Enhance Efficiency and Quality with Project Templates

I'm terrible at baking cookies!

However, as long as I have a list of ingredients, step by step instructions and a trusty cookie cutter they come out perfectly every time!

In a similar way TaskRay can help streamline and enhance your processes by allowing you to build and clone standardized templates that contain all the steps and instructions needed for your team.

For example, many TaskRay users have templates for all sorts of processes including:

  • Customer onboarding
  • Managing sales opportunities 
  • Re-occurring marketing campaigns
  • New hire onboarding
  • Accounting/Payroll processes
  • And much more

Think about your own processes, are any of them repeatable? Do they contain the same steps over and over? Can your processes be standardized? 

By having a blueprint of what needs to be done, by whom and when we can move forward much more quickly while ensuring nothing is missed which also helps optimize the quality of our work.

Here, we'll show how users can quickly create and clone project templates in TaskRay  and also how you can automatically set deadline dates on tasks.

How to create and clone project templates in TaskRay:

Step 1: Create your Project

Template projects are simply projects which have been pre-populated with the typical steps/tasks of a specific project type, and when they're cloned they allow a team to hit the ground running with a pre-built project plan.

First, create a project in TaskRay by clicking the New Project "+" button located on the left project sidebar.

That will bring up the TaskRay Project details page where you can enter in all the relevant details of the project.

TIP: NAME YOUR TEMPLATES DESCRIPTIVELY:

The best template is worthless if your team can't find it easily when they need it. And nothing makes it easier to find the right template than a good name. We recommend prefacing all templates with the word "Template" and then using as much of the 80 allowed characters as you need to make sure your team understands the template's purpose. For example, a template could be called "Template: Customer On-boarding".

This "Template" trick is not just for making it obvious that the project is a template. Anyone searching for a template in TaskRay can just type "template" into TaskRay's search and they'll get a list of all templates available. 

Step 2: Add Tasks to your Template

Once the project template is created, simply add all the typical tasks and steps for that type of process via the New Task button. If needed, you can even break tasks down into smaller chunks by adding sub-task Checklist Items.

Step 3: Assign an owner to the Tasks and Project

If the exact same person is responsible for the same task over and over, you can pre-assign those template tasks to that owner. That way, when you project is cloned, all those tasks will already be assigned to the correct resource.

If the task owner is different each time (or if you'd rather not assign template tasks to individuals to prevent confusion) you could instead assign tasks to a Salesforce queue.

We like something simple like a queue called "Unassigned" but you can call it anything that makes sense for your team's process. Make your new queue the owner of all template tasks, and then assign ownership to actual people once the template is cloned.

Step 4: Assign Start and End Dates to the Tasks

By assigning Start and End dates to the tasks in our template it will allow TaskRay to automatically assign task dates when the project is cloned based upon either the start or end date of the project.

So, if you typically know how long each task takes to complete and when the subsequent tasks occur then enter those dates in. 

For example, Task 1 may take two days and once finished Task 2 needs to be started and that takes one day to complete and so on. Of course these will just be fictitious dates that you enter, e.g. February 2-4 for Task 1 and then February 4-5 for Task 2.

Should you already know the values of other fields within your templates' tasks then certainly pre-populate them. When cloned those values will be the same, so no need to spend time re-entering them again. 

Step 5: Clone your Project Template

Now that we have a project template built out, the next time that process occurs we do not need to spend a bunch of time in TaskRay manually creating the entire project from scratch along with all of it's tasks and checklist items, we simply go to our Template project and clone it.

To do that open up the template (double click the project from the sidebar) and click on the "Clone" button. We'll then see this screen:

Here, choose between Set the starting date of the first task or Set the ending date of the last task. Select the starting date for forward driven projects and ending date for backwards driven projects. Upon clone TaskRay will then automatically calculate the dates of all of the tasks based upon the project start/end date. 

Next enter a name for the new project along with the project start or end date e.g. "Customer On-boarding: Acme Inc." start "1/11/2016".

Lastly click the "Clone" button.

Once done, a new cloned project will be automatically created and display on the project sidebar. That project will contain all the same tasks and checklist items from the template and all tasks will have start and end dates automatically calculated and assigned to them.

Here's a quick video of the cloning process in action:

Now, once your template is cloned all the tasks within it are certainly not set in stone. Users can easily add, edit or remove tasks where needed. 

So there you have it, five quick and easy steps to create and clone your project templates in TaskRay.

This will allow you to standardize many of your processes, ensure no tasks are missed by your team, keeping the quality of their work up and saving a ton of time along the way in not having to re-create the wheel for each project. 

So, while you're baking the perfect cookies why not also bake the perfect project by using templates within TaskRay!

Enjoy!

Happy 10th Birthday to the Salesforce AppExchange

Today is the Salesforce AppExchange’s 10th birthday. This is a huge milestone for Salesforce and for all the apps on the AppExchange including ours—TaskRay, Campaign Calendar and MyDay.

Ten years ago the idea of a marketplace where businesses could go to buy apps was revolutionary.  Bracket  Labs was founded on the vision that corporate enterprise IT was going to follow in the footsteps of consumer web apps; That large enterprises would want to use off-the-shelf applications, so that they could also buy inexpensively, and install easily with rapid user adoption.

Bracket Labs built a team to take advantage of that opportunity, and here we are in the middle of what we consider an app revolution. There are a number of forces converging—cloud technology, SaaS, rapidly growing SMB markets, lessons from the consumer social world— that are disrupting the way that enterprise thinks about their IT solutions. We are hearing from customers who are not only buying and deploying Bracket Labs’s apps in short time periods, but whose users almost immediately start to depend on them to complete their work.  Ten years ago that sort of story would have been hard to imagine, but it’s happening regularly now. We’re thrilled to be part of this re-definition of enterprise IT.

