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Workfront Wednesday: Did You Know? A Toolkit for Transparency Based on Time, Resources and Priorities

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Administrator

01-03-2022

For Workfront, and many of our customers, the last month was focused on pivoting to conducting business virtually, and ensuring that we had the right plan, tools and technology to support our efforts. We then sharpened our pencils in terms of our business strategy, priorities, deliverables, and to ensure full utilization of our resources. Data-driven, transparent conversations with our teams has been key to this process for us, and others. 


For one sporting good retail customer, what normally is a time focused on creating trade show deliverables, has been refocused on other initiatives to drive online sales. Over 350 people switched overnight to working remotely, pivoted their plans, and relied on the processes built within Workfront to enable visibility into the decisions to be made and the work to be done. All teams that make up marketing and creative manage their work through Workfront - from the request queues to project and task management. “It’s the only way we keep track of work. It provides the much needed structure...This transition would have been a nightmare without Workfront.” 


This week’s blog will focus on three key elements to help you and your team be proactive in managing work and to gain transparency across all work. 


  1. Utilizing Logged Time for Forecasting and Tracking Efficiency
  2. Prioritizing Work to Manage Workload and Hit Deadlines 
  3. Allocating Resources Based on Demand and Availability



TIME TRACKING


In this new, dispersed work environment, if you haven’t already, encourage your team to log time on their work to start capturing vital information essential to Workfront's resource management tools. The visibility of time data allows you to assess accuracy of work items and review and analyze performance and efficiency to make data-based decisions. 


Outside of resource management, you can utilize logged hours to track work items that took longer than expected by creating a task report comparing actual and planned hours — see below. This report provides a reliable basis for forecasting and uses historical data for accurate estimates, helping leaders make improved decisions for savings or to deliver solutions faster. 



To recreate this report within your own environment, follow these steps: 

  1. Go to the Reports area and select a task report.
  2. Add the column for Actual Hours.
  3. From the filters area, add Task > Planned Hours > Less Than > FIELD:ID.
  4. Switch to text mode and replace ID with the field name, actualWorkRequired. Your text mode should look like the following:



5. Click Save and Close. Notice that the only tasks that appear have actual hours that are greater than planned hours. 


You can use this same formula to compare fields such as a project’s actual completion date vs planned completion date, planned cost vs budget and actual cost vs planned cost. To watch a short video on comparing fields, click here. For common text mode use cases, including comparing two fields with filters, click here to read the related article on Workfront One.


CUSTOMER CASE STUDY: Due to the high demand of nurses and medical professionals needed to help fight the COVID-19 virus, hospitals are using custom Workfront reports to calculate potential burnout for medical staff, based on overtime hours logged to timesheets. By analyzing the data, leaders can make educated decisions about staffing and recognize those for their outstanding efforts. To track overtime, create a timesheet report or use one of Workfront’s built-in reports that already has the column added.



PRIORITIZING WORK


Everyday, you are challenged with accurately prioritizing the work that matters. Not every incoming work item should be labeled urgent so it’s important to be diligent and have the right insight to ensure that the right work is being done at the right time with the right people. This isn’t always easy, so Workfront offers several solutions to help you get there. 


  • Users can prioritize their own personal work items in Home to place the most important items at the top and to have a quick reference for what should be done next. For step-by-step instructions, click here.
  • Projects, tasks and issues have a priority field that anyone with Manage access to the object can adjust via Edit > Overview. Workfront provides you with pre-built reports — for example, Projects by Priority — that can be utilized to track progress or be customized with additional columns, groupings or added charts for more personalized analytics.



CUSTOMER CASE STUDY: ADP aligned 100% of major projects to larger strategic priorities for the business and used flexible reporting to track how projects perform. To learn more about their story, read the case study here found under Why Workfront > Customers on the Workfront website. 



ALLOCATING THE APPROPRIATE RESOURCES 


Priorities can change based on customer demand and sometimes teams need to rapidly refocus their attention and efforts. By understanding the availability of your resources, you can respond quickly to shifting priorities, make real-time adjustments and take advantage of last-minute opportunities. 


For a quick view of available, or over-allocated resources, add the resource planner to your team dashboard so it is easily accessible. 



To do this, get the URL associated with the resource planner under Resources > Resource Planner > Link icon and add that as an external page on your dashboard. For step-by-step instructions on how to add an external page, click here.


For communicating roles and responsibilities for each project, create a custom responsibility assignment, or RACI, matrix. To learn how to build this view, follow step-by-step instructions in the blog, Configuring a RACI Matrix in Workfront.


If your organization does not currently utilize the resource management tools but you want to get started, below are four best practices that have been shared via the Community forum by Workfront user, David Gutzmann. We encourage you to post your organization's resource management tips on the Community site, or reply to the thread here.


  1. Resource management is a cycle — not a "set it and forget it" step. Estimates inform initial plans, but plans change and are updated based on the reality of work. Both project managers and resource managers have a responsibility for communicating those shifts effectively and talking through what it means for getting the work done. It has to be a team effort to be successful. 
  2. Dates and Planned Hours should be updated weekly, at a minimum, to get an accurate read on what's coming down the pipe. 
  3. Focus on planning forward - updating work that's done or already in the past causes more work than it helps support. You can't change the past and messing with planned hours that way will throw off any data you could use to learn where you need to adjust things.
  4. Actual hours are the truth of what happened - always record them and as accurately as you can. This is how you measure how close the estimate of planned hours was and refine for the future. And the Utilization report embedded in a project is best for this to look in a specific period instead of task by task when you're dealing with multiple task assignments for users on a project.



ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


Upcoming Ask the Expert webinar

Join former customer turned Workfront Strategic Customer Success Manager, Jaimeson Wennerstrum, on Wednesday, April 22 at 9 am MT for a 1-hour session to discuss measuring performance with KPIs. The webinar will define KPIs, help you understand how to pair KPIs with your personal instance and share reports that are key for measuring KPIs. Register here.


On-Demand and Live Trainings

For additional information regarding resource management or time tracking, watch on-demand videos here or sign up for a free, 1-hour live, instructor-led session with a Workfront Trainer through Ascent. For a list of available dates and times, login to ascent.workfront.com and select the Training Calendar from My Learning. 


Upcoming Virtual Boot Camps

Spread the word! We’re now offering Virtual System Administrator Boot Camps! The following is the updated list along with registration links. You can also view these in Workfront One on the Events page:


April 28-30. To be taught in the new Workfront experience. Register here.

May 12-14. To be taught in Workfront Classic. Register here.

May 12-14. To be taught in the new Workfront experience. Register here.

June 16-18. To be taught in Workfront Classic. Register here.

June 23-25. To be taught in the new Workfront experience. Register here


See past Workfront Wednesday tips here.

Find Past Workfront Wednesday: Ask the Expert Workshop Recordings here.



We hope these Workfront Wednesday: Did you know? Toolkits are making things a bit easier in these challenging times. We’re here for you, and will get through this with you. Thank you for #workingboldly with us. 


With love, 


Sue Fellows

Chief Customer Officer

Workfront