Project Insight Version 11 Feature Updates

We are proud to announce Version 11 to our customers and partners. As with all of our major upgrades, you will find major functional additions like new item types - project requests and workflows. However, in keeping with our commitment to be the most flexible, usable and customizable software in the mid-market, you will discover many improvements in these areas as well. We invite you to read about the features here or to explore how your team might be able to use the new functions by using a preview site.

Create a project from a project request
Until now, teams tracked project requests in Project Insight by creating a custom item to track those values. The challenge with this approach is that the data from this new form did not automatically roll over into a project form.

In version 11, we have created a new item type specifically designed for project requests. You can create a project request by navigating any folder you’d like it to reside in. Then use the context sensitive right click menu and ‘add’ a ‘project request.’



To help your team standardize a process for project requests, these requests may also be assigned to a team member, so they appear on the My Work section.



Requests may be routed for approval easily by clicking ‘create approval request’ which opens the approval request add form.



Once approved, all fields from a request will transfer over to the project add/edit form. This eliminates double entry and reduces any chance of error.


Create a task from an issue
Sometimes an issue represents more than a trivial amount of work and requires that a task is created on a project. Now you can pass information directly from an issue to a task. If your issue is not already associated with a project, link it to a project. Edit the issue form and use project affiliation to link your issue to a project. Then click on the link ‘create task’ that appears under Task Affiliation. 




The task name auto populates with the name and number of the issue. The issue owner becomes the task owner. You may fill in any additional information such as duration, work, resource type/role, and any other relevant information. You may want to associate the task with a summary task and add a predecessor. The original issue remains attached to the task as a related item.




Workflows
The new workflow item type offers a new level of flexibility and customizability of the software, while mapping to your business processes. Essentially, adding a workflow allows project teams to take any process document that might be tracked in Word or Excel, and transform it into a dynamic form within Project Insight. Workflows may be leveraged in a myriad of ways:

-Capture requirements of a project
-Create a project charter
-Present your business case
-Track items on a checklist
-Gain user acceptance authorization
-Provide a quality assurance checklist
-Invite customers to assess the success of a project

Examples are a ‘business case’ or ‘requirements gathering document’ that might involve multiple steps and checkpoints. Administrators may set up workflows that allow you to capture all the necessary data, route portions of the form for approval and use ‘visibility rules’ to drive the fields that appear in the form. For example, if you have a checkbox that asks ‘if a project is over $50,000,’ then a pre-defined set of fields appears based on that selection. 



Like on custom items, you may add the same types of data fields. Approval points can be embedded to the workflow process. Approvals may be required or not, sequential and approvers may be defined in advance on the form. 



Workflow forms may be optionally set to be ‘completed, ’ ‘locked on completion,’ ‘editable when previously approved or completed,’ and even pre-populated. Forms may be created that have up to four tiers or parent-child relationships for more complex processes. 

The final form may be exported to PDF, even a PDF template, if desired.


There are layout, auto-numbering and font options available as well. If you want to create emphasis on an area, you may. Auto-numbering may be global, or just for that item type, or even specific to a folder. As always, you may use a prefix to your auto-numbering.

Workflows, like other custom items and fields, are created by systems administrators. Workflows are found as a new tab under the ‘User Defined Fields & Forms’ in the Global Settings. 



For more information, watch a five minute video on the new workflow feature here

 
Usability

In keeping with our goal to be the most usable project solution in the mid-market, we have added several new ease of use functions to both minimize the number of clicks when you navigate as well as to allow you to personalize your experience.

Task status update without percentage complete
Not everybody is great at estimating exactly how far along a task is in terms of percentage complete. If you would like to have your team members update tasks by ‘work status’ instead of percentage, you may. As with any pull down or multi-select list, your systems administrator may set up the terminology that fits your organization. 



Now the team member selects the work status, for example, started, in-progress, almost done, done. The terminology is set up with default percentages in the administration section so you can continue to benefit from advanced calculations like earned value. 

If your team would like to deploy this method of updating tasks, then the system administrator must check the box for ‘enable work percent complete types’ in administration, system configuration, project tab. 



The second step is to create your own ‘work percent complete types.’ These are set up in administration, global settings, ‘percent complete types.’



You may input your own terminology and use your own percentages where appropriate. It’s a best practice to keep it simple! 

