This week the Cloud Coach team dives into Project Automation and discusses…
- Using Process Builder to auto-launch Projects
- Automating Meeting Creation
- Standardizing business workflows
This week the Cloud Coach team dives into Project Automation and discusses…
This week the team takes a look at Project Communication, and how you can improve internal messaging through…
In a perfect world every project is completed on time and under budget. As any project manager knows, that’s easier said than done. Here at Cloud Coach, we believe that consistent execution should be more than aspirational. Utilizing Salesforce’s powerful automation tools and Cloud Coach’s purpose built project and productivity tools, you resolve minor project issues before they become major issues. In this post we’ll show you how to use automation to consistently identify issues early on, and to create a resolution process for project issues that can be applied uniformly across your organization.
Universal Containers is having problems getting projects back on track once things have started to slip. Management has noticed that each project manager defines project issues differently and approaches issue management in their own way. The executive team would like a more consistent approach within the PMO, and have decided to look into ways they can customize Cloud Coach to standardize how they manage project issues.
The first thing we want to do is to ask ourselves what kind of data points might indicate a problem with all or part of our project. Since every organization is different, there’s no single way to approach this question. In this example, we decided to combine two criteria, that when taken together, very clearly indicate that something is wrong.
Now let’s take that criteria and use it to drive some sort of action. We’ll keep it simple for now and just update our Traffic Light field on the Project Task anytime a Project Task meets our two criteria. To do that we will create a Workflow rule by going to Setup > Workflow & Approvals > Workflow Rules.
Unfortunately, not every project goes according to plan. When a project goes off-track, it’s important to get the team together to understand what happened, and how to get back on track. While other project management software may alert you to the problem, it’s up to you to get the team together to resolve the issue. With Cloud Coach’s built in productivity tools, you can automatically create these meetings when you get into trouble.
After creating my meeting template, I move into Salesforce Process Builder.
Many project management tools help you keep your documents and conversations related to projects out of email. But we all know that it’s hard to start a meeting off right without a project kick-off meeting. Today, we look at how to automatically create a project kickoff meeting in Cloud Coach whenever you create a new project.
If you haven’t already, start by creating your meeting template. (See “Creating Meeting Templates with Cloud Coach” for details.) Your meeting template should contain the agenda you want to cover in the kick-off meeting. A few recommended agenda items could include:
Once you’ve created your meeting template, it’s time to get into Salesforce Process Builder to build your process.
As a busy project manager, you may find yourself often having very similar types of meetings – such as project kick-off meetings or status update meetings. In the same way that you create project templates to streamline project creation and ensure that you’re following best practices, you can create meeting templates within Cloud Coach.
To create a new meeting template, I start within the productivity interface within Cloud Coach. In the navigation, I visit Setup > Meeting Templates.
First, I click on the plus sign in the left hand navigation, next to the “My Templates” header. I click on the paper icon to start a New Template.
After clicking on New Template, I build my meeting template in the right hand side of the screen. I start by establishing my Meeting Name, Objective, and Attendees.
Next, I create my meeting agenda. When I create my meeting agenda, I can also add notes to clarify what questions need to be asked within each agenda item. For example, in a project kickoff meeting, we may be discussing the project deadline. I can list “Project Deadline” and “Impact of Missed Deadline” as discussion points within a “Timeline” agenda item.
Once I’m satisfied with my meeting agenda, I save my meeting template with the Save icon in the upper right corner.
Meeting templates can be organized into folders. To create a folder to save my template, I follow the same process as creating a new template, except I choose “New Folder” instead of “New Template.”
I can now use my meeting templates to create new meetings throughout my business and project cycle, as well as to create automated meetings throughout the project process using Salesforce Process Builder.
For any project, you are likely to have any number of meetings, from kick-off meetings, to client updates, and testing reviews. The details from these meetings are important documentation that relate to the project. Cloud Coach, along with Productivity Fox, make it easy to manage these meetings, and connect the meeting back to the project.
Creating a Meeting from a Project
You can quickly create a new meeting from a project by clicking the new meeting button on the project object page.
Michelle Bryant wrote a fantastic article where she explains the “10-Minute Rule”. The rule states that everything you do should be broken down into 10 minute segments. Every task that you need to complete should take no more than 10 minutes. If it does, she says, it needs to be broken down into smaller segments. The enforcer of this rule? A timer – Something EVERYBODY has on their phone.
So, through delegating tasks that other people can easily do in 10 minutes or less, finding the easy, 10 minute tasks within larger and more laborious projects, and actually using that 10 minute timer, Bryant argues that you can indeed drastically cut down on the time you spend on tasks that should really take a fraction of your time.
Itching to put this 10 minute rule to the test, our development team decided to try it out in their next meeting. Development meetings typically run over an hour. With so many ideas going back and forth, it’s easy for them to go over their allotted meeting time. This week’s meeting happened to have four agenda items on it. To test out the rule, the team first determined that they would split the full 60 minutes across their agenda items equally. They then broke down each agenda item into smaller areas of discussion that could be managed within two, ten-minute intervals. They decided to leave the remaining twenty minutes as a buffer for any agenda item that required additional time. While the team still used the entire hour, they found that they used their time much more efficiently and were able to determine topics that required more attention versus topics that could be removed from their agenda. The 10 minute timer kept them focused on the task at hand.
Time is a precious commodity. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org learn how Cloud Coach can help you make the most of your time!
Michael Mankins published an article in 2014 outlining the number of hours in a year the employees of one large company spent in meetings to support one weekly excom meeting. The findings of the data collected are astounding and certainly reaffirm just how poorly some organizations manage their time.
300,000 – to be exact – is the number of hours employees spent in a year in meetings to prep for ONE weekly excom meeting. The findings of the study estimated that senior level staff dedicated 7000 hours a year to those meetings. 11 unit-level meetings meant to provide senior level staff with the information for their weekly meeting took up another 20,000 hours and then unit-level managers spent another 63,000 hours a year in meetings to prepare for the unit-level meetings. They study reported that the remaining 210,000 hours were divided amongst an average of 130 weekly prep meetings. The article also noted that the hours did not include time spent by individual employees preparing for meetings.
Some of the most important decisions a business makes happen in meetings. Yet, so many businesses aren’t using their meeting time effectively. The weekly excom meeting of the studied company may very well be critical to its operations but its CIO has to question whether the remaining 293,000 meeting hours were really being used effectively. Companies need to establish a way to track and monitor the time they spend in meetings. By eliminating meetings that aren’t needed or by simply planning smarter meetings, companies can save countless hours of employees time and, ultimately, millions of dollars.
Jason Fried argues that the office isn’t actually a good place to get work done. In his Ted Talk (2010), he describes how our work day is turned into ‘work moments’ the second we walk through the office door. We go through the motions of work yet rarely accomplish any projects that are bigger or more meaningful. He compares the work day to the five stages of the sleep cycle.
Cloud Coach specializes in enterprise-class project management and productivity software built for businesses that want to make strategic investments in their success.
Whether you are looking for project management, productivity software as a service, delivery of a portfolio of work, or to improve internal meeting efficiency, Cloud Coach has the tools for you.