Team Scheduling: More Awesome, Less Beta

29-Jan 2015
Hugh

We're excited to announce the launch of our new Team Scheduling module in Accelo. With Team Scheduling, you'll now have the ability to forecast workload for multiple users, making it easier than ever to keep productivity on point.

Building on our beta releases late last year, today we've rolled out the last major feature for this module - the ability to find, assign and schedule work across sales, projects, service issues/tickets and retainers.

nice general shot1

Overview

The scheduling system relies on 3 elements of task infrastructure to provide a visual interface for seeing staff workloads: Task assignee; A time estimation on the task; and a task due date. Once calculated, the workload associated with the task is automatically projected onto that person's schedule - with the possibility of many tasks influencing the schedule each day.

This new upgrade to the Team Scheduling module makes it easy to also assign work to users even if the tasks don't already exist - you can simply drag and drop a sale, project, milestone (shown below), issue/ticket or retainer into someone's schedule and we'll automatically create the task for you.

milestone drag

Or you can create a series of tasks in-line, and then drag and drop them to individual team members’ calendars according to each employee’s workload.

The updated feature will help service-based teams organize and plan for projects more effectively over time - and any changes in project plans, schedules and budgets are also automatically reflected in the forecast, in real time.

Assigning Sales Work

The inclusion of the Sales/Opportunities tab is great news for Business Development Managers who have been looking for a faster way to review and chase-up their team’s open sales activities. The ability to quickly create and assign sales tasks allows a manager to provide guidance and action-points for their team.

sales lhs

The Sales tab contains a list of open sales by default - much like the standard sales list screen - it can be filtered using all the standard filter options, as well as using your pre-saved filters.

Of course, with less screen real-estate the list is more compact - but has the addition of tasks on each sale tucked neatly underneath. Updating task details is easy: Simply click the task title to open the edit screen. The real power though, is in assigning and scheduling work via the drag & drop interface. For a refresh on the options available when dragging a task on a schedule, please take a look at this previous blog post:

Assigning Project Work

proj unallocScheduling projects via the Projects tab brings a lot more power and flexibility for project managers. The compact project list initially reveals open projects managed by you - but of course it can be filtered using standard filters as well as pre-saved ones.

The detail in the list includes a new concept: Allocated vs unallocated time. This floodbar represents the entire project budget in hours, tracking how many hours have been allocated into tasks vs the hours yet to be broken down into tasks (unallocated). So when you’re reviewing the list, it should be easy to spot projects which are in need of breaking down into smaller pieces (tasks) to be scheduled to your team.

Clicking on a project row will update the list to reveal the milestones and tasks within that project. You’ll notice that milestones also show their balance of allocated vs. unallocated time - inviting you to create tasks and hence fully allocate the budget from a scheduling perspective.

proj task

Assigning Service Work

Balancing small jobs and support issues around bigger client projects can be tricky. This is where the Team Scheduling feature comes to the rescue! Within the Issues tab (or Tickets, if you prefer) users can quickly search and filter for tickets which might have a manager assigned, but are not broken down into tasks - and hence not being factored into staff workloads.

Much like the Sales tab, managers can easily see existing tasks and quickly assign or re-assign those tasks, as well we create new ones - allowing them to estimate the time required to complete specific activities within a support ticket or ad-hoc service request. Being able to access your saved filters comes in very handy for finding just the issues you need to review and schedule:

issue lhs

Assigning Retainer Work

For those businesses using the Retainers module to manage recurring services - or even a regular service “bucket”, this latest update will be very handy for ensuring service tasks are correctly scheduled - or re-scheduled if needed - each period.

The Periods tab brings up all open retainer periods - much like the Period List screen - but with the ability to see and assign any tasks still open for each period. With the period budget usage also visible, you can determine if the period budget is being utilized well, over used, or possibly that some tasks need to be added/moved to ensure your clients are getting the value they expect from a service retainer.

period lhs

 What's next for Team Scheduling?

There's a few small improvements still on our list - such as the ability to convert your external appointments (shown in red/purple in the graph) into scheduled activities (represented in yellow) - but for the most part we've completed our plans for the Team Scheduling module!

As with all new features, we rely heavily of user feedback - so if there are any improvements or changes you'd like to see, please make them known via our ideas forum, or get in touch with support if you spot something odd.

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