Being a dedicated SuperOffice user for many years, I recently discovered a great feature in the product: the project pane!
Why haven’t I noticed or heard about this before? Or even more important, do our customers know about projects in SuperOffice and how to use them?
Some of them might, but the majority don’t…
Therefore I would like to explain how you can organize your activities through projects and use them in custom workflows.
Before I can do that, I need to explain the difference between a task and a project.
A task is a stand-alone assignment without any guidelines or “boundaries” while a project often is a sequence of tasks bound by time, resources and a defined outcome.
Projects are tightly planned from beginning to end with deliverable's. A typical project can be renovating an old house. This means buying materials and making sure they are delivered on time, coordinating different handymen, handling a budget , supervising the work mm. The actual outcome of this would be a totally new house.
Making a cup of coffee or answering your email may require some planning , organization or even research ,but should you consider them projects? - Not likely.
On the contrary , these would be defined as tasks rather then projects.
So now that we have an mutual understanding of what defines a project, let’s continue.
Projects in SuperOffice
Projects in SuperOffice can be used as a collection of activities, documents and emails from one or more companies. You just hook up the activity, task, document or email to a project using the documents dialog and that’s it.
Now you can compare the project pane in SuperOffice to the traditional binder. Each project is displayed like an index card with some general information about the current project, and all your important documents are visible for easy access and quick retrieval underneath, no matter which company or person they actually reside on.
Until now the latter has been sufficient, but the need to support project management / workflow, in general, has definitely become more critical.
How can SuperOffice solve the need for project workflow?
Through project guides you, as a project manager, can build your own process depending on the different types of projects your company delivers.
This includes the possibility to:
- Assign different task to project members
- Define milestones in a project
- Activities and documents used in each project
- Duration of a project
For instance, delivering a new CRM system will require different tasks, people and milestones then an upgrade project.
Just like a sales guy, a project manager can have many ongoing processes at the same time and must be able to get a quick overview of where he left off in certain projects.
The Project guide should be considered a guide and nothing more. It is not mandatory and the project manager can skip and move to the next stage as he or she pleases.
We will never force the user through every step in order to finish the project. Merely look at it as a set of “best practices” structured into a CRM system making it very easy for the project manager to know what to produce and who’s to involve in the different task in each project.
This gives the him the edge and control needed to manage and deliver projects within the specified time-frame and scope agreed on.
To sum this up, SuperOffice can provide you with the correct tool for the job. What you do with it is entirely up to you.