated Predecessor Task, or Task Dependency, from within the same Schedule.
To add a predecessor or dependency, you will need to be on a detailed view of the Task. This is most easily done from the Gantt view, where the Task will open for you in a new browser tab.
Here on the detailed view of this Task, I see dependency options in the bottom right corner.
1. Clicking New Predecessor opens up a field through which I can pick from the other Tasks on the same Schedule. Click Create Linkage to save your selection.
2. Clicking New Dependency opens up a field through which I can pick from the other Tasks on the same Schedule. Click Create Linkage to save your selection.
Note that the system will not let you do anything goofy - for example above, because my Task "Research Task 1" is the predecessor here, I cannot select it to also be the dependency.
And should I create a link where the dates don't make logical sense, the system will give me a visual colour queue that things may be amiss. Above, my Task that's due in mid August, should probably not be the predecessor for my Task due in mid July.
When you have a predecessor and/ or dependency in place, you can view via the Gantt.
Back in the browser tab with the full Schedule, just click "Gantt View" to refresh the page.
I can now see the predecessor/ dependency lines between my Tasks.
Turn the Schedule into an Estimate & Job
So you've got your proposed Schedule all sorted out, but you don't know what they value to dollar-wise, or necessarily have a printout you want to share to clients for their sign-off. You can turn any stand alone 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 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.
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.
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.
Begin by updating the Schedule as needed. Above, I'm changing one of my 2 x 8 hour Tasks to the Errands Service bucket to 12 hours. Click Save Changes when done.
Navigate back to the Estimate and to the Services tab. Note that at the moment, the service of Errand still totals 2 x 8 hours worth of Tasks (16 hours).
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 Errand bucket task to 12 hours. Click Sync.
The total hours for the Service, and the overall Estimate total have now updated - we have a total of 20 hours rather than 16.
Click Save to keep your changes.
Should the dates change, and need updating, you can make use of the Adjust Dates tool. As with Bulk Editing, this feature is living in the "older" view of Schedules, but will soon be a part of the default view. Navigate to the Schedule and choose the Bulk Edit button.
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.
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.