Scheduling for Teams: Now Available

25-Nov 2014
Hugh

Accelo's Team Scheduling has been officially released. Learn about Accelo's Automated Team Scheduling Software

What is Team Scheduling?

Team Scheduling is Accelo’s powerful new resource and workload management tool, built specifically for those who run a team of professionals - be they designers, developers, consultants, lawyers, accountants, architects or engineers. Like the single user scheduling system - which forecasts how busy someone is if they're going to complete all of their tasks on time and on budget - the Team Scheduling is built off the activities and tasks assigned to each user in Accelo - just with the ability to see many people's schedules at once!

fullsched

Set client expectations with renewed confidence

We all know that feeling - a client asks when something can be done, and we have to guess and fudge: "I think we can have that done by next week". While the unexpected is always to be expected, you shouldn't be making decisions and promises blind - you need to know what your team is working on if you're going to run a successful business off more than just luck!

With each users’ schedule lined up on the left of the screen, you can quickly get a sense of this current and future utilization - and they're updated instantly if a project slips, someone completes a task or has new work assigned to them. Say goodbye to juggling manual spreadsheets of schedules, and say hello to easy to review color-coded blocks of work.

See blockages in advance and work around them

What separates this new screen from the single user scheduling screen, is the ability to shuffle work between user schedules. By selecting a day for a user, you can drill into the tasks and activities which are filling their day, and easily allocate time to another user - or completely re-assign the task.

This helps you see who's busy, and who's got capacity, and to get ahead of blockages and over-utilization before it becomes a problem.

Why is it beta?

Primarily, so we can get it into your hands sooner! - We’d love to deliver a perfect polished product, but the truth is we can’t confidently reach that point on our own: Real-world feedback and beta testing will help us know where the fine-tuning is needed, as well as the next important features to add.

Secondly, hundreds of hours of design and coding has already gone into this new screen. Of course we’ve been reviewing the quality of our work and testing it thoroughly, but our customers sometimes have real-world data which we weren’t able to test with, or come across a use-case which we haven’t handled properly. So we just want to assert that it’s not bullet-proof, yet.

How do I get it?

You need to be an admin user, and Team Scheduling is only available for the Premium editions of Accelo. To enable it:

  1. From the top navigation, select the blue wrench > Manage Account

    manage acct
  2. Scroll down and find the Configuration section.
  3. The "Team Scheduling" option will be near the bottom. Select ON.

sched enable

The top navigation should update to reveal a new multi-schedule icon. Click this to access Team Scheduling!

How to add team members to the schedule

By default, the screen will load showing your schedule and the schedule for any users that you manage. To add more users, simply click the "Schedules" drop-down field in the upper left, and search for users by name, or scroll through and select as required.

find user

How to see what people have scheduled

To see a user's schedule, firstly select the day from the graph view. The right-hand side of the screen will update to reveal the activities and tasks for that day. The work for a user is broken into four different types:

  • Scheduled activities: these "yellow" entries are activities with a start and an end time on a given day. They're great for reserving time for meetings, and if you have your Accelo account connected to Google Apps, Outlook or Office365 you'll also see scheduled activities appearing in your calendar.
  • External events: if you have your Accelo account connected to Google Apps, Outlook or Office365 you'll be able to see a list of calendar entries from those platforms in your schedule. The details of these "maroon" entries are only visible to the user who's calendar they belong to, and they help you to see the full picture of what someone is working on (even if a bunch of their time is set aside for a trip to the dentist!)
  • Committed work: while someone can work on a task at any time, these bright blue committed work allocations are all about reserving time in someone's day to work on an outstanding task. By dragging work into someone's schedule, you can "commit" them to work for a certain (estimated) amount of time that day; these committed work entries will also automatically appear on their timesheet for easy time recording.
  • Auto work: since we know there are going to be lots of things that come up around your scheduled and committed work, and not all tasks are going to be fully scheduled in, we also include "auto" assigned work on your user's calendars. As an example, if a task is due in 5 business days and has 2 hours left to complete, it will show 24 minutes of "auto" time in green each day, making it easy to see what someone's average workload looks like by combining all of their outstanding tasks.

How to move work around

Once you're looking at someone's schedule on the right hand side, you can move work around by clicking, dragging and dropping the item onto any day in the schedule - for any visible users.

dragsched

 When something is re-allocated, you'll be prompted to choose precisely how the re-assignment should occur:

  • Schedule: this is where you choose a specific time period on the day you're dragging onto for the work to be done. This will create a "meeting" style activity for that time block, appearing on the team member's timesheet and in the inbox, reminding them to confirm the time they spent at the scheduled activity once it it has been completed. If you have your Accelo account sync'ed with your Google, Outlook or Office365 calendar you'll see the appointment appear there too within a few minutes.
  • Commit: this is where you allocate an amount of time to be worked on by that person at some point during the day. Committed time will appear on the timesheet of the team member, making it easy for them to see what they should be working on and to log their hours. 
  • Reassign: if the task you're dragging is better off being handed completely to someone else, you can reassign it. The reassign process moves the responsibility of the task to the user you drag it onto in-full, and their schedule will then update in real time with all of the automatically assigned AND committed time to make sure they can get their work done by its deadline.
  • Split: if you want to share the load for a task, you can "split" the task between its existing team member and the new team member you're dragging it onto. Simply choose "split", and you can then share the time/budget between the additional user, even giving them a different title/description of the work to be completed in the process of assigning some hours.

What's next?

You might have been wondering, “The Team re-scheduling stuff looks cool, but how can I find, assign and schedule new or existing projects?”

The good news is, this is coming just around the corner, but we wanted to give you the ability to reassign work across your team while we finish this piece of the Team Scheduling.

When complete, you'll be able to search/filter for Tasks, Projects, Tickets, Retainers and even Sales via a slim search column on the left of the screen. Then, from a list of tasks and other work, you'll be able to drag work onto user schedules - you'll even be able to do things like drag a milestone without any tasks onto someone's schedule and create a task in an instant.

lhs coming

Another reason for releasing the Team Scheduling as a beta - even though we don't have the ability to see a list of unassigned tasks on the left, for example - is because we'd love to get your feedback, ideas and suggestions. Learn more about the full version of our Automated Team Scheduling feature.

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