Creating (and Managing) Tasks

CONVENTIONS

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CREATING (AND MANAGING) TASKS

Every job that enters your agency can be broken down into a series of manageable Tasks. Each Task has a Responsible person and Due date. Together, they form a Workback Schedule. Your Traffic Manager (or System Administrator) carefully monitors a job’s Schedule as it moves along a Critical Path.

It’s often possible to predict the Tasks involved in the production of a specific Type of job (e.g. a brochure). To make doing so easier, CurrentTrack® contains a Workback Schedule Template interface. Through this Permission-based interface, you can create an unlimited number of Templates that can be incorporated when jobs are opened. It’s as easy as choosing a Template from a drop-down menu and confirming its specifics (i.e. Due dates and Responsible Employees).

To learn more about Workback Schedule Templates, click here.

 

ASSIGNING TASKS

Because you’ll periodically be required to open jobs that only contain one or two Tasks, it’s not mandatory to incorporate a Workback Template. If no Template is applied, CurrentTrack will simply create a blank Schedule you can then populate.

To assign Tasks to a job, go to Clients & Jobs — Client — Job One Sheet — I Want To: Manage Workback Schedule. You can also click  at the top of the screen.

TIP: When navigating via the  menu, the Job field on the initial Create screen is content-sensitive. Enter as many job Title keywords as possible to narrow down the list more quickly and eliminate unnecessary scrolling.

How detailed your Task assignment gets is up to you. You could, for example, create a separate Task for each Client Spec Sheet’s completion. Or, you could create a single Task (e.g. Enter Client Data) and list all Account Managers as Responsible for filling out their respective Clients’ Spec Sheets. In the beginning, we recommend being detailed and specific. In the future, set your own level of specificity, somewhere between the absurd (Task 1: Pick up phone; Task 2: Dial phone number) and the useless (Task 1: Complete annual workload). Much of the work agencies do on a daily basis needs to be done sequentially or along a Critical Path. You can’t, for example, proofread before the copy is written or deliver materials before the Client has given final approval.

If you’ve applied a Template to your job, much of the data entry will have been done for you. You may want to tie Comments to the Tasks as well as a due Time, Priority level and number of Allotted hours. Simply click the arrow beside More Options, beneath each Task,  and then check the box beside Comments.

Priorities, Allotted Time figures and the Target Job Complete date flow through CurrentTrack (e.g. Assigned Task List, Master Task List, Working Tasks List, et. al). A High Priority will be indicated by a small red box immediately to the left of the Due date while a Normal Priority will be green. Low Priority Tasks will be accompanied by a yellow box; click Submit.

DELETING A TASK

If you notice you’ve entered a duplicate Task after you’ve clicked Submit, or no longer need a Task that’s been included, simply edit the Workback Schedule and delete it.

To delete a Task(s), go to Clients & Jobs — Client — Job One Sheet — I Want To: Manage Workback Schedule.

Check the box beside the Task(s) and choose Delete Marked Tasks, in Application Options, at the bottom of the page. A pop-up box asking, “Are you certain that you want to delete the marked Tasks?” will appear; click OK.

 

MOVING A TASK

To move one or more Tasks to another job, simply go to Clients & Jobs — Client — Job One Sheet — I Want To: Manage Workback Schedule.

Check the box beside the Task(s) you want to move and choose Move Marked Tasks to Job, in Application Options, at the bottom of the page. Next, indicate which job the Task(s) should be moved to; click Submit.

 

COPYING A TASK

To copy one or more Tasks to another job, go to Clients & Jobs — Client — Job One Sheet — I Want To: Manage Workback Schedule.

Check the box beside the Task(s) you want to copy and choose Copy Marked Tasks to Job, in Application Options, at the bottom of the page. Next, indicate which job the Task(s) should be copied to; click Submit. Both jobs will now contain the Task(s) indicated.

MARKING A TASK COMPLETE (EMPLOYEE)

Tasks can be marked Complete in two different ways within CurrentTrack — via the Dashboard and the Assigned Task List.

To mark a Task Complete, via your Dashboard, you must first add the Task List Tracklet. 

To add a Tracklet, click Edit Tracklets, in the top, right corner of the screen. You’ll see two columns  Current Tracklets and Available Tracklets. Drag the items you’d like to add from the right- to the left-hand column. Organize the Current Tracklets in the order you’d like them to appear on your Dashboard by simply dragging the box(es) up or down; click Submit.

From the Dashboard Task List Tracklet, check the box to the right of the completed Task(s). A comment area will appear; enter a comment and click Submit.

To view your Assigned Task List, via Status Reports, simply click the link on the left of the screen.

To mark a Task compete, check its corresponding box, located to the left of its Due date. You’ll immediately be prompted to add Comments (e.g. “I gave the copy to Peggy” or “The layout is being routed now.”) Once you’ve clicked OK, the Task will appear with a strikethrough.

A Completed Task doesn’t directly affect the job’s Workback Schedule for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the Employee responsible for managing Tasks must first check to see that the work is truly Complete. Perhaps you’ve forgotten to include a type change on the layout or there’s additional information you must provide.

Once you’ve marked a Task Complete, it’ll remain on your Assigned Task List until the System Administrator (and/or those with Permission to Manage Tasks) either modifies its Workback Schedule or deems it incomplete. If a Task is incomplete, it’ll appear, without its previous strikethrough, on your Assigned Task List, along with any Comments from your administrator.

