Workzone Best Practices
While each organization should adapt its use of Workzone to meet its own goals, here are some tried and true techniques that have helped Workzone users be successful over the years. These tips and advanced features can help your organization increase its efficiency.
Set up users first, then create workspaces and add content
When first setting up your Workzone site, create your main users first in Setup (Add/edit users), so that they’ll be available for assignment to workspaces and projects that are created later. Next create workspaces to organize your work, creating a distinct workplace for each client, department or related area. Then add projects, folders and documents, restricting access to existing users by workspace, project, folder or document, as appropriate. Watch video on Users Setup
Turn off features and details that you’re not using
Particularly early on, it’s very important that you get your team on board with using Workzone regularly as part of your ongoing daily/weekly processes. Make Workzone as user-friendly as possible by (under Setup) turning off features that you’re not using (or are less important) during the initial implementation, until the team gets comfortable and confident using Workzone. Later on, you can layer in additional features to make your processes even more effective. The simplest version of Workzone is the easiest to initially implement. Watch video on Features to Display and Other Setup Features
Turn on email auto-notifications and reports
One of the helpful capabilities of Workzone is its ability to automatically notify team members of items that may be important or require action. Select “Event-based notifications” or “Automated Reports” in Setup (under Auto Notifications for a single workspace or all workspaces) to enable Workzone be an automated virtual assistant, providing alerts to your team. Reports can be sent out that list relevant project and document details, as well comments and even general actions. Decide which reports are sent to different users in the ‘Automated reports’ area of Setup (for all workspaces, under Auto Notifications). The following are particularly useful and should be enabled by most organizations: a) Late tasks; b) Downstream tasks when predecessors are marked complete; c) Daily To-Do List. Watch video on Notifications / Automated Reports
Use Groups to quickly select common lists of individual users
Organize users into user groups to facilitate sending emails or setting permissions for the entire group rather than having to select each individual. You can also filter by group in different reports. User groups are created under Setup for All Workspaces.
Share work with freelancers and vendors using Partners
Need to share files with vendors or get files from a contractor or freelancer? Set them up as a Partner to give them their own folder within Document Manager for them to collaborate with you. Partners only see the contents of their folder, but can use the full range of collaborative tools with Workzone.
Keep project plans simple until habits are formed
To focus on successful adoption, keep project plans as simple as you can initially until your team has integrated Workzone as a regular part of their day-to-day processes. Layer in the details once your team has seen the benefits of everyone working from the same plan. Watch video on Creating Projects
Keep tasks in the desired order as you build out new projects
In Workzone, tasks are sorted by end date, while tasks with the same dates are ordered alphabetically. If you use the Add Task page, lay out method, or Excel import, and you do not specify dates, Workzone will add sequential, placeholder dates to your tasks to space them out and keep them in the initial order. Add dependencies from bottom of the project moving upwards. Afterwards, make sure that your tasks are in date order from top to bottom. Next, modify task durations. Lastly, add work (if desired).
Use the lay out method to quickly outline the tasks for a project
With this project creation method, the focus is on laying out your tasks, giving you the opportunity to add dates and other details later. While you can layout the project right in the Add Project page in Workzone, you can also do so in an external text editor like MS word. Doing so will give you the flexibility to work on the outline over time without worrying about losing your progress in Workzone if you leave it unfinished. Watch video on Creating Projects (layout method highlighted at 2:15)
Use templates for repetitive projects/processes
Save any project as a template that can be reused the next time you have a similar project or process. Workzone can quickly lay out the project schedule from a start date or working backwards from a deadline. Project templates are a significant time saver and reinforce consistent processes across the organization. Watch video on Creating Projects (templates highlighted at 3:30)
Updating tasks needs to be mandatory for the entire team
A project management system is only as good as its data. If people don’t update their tasks when they are completed (or delayed), all tasks will eventually appear late, making it impossible to determine which tasks truly need attention. Updating tasks needs to be a requirement clearly directed from top management. Keep project plans as simple as possible to minimize the time needed to keep data accurate.
Hold people accountable for resolving highlighted issues
Regularly review project statuses and take decisive action when items fall behind. When Workzone indicates an issue with a project (via a yellow or red alert), the person responsible for the tasks needs to be held accountable for resolving the situation (so that the alert goes away).
Clean up old tasks to make alerts meaningful again
If you’ve been a bit lax about keeping up with projects in the past, you may have a number of very old tasks which are getting in the way of focusing on what’s going on now. Use “Edit Multiple” to mark old tasks complete to create a clean slate for current tasks.
