Booking Feature: Schedule 10x Faster

Schedule Work Faster with the New Booking Feature

20-Apr 2018

The new Booking feature builds upon the scheduling paradigm you might be familiar with courtesy of the Team Scheduling screen - where a task can be dropped onto a user's schedule to allocate time for them on a specific day as either a commitment (which doesn't have a specific start/end time) or a scheduled activity (which does have). While this drag & drop experience is neat, it doesn't allow for scheduling to multiple users at the same time, and scheduling across multiple days also required more dragging & dropping. Our new Booking feature overcomes this by making it easy to include multiple staff and a range of days to generate multiple bookings at once.

commit range

The "Commit" booking feature provides a weekly grid where you can control the amount of time allocated to each user for that task.

To access the Booking feature - which is part of the Scheduling module, a Premium-only feature - look for the little calendar icon. You'll notice it appear on-hover when browsing the work or staff shown on the left of the Scheduling Dashboard, as well as on the right-hand card which slides open if you click on a cell.

book time button

We've strived to make it very accessible, without being too intrusive ;-) You'll also notice it on many view screens and in the overflow menu of each row when listing your projects, tasks, tickets, retainer periods, sales and more.

list ticket

While the Booking experience works best for scheduling and committing time to tasks, you can absolutely use it to book work or meetings across sales, retainers, tickets and more, in bulk. When you do have a task selected, the left-hand rail gives you a handy overview of the task detail. Additionally, if you just select a company, we'll encourage you to look for something more specific to that client to put the Schedule time against.

comp bookin

If you're after a bit more clarity on how exactly this feature could be useful for your team, here are a few scenarios you might like:

Set repeated meetings with staff or clients

Running a 6-month project which includes a weekly stakeholder meeting? Setting up these meeting activities (against the right milestone or task!) is now a breeze - even from the Project Overview tab within a project.

stake bookSince you're aiming to book a specific time and might want to include the client contact, you'll choose the Schedule option. From there it's a lot like creating a Meeting activity except with the added flexibility of the date range. This ensures that the booking (aka meeting) is repeated for each day of the week you enable until the end of the date range. To make it clearer, we'll display the number of days throughout the range, and the button to confirm will advise how many hours in total are booked for each user - so in the example below, we're about to create 26 scheduled activities. 

sched alot

NB: Will the client be notified 26 times? - Yes, if you leave "Send Invites" enabled. In the near future, we'll have this improved by making use of a true recurring event/meeting item. However, if you're only scheduling work internally (just staff/user attendees) then you can uncheck the "Send Invites" knowing that your calendar integration will still push the event into your staff calendars, Outlook or Gmail account etc.

Quickly convert auto-scheduled hours into firm commitments

One of the best use-cases for this new Booking feature is for converting auto-scheduled time into firm commitments, especially if your team are more inclined to focus on the blue committed items in their schedule over the purple auto-scheduled ones. Assuming you already have some work (such as a project) loaded into the Scheduling Dashboard, you can filter the data to focus on Auto-scheduled time to find out exactly which tasks need your attention.

bulk convert autoOnce the task is selected you'll see on the right-side who is currently responsible, and from there you can open the Booking feature to get those auto-scheduled hours turned into firm commitments for the days that are available for that user - or for other users. To be certain which days are available you can click on the highlighted username (shown above with red around Teddy Smith - since he's overallocated) which opens an additional right-hand panel to reveal all the work across Accelo that is allocated to that user in the same week.

Easily assign multiple users to one task:

Ok, so while a task still only supports 1 user in the assignee field, you'll find that by adding multiple staff to the booking - whether as committed time or a real scheduled event, you're able to share the workload of that task across more than 1 person with ease. Of course, those additional staff now working on the task need to refer to their Schedule screen or their Daily or Weekly Timesheet to see these tasks for which they are scheduled but aren't explicitly assigned to. 

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