We couldn’t ask for a better partner. Salesforce and the AppExchange continue to be at the vanguard of emerging technology with wearables, analytics, and iOT. The consistent innovation driven by Salesforce is inspiring and good for our business as it translates into increased marketplace opportunity. Bracket Labs is constantly evaluating our products and services to complement Salesforce’s strategic direction. Not only does this help us deliver a top-notch experience to our customers, but it allows us to evolve with the platform.  

Happy birthday AppExchange. We can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring. #appexchange10

Notifying checklist owners of a new assignment

With our recent December release of TaskRay we made several exciting changes to checklists including:

  • Group items into collapsible checklists and allow multiple checklists per task
  • Reorder checklists and checklist items
  • Increased checklist size to support 32,000 characters!
  • Show/hide checklist items
  • Assign checklist items to a user
  • Display checklist assignees on task card to represent multiple owners of a task

One thing not included in this long list of checklist enhancements is an email notification sent to a TaskRay user when they are assigned a checklist item. If this is something you would like to see added please vote here: Checklist assignee notifications.

While not out-of-the-box in TaskRay, this is possible to do today with a simple workflow rule (for Enterprise users and above). Here's how:

Setup your email template

  1. From Setup, navigate to Communication Templates | Email Templates.
  2. Click New Template.
  3. Choose a type (our example uses Custom) and click Next.
  4. Name your template and be sure to mark Available for Use.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Add Subject & Body.
  7. Click Save & Next.
  8. Copy Copy text from HTML version.
  9. Click Save.

Here's a sample template (be sure to replace na13 with your Salesforce server):

Subject: A TaskRay checklist item has been assigned to you.

Body:

<html>
<body style="font-family: Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, Arial, Lucida Grande, sans-serif; font-size:12px;">

<p>{!TASKRAY__trChecklistItem__c.CreatedBy} has assigned you the following checklist item:</p>

<p>{!TASKRAY__trChecklistItem__c.TASKRAY__trLongName__c}</p>

<p>To access the checklist go to the task <a href="https://taskray.na13.visual.force.com/apex/TASKRAY__trtaskboard?taskid={!TASKRAY__trChecklistItem__c.TASKRAY__Project_TaskId__c}">{!TASKRAY__Project_Task__c.Name}</a>.</p>
</body>
</html>

Setup the workflow

  1. From Setup, navigate to Create | Workflow Rules & Approvals | Workflow Rules.
  2. Click New Rule.
  3. Choose TaskRay Checklist Item for Object and click Next.
  4. Add a Rule Name (e.g. Checklist Assignment Notification).
  5. Select created, and any time it's edited.
  6. Change rule criteria to run this rule if the following formula evaluates to true.
  7. Add the formula ISCHANGED(TASKRAY__trOwner__c).
  8. Click Save & Next.
  9. Select New Email Alert from Add Workflow Action dropdown.
  10. Name the alert and choose the template you created in the prior section.
  11. In Recipient Type change to Related User and move Related User: Assigned To to the Selected Recipients section.
  12. Click Save.
  13. Click Done.
  14. Click Activate.

That's it! Your checklist assignees will now receive an email notification. If there are any features you would like to see next in TaskRay please let us know on our Ideas Forum

Happy Holidays from Bracket Labs!

From all of us at Bracket Labs to all of you and yours, here's to a great 2015 and looking forward to an even better 2016.

New TaskRay Version - December Release Schedule

December 2015 Release

TaskRay’s December 2015 release is almost here and it is chock-full of big, big changes! The product development team has been busy working on features to help enhance TaskRay’s enterprise capabilities for project management in Salesforce.

Besides our usual performance tweaks to make TaskRay faster and more responsive, here are the big changes.

Some key features in the December 2015 release include: 

  • Dependencies and Milestones - We have completely overhauled the capabilities of Plan view with new drag and drop dependency capabilities. This means cascading dates, auto-calculated project duration, and it all works with cloning templates. This could be our biggest release news all year!
  • Enhanced Checklists (aka multiple owners!) - Multiple owners for tasks has long been one of our most popular requests. Well, we have finally delivered it and have greatly enhanced our checklist capabilities while were were at it. You can now have multiple checklists per task plus assignees for checklist items which roll up to multiple "owners" on a task.
  • New Row View - Deadline view has been renamed to Row view, but don't be fooled—it wasn't just a name change. We added a new grouping option, even allowing you to group row view by custom fields. But we didn't stop there! You can also mass update your tasks by dragging and dropping them between groups, easily making it one of our most exciting new features.
 

Dependencies and milestones are here!

 

Stay tuned for our follow-up blog outlining each feature in more detail.  Click here to subscribe to our blog.

Release Schedule

  • Saturday, December 12th: Automatic upgrade to Sandbox and available on AppExchange
  • Saturday, January 2nd: Automatic upgrade to Production

Live Webinars with Q&A


TaskRay Veteran?

Join us for a look at new features from the December 15 release of TaskRay.

Perfect for existing TaskRay users and teams.

Date: Thursday, Dec 17th  Time: 3 pm PT / 6 pm ET / 10 am AEDT  Register

Date: Wednesday, Jan 6th  Time: 9 am PT / 12 pm ET / 6 pm GMT   Register



New to TaskRay?

Join us for a demo overview of TaskRay and learn how TaskRay project management can help your users quickly track, manage, and communicate all of their work in Salesforce.

Perfect for new users or teams considering TaskRay for their organization.

Date: Wednesday, Dec 16th  Time: 9 am PT / 12 pm ET / 5 pm GMT   Register

Date: Thursday, Jan 7th  Time: 3 pm PT / 6 pm ET / 10 am AEDT   Register