Update a task completely from the dashboard
Customer feedback drove this usability feature, and what a great idea it is! Now team members may update a task in its entirety without navigating to another page. Simply click on the status for a task, and a layer will pop up. From this layer, you can update percentage complete or task status, make a comment and enter time. 



New items added to dashboards
You may notice a couple new items that can be added to your personalized dashboard. These include new boxes for project requests (new item type) and workflows. If you are assigned to any of those two items, they will also conveniently appear in your ‘My Work’ section in the left navigation.
 
Interface
Not only do we constantly work toward improving and adding features to our project and portfolio management software, but we are also mindful of the appearance and usability. Interface enhancements in version 11 include:

- Subtle and smooth fade-in on layers
- Updated date selector
  o Rounded corners
  o Highlights current date
  o Bigger digits in calendar box
- Shadow when a layer is invoked

Social Media Avatars
Project Insight teams have had the online notification or social stream for a while now, but not everybody loves the idea of using his/her own photo in the software. To help make your team members’ experience more fun and social, we’ve incorporated an extensive library of avatars for users to choose from. Take your pick at what best represents you as an individual. 



You can choose your avatar by navigating to the dashboard icon at the main menu, ‘view profile’ and click ‘edit photo’. From there, you can either click ‘choose from library’ to see the choices, or upload your own image or photo. Click save and you’re all set.

Using images or photos in the social notification stream of Project Insight allows you to see, at a glance, who is updating tasks  and more.

Cleaner dashboard
For those that prefer a cleaner dashboard, with only necessary information, additional display options have been added to your dashboard boxes. You may choose to either show or hide the following:

- Start and end dates
- Assigned by 
- Parent items
- Workflow step



By reducing the number of columns within boxes on the dashboard, you’re left with more white space and a higher focus on pertinent information. These options can be adjusted by click on the small wheel on the upper right corner of each box on the dashboard. 



Customizability

When we say customizable software, we do not mean ‘call IT for help.’ Project Insight enables any savvy business software user (with the right permissions of course) to add custom fields, items, workflows and in general change the way you work with our project solution. 

Enhanced folder customization
In Project Insight, you may determine what item types you would like to have appear in a specific folder. The first change is that instead of checkboxes for selecting the items you want to permit in that area, we have enhanced the selection process by allowing inline editing.  Second, you may order the items so that they appear in your preferred order on the menu or right click menu list. Last, you may limit what items may be linked to other items.

Begin by going to the ‘edit folders navigation,’ then click the edit icon at the top right. You will notice a new tab called ‘items allowed.’ In this tab, you can select which items you’d like the team to be able to add. Then you may decide the order in which they appear in the menu. 

You can adjust the order in which the items allowed appear in the ‘order’ column by numbering each item. Utilize the in line editing capability to reorder the list of items to your preference. Project Insight will automatically adjust the items in the order you prefer. 



In addition to selecting item types you’d like to appear, you can also define what items may be added to other items. 

The ‘limited to’ column allows you to define what items may be added to other items on the list. You may select several items by using the combo box. This prevents team members from adding non-related items to each other. For example, many teams do not want projects below other projects, or additional calendars below a project. 

The permissions and limitations may be optionally set to be inherited by future sub-folders. 



Reports
Customers are always requesting new views and report roll ups. As you know, reporting in Project Insight is just a matter of opening your display options, selecting items from the multi-select lists, adding columns, to the views, and setting group bys and sums, then updating the page. Once you are satisfied with the outcome, you may save and share reports. 

Project allocation report roll ups
Our clients in professional services requested reports that roll up work by client/company and resource type or skill set. That way, they know how many FTEs they will need per client and just how much work is being performed by resource type.



Example of forecasting work by client and skill set

Budget and project allocation reports may also be shown in terms of quarters and years, not just daily, weekly or monthly.



Estimated and proposed earned value columns
For customers in professional services of any sort, that is, client facing projects, now Project Insight lengthens its lead in terms of advanced budgeting by offering estimated and proposed earned value columns in the project and task reports. 

This is especially good for fixed price projects. You put your contract or statement of work value on the deliverables, then Project Insight calculates the earned value on each so you can recognize your revenue properly. 



Administrators set the history by going to ‘administration,’ system configuration settings,’ project tab, and then click the checkbox to ‘enable estimated and proposed hours, rate, cost and total values for projects and tasks.’ 



This setting will allow you to start accumulating historical values in your reports. Where most software only presents real-time values, Project Insight offers both real-time and an historical perspective.  














Online 11/4/2013
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