Social Collaboration

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Team members, project managers, resource managers, executives


Collaboration is a key element of successful project management. Project Insight puts the fun back into the mix with social collaboration. Team members can add comments to tasks, projects, approvals, issues and other items in the software. Then team members can decide which conversations they would like to add to their collaboration stream. The result is a real-time social stream that appears on the dashboard and provides detailed activity history.


  • Understand the power of adding comments
  • Know how to receive alerts on the projects and items you care about



Essential to project teams is the ability to communicate and collaborate on tasks and projects they perform. You collaborate with your customers and stakeholders about the goals and deliverables of your projects. You collaborate with department managers to secure resources and get task estimates.

You collaborate with your team members to let them know what they are expected to be working on and when. And you need feedback from the project team about the status and progress of that work. Finally, you collaborate with executives to give them updates and address problems. The list of collaboration activities you must perform goes on.

Now you never want to eliminate face-to-face communications and discussions, but the Social Collaboration functionality in Project Insight can reduce email, telephone conversation and shorten meetings.

Instead of sending emails to multiple people, where the information gets lost and is not visible to everyone, you can replace that with the social collaboration function to centralize your data, provide a record and provide visibility to all your stakeholders all with minimal effort.

Social Collaboration notifications and comments can be viewed in a variety of ways. For example, on this dashboard, there is a notification stream listing all the activities and comments that are important to you.

There is also a project portfolio report showing all your projects along with their status and the last comments that were made on that project.

So at a glance, you can see your latest activities and status without picking up the phone or writing an email.

Comments in Social Collaboration

Comments are a significant part of social collaboration. You want to see comments about information that is important to you.

One of the most common places to enter comments is on projects, as you can see in this project portfolio report showing on the dashboard.

Another common place to enter comments is on tasks, which you will see how to do in a moment.

This training session focuses on entering comments on tasks and projects, but Project Insight is very flexible and you can enter comments on almost any item including To-Dos, Issues, Workflow and even Custom Items.

Once you see how to create comments for projects and tasks, then the same type of comment interface is used for all the other item types. You will be able to easily create them on those other types as well.

Adding User Photos

You can see on the Notification stream on this dashboard, that there is a photo of each team member or user.

Using photos encourages collaboration and adoption of the software too.

It is a best practice to have a photo uploaded for each of your users.

When you create a user in Project Insight, you can either upload a photo for them or you can enable them to edit their own profile and set their own photos. Doing this is covered in detail in the Secure Your Data with Permissions training session but you’ll see briefly how it is set up here.

If you have enabled them to edit their own profiles, then you can hover on your name in the top menu bar and click Edit Photo.

Three different sizes of the same photo are displayed because they are used in different places. The smallest version is the one you will see most often.

It is always good to have a personal photo, such as displayed here, but you can also choose from a photo library.

Click on Choose from Library.

There are three categories to choose from, Animals, Landscape and Sports.

Just click on one of the photos to choose it.

Then click Save.

If you want to save it, just click save, if not, cancel .

Adding Comments on Tasks or Projects

There are several ways to add comments to tasks, depending on what you’re doing. As a Team Member, you can quickly add a comment right from your Home Screen.

Hover on My Insight and click Home Screen.

From here you click on your Tasks, to get a list of your task assignments.

If you want to enter a comment about a task, click on the Status text for a Task.

Click on the Comment section to expand it out.

Enter your Comment, such as, Starting this morning.

Click Save.

That’s it. That’s how simple it is for you as a team member to collaborate. Adding comments lets your project managers, other resources and the stakeholders know what’s going on, all without leaving your desk or sending an email or being interrupted by a person or a phone call.

View Task Comments

One way to view those comments and add more comments at the same time is by clicking on the task name.

The Task Detail form appears.

You can see that comment, who entered it, including the photo and when it was entered.

To add a comment on a task, while you’re on this form, click the Add icon.

Enter the Comment, such as Requirements Reviewed.

Click Save.

Every comment gets date and time stamped.

System Generated Comments

There are two types of comments that get created, comments that the resources or project managers enter and system generated comments.

You’ve seen how to enter ‘people’ comments.

System generated comments get created automatically when certain information about the item gets changed.

It’s easy to distinguish between a system generated comment versus a comment made by a person. The system comments appear inside of square brackets.

By default, both types of comments show and you can see that because the All text is grayed out because it is the selected option.

View ‘People’ Comments Only

If you only want to see comments entered by the resources or project managers, click on the People link.

View System Comments Only

If you only want to see System comments, click on that text link.

You can see by the comment entered here that some information was changed.

You’ll see a note about what changed, when and by whom.

View All Comments

If you click on the All text, then you see all comments, both system and people generated.

Generate System Comments

System comments are generated for the most common elements in Project Insight, but not every single action. That would take up way too much space in the interface. Your system administrator has to turn on options in the administration section to generate those comments.

To see what kind of system comments are generated, click on the left navigation to expand it out.

Click on the Administration section to expand it.

Click on System Configuration.

Click on Comment Settings.

Editing and Deleting Comments

The first section designates whether or not you can edit or delete your comments that you enter for the various items.

Some organizations do not ever want comments to be edited because they need a true audit of what occurred. So you can check these options on or off as you require for your organization.

Configuring System Generated Comments

Below that, is a list of items that can have system comments generated.

You can generate system comments for projects, tasks, issues, to-dos and any custom forms that you create.

