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System Administrator Best Practices - Knowing Your People

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Administrator

01-03-2022


Despite the descriptive title, functioning as a Workfront System Administrator typically involves so much more than the technical support of an application — you are the leader in managing how work gets done — facilitating an ecosystem of people, process and technology to enable organizational performance and operational excellence. Don’t let that overwhelm you, this is bold work and Workfront is here to partner with you on this exciting journey. 


To kick off the 3-part series and to continue the discussion from the system administrator best practices user group, this week’s blog will focus on knowing your people, from the perspective of administering Workfront. Summarized below are four key items and sample efforts that you need to know based on feedback from others just like you, who’ve not only taken on this role, but have created a successful career out of it.


UNDERSTAND AND SHARE THE WHY

After your initial Workfront setup, make sure to spend at least 1 hour/month communicating the why. If the original goals behind implementing Workfront have been met, identify more that you’d like to accomplish, or if they are outdated and need a refresh, begin again. Ensuring shared understanding across the team about how Workfront supports the overall vision and mission of the organization is critical to user adoption and successful work management.  


Messaging should be kept simple, aligned to organizational objectives and communicated regularly to remind users, teams and departments what the goals and expected outcomes for implementing Workfront are, how individuals will benefit and why it’s important to not just you, but the organization as a whole. These communication efforts create awareness among users and provide the framework for a plan to connect work back to strategy. 


PRO TIP: Send communications through the Announcement Center so that users not only receive the message, but become familiar with features within Workfront that they may have otherwise overlooked. For a quick overview, review the Announcements section in the System Administrator course.

 



To help drive change within your organization, check out 3 change management best practices on Workfront One. 


USER ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT

Without effective user account management, Workfront can and will get cluttered with outdated information. On average, it is recommended that you spend 2-3 hours each month organizing, activating, auditing and deactivating. Below are three steps to help you maintain a clean and categorized system: 


  1. Get a firm understanding of how groups, teams, companies and job roles are set up so you can make sure these fields are set up, properly organized and reportable. The blog, Workfront is Simple - Understanding User Management, details best practices around user organization and shows a detailed user view that can be created in text mode. 
  2. Review the Licenses area in Setup to understand where your organization is in terms of license breakdown and utilization. If you would like to learn more about license costs or to purchase more, reach out to your Account Executive. 
  3. Allocate time for quarterly license audits, bi-weekly HR termination audits and monthly groups and teams audits. 


PRO TIP: Responsibility can be shared with Group Administrators, so you don’t have to tackle this alone. Make sure to update the access level of a Group Administrator and fine-tune the settings, so he/she can reset passwords and login as another user in the group (see screenshot below). For a list of tasks that Group Administrators can perform, review this article on Workfront One. 




If you haven’t already, make sure to read through the blog, How Workfront Cleaned Up Its Own “Unbridled '' Instance of Workfront to understand the importance of cleanup and the delete button. 


USER TRAINING MANAGEMENT

Depending on your organization’s maturity, this responsibility can range anywhere from 8-32 hours per month. Onboarding new users and training existing users is a key aspect of Workfront’s success — without your people, you don’t have data. This is not a one and done activity, the biggest lift happens around your initial launch, but regular training is highly encouraged to help users expand their knowledge of the Workfront platform. Since everyone learns differently, consider the following training methods as alternatives to classroom-style teaching: 


  • An onboarding project in Workfront that users can upload screenshots to and mark items complete
  • Open office hours for questions
  • Weekly lunch and learns/brown bag lunches for open discussion
  • Mentoring or coaching sessions with live walk-throughs


Creating and maintaining internal training documentation is also a huge piece of training management. Documentation will ensure consistency across users, teams and departments and should be attached to a Workfront Training project that is shared system-wide. It should be reviewed monthly so the content is always up to date and might include various styles — how-to guides for basic navigation, creating a project, logging time, requesting work, marking a work item complete or submitting time off. 


Additional best practices around documenting and sharing can be found in the blog, A Series of Administrator Essentials - Setup, Streamline and Scale


PRO TIP: Before you create your training guides, review what is available on Workfront One. There, you can find a variety of videos, articles, learning paths and how-to guides to accommodate different learning styles. 


GOVERNANCE 

One of the biggest takeaways from the System Administrator Best Practices User Group was the importance of a governance committee. Because so many teams contribute to the overall success of your organization, there needs to be certain standards set up to ensure operational excellence, that everyone follows. 


If you haven’t done so already, define and create the framework for a modern work governance board and secure resources. More often than not, the board will consist of the following users, all of whom have a voice at the table, understand the strategic initiatives of the company and can participate in working towards common goals.

 

  • System administrators
  • Group administrators
  • Champions
  • Power users


Each user should be assigned a role and given responsibilities that help to oversee key infrastructure practices like communication, education, process improvement or reporting. Watch one of the most popular Ask the Expert webinars, Modern Work Governance for the Enterprise to hear from Steve Cappellucci, Workfront Sr. Director, Pre-Sales Transformation on how to structure and develop the framework for a center of excellence. 



Like training, this is not a one and done activity — you should spend about 2 hours a month taking part in regularly scheduled governance meetings and following up on related action items. 


PRO TIP: If you’re not sure who to include in your governance council, look at the Top 5 'Entered By' and 'Updated By' users within Reports/Dashboards. Most likely, these are your power users. People who extract and share data across the organization are the ones that know it best. Run changes and updates by them first. Review this Community thread focused around governance for additional information from other successful system administrators. 


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