Blog Series: The Second Step - Scheduling

The 3-Step Process to Run Your Agency's Operations Like a Well-Oiled Machine: Part 3 of 4 - Scheduling

2-Aug 2019

Scheduling work can be a stressful undertaking that requires project managers to expertly juggle tasks simultaneously. Imagine the daunting scenario of having to juggle a juggling club for each key player you have to schedule for, more juggling clubs are added representing the set milestones needed to be fulfilled on time, the amount you're juggling is increased again to account for the deliverables and results that are promised, and throw in several extra ones on behalf of the obstacles that will probably arise throughout the way. That’s a lot of juggling clubs in the air! Difficult to say the least.

It's a challenge to efficiently build out schedules that keep all collaborators happy and on the same page. In fact, 59% of employees deemed communication as their team's biggest obstacle. 

With over half of the workforce struggling with seamless communication, it's high time to improve the way your agency operates. Now that your game plan is set, take the next step and transform the way you schedule work. By highlighting elements of transparency, accountability, profitability, autonomy, and respect, you can effectively schedule your work and prioritize your team communication better than ever before! As a current Accelo user or an interested potential customer, make these elements shine as you schedule your projects with these Accelo features: 

1.  Maintain Team-Wide Transparency and Accountability Throughout the Project

As a project manager embarking on a new project, the first question that comes to mind is, who is available to work on this project? With Accelo's scheduling functions, you and your team members can have consistent insight into what team members are working on. As you are scheduling out work, you can leverage the following tools to schedule team members in one central location based on skill sets, availability, and priorities: 

  • Schedule Dashboard: With this feature, get a high-level view of capacity across the company, including how busy your team is, what they're currently working on, holidays approaching, and staff on PTO. With color changes, easily note when someone's being underutilized or hitting full bandwidth, using this information to schedule accordingly.

  • Team Scheduling: Take advantage of this tool to promote company-wide transparency, with the ability to view your team members' tasks and availability. Schedule tasks by selecting specific team members and view their workload. You can either click on the team member's section to schedule work for them there or drag tasks from the left and drop them over to assign it to a particular team member. There's an array of scheduling options to choose from: 

    • Commit Time - commit this task for a specific piece of time e.g. two hours

    • Schedule Time - this will show up on your assignee's calendar and block off a specific time 

    • Reassign Task - Re-schedule the task deadline for later in the day if need be

Each color indicates various tasks: yellow (schedule time), maroon (external events), blue (committed) and purple (auto-scheduled work - Accelo takes a long task and auto-schedules, spreading work over time to complete a task by the designated deadline).

With these features, you expand the way you're able to schedule work. As a project manager, find the way that works best for your style, and at the same time, give your team constant access to see what other team members are working on and their up-to-date capacity. No longer are team members’ schedules hidden or isolated. Now everyone on your team has insight and understanding into workloads. 

2. Ensure Your Team's Profitable and Pivot When Necessary

In addition to making sure your team is productive, it's essential to know how much of it is billable and contributing to your agency's bottom line. Stay on top of your team's profitability and utilization: 

  • Utilization Dashboard: Have easy access to projects that happened in the past, see what's currently going on, and plan for the future in one place. This feature gives you the power to monitor your team's productivity of billable and non-billable time. Analyze your peak times to help strategize and optimize your company's efficiency. Get a visual breakdown of what's happening: Logged Time is green (billable) and orange (non-billable), and the Estimated Time (work assigned but not completed yet) is yellow (scheduled), pink (external), blue (committed), and purple (auto-scheduled). With this data, you have the ability to analyze what's worked in the past, and try to replicate it for the future while keeping track of how much work is profitable. 

3. Grant Team Members Autonomy of Their Schedule

As a project manager, you're responsible to ensure the project tasks are assigned to the team member with the appropriate skill sets. But each team member should have the independence to organize and prioritize their tasks to fit their personal schedule. In our next blog, the final entry of the series, we'll break down how easy it is to track your work with Accelo's ability to automatically capture your work. Accelo not only provides visibility into the team schedules, and project progress, but you can empower your own work schedule: 

  • My Schedule: This feature gives each team member access and control of their workload. They're able to view their own past, present, and upcoming work schedule. As well as look into personal tasks, milestones, time allocated, and reorganize as necessary. Lend a hand whenever your schedule allows! You can even pull in tasks when you want to take initiative and help out the team. 

4. Respect Your Team's PTO and Privacy While Fulfilling Project Schedule 

It's inevitable that some days team members will be unable to make it to the office for a number of different reasons. They'll sporadically feel under the weather and use a sick day or take their well-deserved PTO vacations. We've all been there and while out of the office, you might find yourself in a pinch to sheepishly ping them with client-related questions to keep the project going.

Realistically, you can't always avoid having to do this, but with these Accelo integrations you can do your best to prevent having to reach out as they're OOO:

  • Accelo's Gusto Integration: Seamlessly sync your team's time-off requests, automatically incorporating them into your team's schedule and upcoming availability in Accelo. Scheduled work can be reallocated automatically and if it pushes a project past a deadline, you can act quickly. 

  • Accelo's Email Integrations: As we shared in the previous blog, whether you utilize G Suite or Office365, Accelo bi-directionally syncs between your preferred email platform and Accelo. Any of your client-related emails sent or received through your email will be captured into a stream. So, your team can see where you left off when it comes to your client communication, and jump in if needed, while respecting the privacy of your inbox. 

Everyone wins when you successfully schedule your project! Your team members are assigned to work that is considerate of their current and upcoming schedule, with an organized yet adaptable schedule. Additionally, by staying organized and up-to-date, you meet client expectations and fulfill the original milestones you set up. Lastly, as a project manager, scheduling out work isn't a heavy administrative task because everything you need is accessible in one place with Accelo. Give it a try today

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