As a system administrator, you have a really big job. You are responsible for creating and maintaining processes, intake queues, dashboards, custom forms, training documentation and integrated applications (to name a few), to ensure that work can be done with ease and efficiency. You’re often asked to be the leader in driving organizational adoption and feeding decision-making data to your leaders. It can feel overwhelming to know where to start, or how to corral a wayward Workfront, whether you’re a brand new System Administrator or a seasoned pro.
This week, we’re kicking off a series designed to provide essential advice and action steps to make this challenging role a bit easier. We’re starting with the idea of “setup,” and will dive into the other key elements of administrator essentials in following weeks.
DIAGRAM AND DEFINE
Workfront will not fix a broken process. It’s imperative to take the time to thoughtfully define and diagram your processes in the Sandbox environment before beginning implementation or making changes to your production environment. Whether it’s your first installation, or a routine update, treat each one as a new consideration and take ample time to clearly define and document the why, the how and the who. Be sure to conduct user acceptance testing (UAT) and involve select end users. This should not be optional - the more involved users are in the design of the process, the greater the chance of adoption. Host lunch-and-learns, classroom style sessions or open office hours to allow users to share suggestions for improvements.
A wise fellow customer offers the following guidance: “Implementing the tool [or new process or new group] shouldn't start or stop with training the functionality of the tool - start with the processes, inputs, responsibilities, how the work/teams are organized FIRST. Adjusting any of these after the initial implementation and launch of Workfront is EXPONENTIALLY more difficult.”
PRO TIP: Use your process diagrams to support conversations in cases where adoption is struggling. Share it with your people managers and end users. Let them behind the curtain and into the process to give insight on how their work will benefit the company as a whole.
FAQs regarding the Sandbox environment can be found here.
For starters, don’t try to make the system or new process everything to everyone — start slow and small. Casting the net too wide can raise complexity and make the system difficult to apply and less useful. For those of you well past the point of starting simple, your focus may be on restoring ease and clarity in the system. A great place to start in either case is by reviewing your intake processes to see if there’s room for consolidation or other action. Look at the number of active request queues your organization has and begin to consolidate or combine based on common themes.
For Workfront, a cleanup effort executed by the Done Right at Workfront team included trimming down the number of intake queues from 137 to 21 so now, it’s easy to find and request work from the appropriate department or team.
DOCUMENT AND SHARE
Because processes are the core of your operations, documenting everything is extremely important to ensure consistency, minimize risks and provide a framework for future improvements.
All process documents should be up-to-date and repurposed into training materials for end-users to easily access at any time. These documents should be 1. added to a process or training project and 2. put in labeled folders, organized by job role. You can either make this project visible system-wide, or if you have external clients or vendors sharing the system, share it only with users in your company.
Bonus Tip 1: Drive end user engagement by seeking subject matter experts (SMEs). These individuals are often power users and/or process leaders and can be aligned by functional use of Workfront - ie reporting, resource management or proofing - or by your process - intake, execution, review/approval or reporting.
Bonus Tip 2: Establish a Workfront Center of Excellence to inform company best practices with Workfront. Your SMEs help define your organizational best practices and share the ability to support your teams in understanding.
PRO TIP: Attach a custom form to the project, with clearly defined subject matter experts (SMEs) and their topic, outside of the system administrator, so people know who to reach out with questions.
COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS
Workfront offers a variety of services to help customize different areas to fit your needs — Workfront Community, a Community dedicated to learning and interacting. For new system administrators, register for an upcoming Workfront events via the Experience League events page.
Outside of Workfront, some of the best resources will be other like-minded administrators who are trying to solve similar work management related asks. Join topic-focused sub-communities, read through the latest discussions and post questions of your own to the Community forum, found on the Experience League Workfront Community.
For one customer, the first 30 minutes of the day is dedicated to reading through the Community forum to learn what other customers are using Workfront for or to respond to questions to pass along knowledge.
PRO TIP: Make sure to adjust your email notifications found in your profile settings so you get real-time replies to your question! To do this, login to Workfront One > Click your name in the top right corner > My Settings > Scroll down to Email Notifications and click all that apply.