Mark projects complete to give greater focus to active projects
Projects can be marked “complete” by an Administrator or Manager whenever all work has been completed and there is no longer a need to see the project in the Task List view. Workzone still retains your completed projects, they are simply hidden from your daily view. Teams that keep completed projects out of sight experience less visual clutter to Workzone.
Hide unnecessarily columns to simplify your interface
Project Tracker provides a number of optional columns to display information such as estimated effort, percent complete and priority. If your Workzone site is displaying more information than you are using, ask an Administrator to turn off unneeded columns….you will be amazed at how limiting your view helps focus on the most important aspects of your work.
Focus on your work with the To-do List
The To-do List, found in Reports, answers the question “What should I be working on now?”. It’s a complete list of all tasks, approvals and calendar events assigned to you. The automatically-emailed To-Do list is interactive and contains links that allow users to mark Workzone items complete quickly. It can also be adjusted to display selective items (such as category, dates, or responsibilities) via the “FILTERS/VIEW OPTIONS” at the top of the To-do List in Workzone.
Show your To-do List in an external calendar application
Show your Workzone To-do List on an external calendar (Outlook, Google, etc.) by setting up a calendar subscription to Workzone from your external calendar. This allows you to see your personal calendar and Workzone’s assignments in a merged calendar view. Click the “More” link at the top right of the Calendar and chose “Subscribe to calendar” to follow the directions.
Use drag and drop to quickly upload files
Drag and drop is the fastest way to upload files into Workzone. Files can be dragged right from your computer to any folder in the Document Manager. You can also drag and drop files onto the Attachments page in Project Tracker, Project Requests, Messages, and Calendar. Most modern web browsers support drag and drop.
Access recently used files with the Recent Documents report
The “My recent documents” report under the Dashboards section of Reports shows each user the most recent documents they have accessed in each workspace. This makes it quick to return to these documents without browsing.
Manage files as peers in the Reviewer Uploads folder
Permissions exist in Workzone to prevent lower level users (Reviewers and Partners) from modifying, moving or deleting files in most folders in Document Manager. The Reviewer Uploads folder can be the exception to this rule. All users who can access this folder are treated as peers, and have the equal ability to add, manage, and delete their content. The Reviewer Uploads folder gives your team a central place to collaborate as peers, while the rest of the Document Manager remains in control.
Share files beyond Workzone with Screening Rooms
Screening Rooms are temporary folders that allow you to share files in Workzone with anyone, extending your use of Workzone beyond your current users. Screening Rooms function to allow people outside of the normal working group to share in viewing documents and to provide basic feedback. People granted access to content in a Screening Room only see that one folder in Workzone, the rest of Workzone remains completely hidden from these users.
Manage multiple versions of files
Keep track of multiple versions of files as they are revised. Workzone automatically organizes the files and adds version numbers so that you can see the latest version and compare to earlier iterations, all in one place. You can also ‘check out’ a file to let others know you are in the process of revising it.
Use Image Markup to get online feedback on PDFs and images
Add markup comments directly onto a PDF or image within Workzone, helping save time and improve collaboration in your creative review process. Image markup is a great substitute for making physical notes on a printed document or using third-party, offline markup applications. Note that markup may not be available on certain image/PDF sizes and formats.
Use Favorites to Quickly Access Frequently Used Pages
Save any page in Workzone as a “favorite”, making it much quicker to return to your most important files, projects or other views. For those managing a lot of activity, using Favorites will dramatically speed up your navigation throughout Workzone. To create a favorite, click the star next to the Favorites title when viewing the desired page.
Streamline project setup using Project Requests
Request new projects, automatically send email notifications to designated project managers, and monitor the status of existing requests. This simple workflow process can be used in conjunction with Project Tracker, where project plans can be created to track and complete the requested projects. For those not using Project Tracker, the Project Requests module can be used on its own, with project management handled outside Workzone.
Use Search to quickly find content in Workzone
Workzone’s search function allows you to find content in Workzone by selecting any word or phrase that is contained in documents, comments, project tracker tasks, calendar entries, and messages. Workzone has search built into most modules.
Save reports to PDF for sharing with outsiders
Click the PDF icon at the top right of a report to save the report to a PDF that you can then share with those who may not have access to Workzone. It’s a great way to keep colleagues, clients and business partners in the loop.