MARKING A TASK COMPLETE (SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR)

As Employees complete Tasks, they need to notify you either verbally or via their respective Assigned Task Lists, by checking them off and entering a comment (e.g. “Done”). Once you learn a Task has been completed, change its Status by going to Clients & Jobs — Client — Job One Sheet — I Want To: Manage Workback Schedule.

Change the Task’s Status from Working to Complete, by clicking the arrow beneath the Task and then checking the box beside Mark Complete. The Task’s Status will automatically change from Working to Complete and a date and time stamp will be reflected. This will remove the Task from the Employee’s Assigned Task List, once the Schedule is submitted. Change the Status of the next dependent Task in the Schedule to Working, notifying the Art Director, for example, that copy now exists; click Submit.

TIP: Praise Employees often for using CurrentTrack. Send out an agency-wide e-mail (“Hey, great job Mike! Thanks for putting your notes in the system.”) or, if you’re the Traffic Manager, give away a small “traffic prize” like a bag of candy. Your praise will make Employees feel good and, hopefully, lead to even more information being entered into the system!

There must be at least one Working Task in every Active job, unless you’re closing it completely, or CurrentTrack will warn you. In addition, every job in CurrentTrack must have at least one Completed Task in order to appear in the All Complete Jobs list.

When a Task is marked Complete by an Employee, via his/her Assigned Task List, notification is automatically sent to the Completed Tasks queue of those with Permission to Manage Tasks (e.g. System Administrator). Click the Completed Tasks link to view a list of all Tasks, and the dates and times they were marked complete.

To update the Status of a listed Task, click on its name. Clicking a Client link will lead you to the Client’s Active Jobs folder while the Job Title will open the Job One Sheet. A Job Number link will enable you to view its Financial Report. If additional information has been tied to the Task, a small Comments bubble will appear to its far right. 

If a Task that appears in the Completed Tasks queue isn’t actually Complete, uncheck the box to the left of its Due date. You’ll then be prompted to add a Comment regarding the Task. Once you click OK, the Task will no longer appear with a strikethrough on the Employee’s Assigned Task list; again, making it an “active” Task. Your Comments will appear beneath the Task on the List itself and in the Task’s Comments box, along with any previously recorded details (if applicable).

VIEWING TASKS

To view Tasks associated with a Job, go to Clients & Jobs — Client — Job One Sheet — Workback Schedule.

The top five most recently completed (and upcoming) Tasks will appear in the Workback Schedule section. To view the entire Schedule, click the arrow in the top right corner of the box. Priority indicators will appear to the far left of listed Tasks. Red signifies a priority of High while green indicates the Task is of Medium priority. Lastly, yellow signifies a Low priority.

If a Task is Overdue, its Due date will appear in red. Allotted hours (if applicable) appear immediately to the right of the Task column. If additional information has been tied to a Task, a small Comments bubble will appear to its far right. To view a Printer Friendly version of the Schedule, click the Printer icon located in the top right corner of the Schedule.

POSTING TASKS FOR CLIENT VIEW

If you’d like a Task(s) to be viewable to a Client, via the Client Interface, expand the desired line item(s) by clicking More Options. Check each Client View box. At the bottom of the page, indicate the specific Client Viewable User(s). If e-mail addresses have been associated with selected User(s), they’ll appear in the Notify Client by E-mail field.

If you’d like the job’s entire Workback Schedule to be viewable to the Client, without selecting each individual Task box, simply check the Viewable [Client] box, at the bottom of the screen. This will select all Tasks, by default. To alert internal Employees via their respective Message boxes, simply add their names to the cc (or re(cc)) field.

External contacts will receive an e-mail that reads:

“A Workback Schedule has been posted for your review by [EMPLOYEE]. Simply click the link below to access it.”

Clients will be directed to the Client Interface where they can sign in using your Agency and the User name and Password you’ve assigned within their Client Spec Sheet.

 

SCENARIO

What’s the best way to manage a “hot” job in CurrentTrack? 

Let’s say, for example, the job has a one-day turnaround (e.g. revision of an existing ad). First, open a Job Number and then File the original Client Contact Report (being sure to cc: the appropriate people). Next, manage the job’s Workback Schedule (Clients & Jobs — Client — Job One Sheet — I Want To: Manage Workback Schedule), cutting and pasting details from the Report into the various Comments boxes.

Once the Schedule is in order, go to the Creative Director and let him/her know a “hot” job has arrived in-house and which Art Director you’ve assigned it to. If s(he) is OK with your assignment, go to the Art Director and review with him/her what needs to be done and which other working jobs can be pushed back. Having done that, inform the Account Manager the job is “in the works” and if it’ll, in fact, be done on time. Continue to check with the Art Director every few hours to see if any additional information is needed, what his/her progress has been, etc.

Most importantly, keep everyone in the loop regarding where the job is throughout the course of the day until it’s done. Along the way, be sure to update its Workback Schedule in CurrentTrack.

SCENARIO

Some of our jobs don’t yet have Due dates. How should they be entered in CurrentTrack?

Enter a Task, with an arbitrary Due date, in the job’s Workback Schedule. For example:

Due: 2017-06-01
Task: Determine next steps
Status: Working
Responsible: [Account Executive or Traffic Manager]

The job will appear on the All Open Jobs list, a broadly-dated Working Tasks List (i.e. 2017-01-01 to 2017-06-30) and, within 30 days of its being due, on the Responsible Employee’s Assigned Task List. The “Determine next steps” Task simply serves as a prompt to all involved.

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