For the native Project Insight items, the fields which are monitored and can have system comments generated are listed.

For example, for Projects, the Type, Status, Company Default and Company Contract Default data elements are monitored.

For Tasks, you can see the Duration, Work, Task Owner and the other data fields that are monitored.

Just check on an item to turn on system generated comments for the data elements listed.

You can also set what project states that you want comments generated for.

This all covered in more detail in the Determine Your Best Configuration Options training session.

Setting Alerts and Notifications

Another aspect of the notification stream includes the system generated comments which provide you with a record of important changes and events that occur. To make social collaboration truly effective and powerful, you want to be proactive by setting alerts on important activities.

For example, click the Back icon to return to the Task Detail form.

You have your team entering comments and you could manually go to the project or tasks each day and view it to see if any new comments had been entered, but a powerful feature of Project Insight is that it can proactively notify you when a comment has been entered.

This feature is called Auto-Alerts. You can be notified automatically whenever anyone adds a comment to a project, task, issue or any other item that is important to you.

But this feature doesn’t just apply to comments that are created, it also refers to other important activities and events as well.

System Auto-Alerts Description

System administrators may set up global or system level alerts and notifications. They may create alerts on events that are always important to teams.

In the Notifications section of the Administration, click on System Wide Auto-Alerts.

Collapse the left navigation.

Project Insight comes pre-populated with the most common auto-alerts that our customers use.

Make sure you have the option Show all auto-alerts for this item checked, otherwise you will see only alerts specific to you.

For example, if a resource gets assigned to a task on an active project, they receive a notification about that.

Another alert that is set up by default is when a comment gets created on a Task, To-Do, Issue or any Custom Item.

Deleting a System Wide Auto-Alert

If you wish, you can remove these notifications if you need by clicking the Delete icon next to a Notification.

Sometimes you may find that you do not need certain Auto-Alerts, and that’s fine, you can remove them and even add them back in later if you change your mind.

Adding a System-Wide Auto-Alert

You can also add additional system wide auto-alerts.

To do that, go to the top of the form.

This gray blank line at the top is where you enter new alerts.

Setting Notifications

First, you set who is going to get the notification.

Click in the drop down for the Entity type.

You can notify individual team members, users who have been assigned certain roles, a group of users, all users that belong to a certain company or you can even specific an alert that gets sent to a specific email address, which is handy if you want to notify a group outside of Project Insight.

You may not see all of these options.

Expand the left navigation.

Click on Settings in the Notifications section of the Administration.

The first three options in the Email Notification (Auto-Alert) Options section control whether or not the company, group and email address options appear in the drop down list.

If they are not checked, then they will not appear as a Notification option.

Click on System Wide Auto-Alerts again.

Collapse the left navigation.

In the Entity Type, leave User selected.

In the Notify, click in the drop down, you can see that there is a list of individual users listed.

Click on one to select it.

Click in the drop down for Entity Type, and change it to Role.

Now click in the drop down for Notify, you will see the list changed according to that was selected in the Entity Type.

Now it lists the different roles that are available. So who ever is assigned that role on that item, will get a notification. That makes it a little more flexible and dynamic than hard coding a specific user in.

Click in the drop down for Entity Type, and change it to Group.

Click in the drop down for Notify, you will see the groups that can be notified. This is a common way to do notifications as well.

In this case, your system administrator has set up a separate group for project managers. You may belong to a group of project managers, but not necessarily be a project manager on every project.

Select that Project Managers Group.

Triggering Notifications

Now, you need to set the event or activity that will trigger the Notification.

Click in the drop down for After Event.

You will see a list of all the Events that can create an auto-alert.

This list is very robust. Some common alerts that customers are: an alert when the start or end dates get changed, or when items get marked as being complete, or when an item is overdue.

Another common one is Item Created, so click on that.

This will create a notification to anyone in the project managers group when any item ever gets created in Project Insight.

Now that is pretty broad. Most likely, you will narrow it down, such as notify the project manager group only when a project gets created.

Click in the Filter by Item/Object.

You can see that you can set auto-alerts by different types of items.

Select Project.

You could also filter by Project State, click in that drop down.

For example, you may only want to get an alert when an active project is created. You may not care so much about planning projects or templates.

Click on Active.

You could also filter by who it is assigned to.

Click on that.

You’ll see that some of these other filtering criteria are not applicable to all items or objects. For example, project status is not applicable to any item except a project.

Just ignore the filters if that’s the case.

Receiving Alerts Online or Email

One important concept is to instruct Project Insight on how to deliver the notification.

Click in the drop down for Delivery.

You can receive notifications via email, just online through the notification stream or both.

This setting will depend on your business process. It’s your choice. If you’re finding you’re getting too many emails from Project Insight, so many, that you’re ignoring them, then maybe just set it to online notifications.

Click the Save icon.

Alerts about Events

If you were part of the project managers’ group and you added a project, you would not get an alert about that.

You will not ever get an alert about an activity that you initiated or caused even if that is what this rule is set to, as the software assumes you are aware of that item. You will only receive the alert if someone else created the project.

Individual Auto-Alerts

In a lot of cases, system wide auto-alerts are sufficient. You will not ever need anything else. However, Project Insight is very flexible, and individual users can set up auto-alerts on the activities and items that are important to them.

Expand the left navigation.

Click on Folders to expand that section out.

Click on the Projects folder.

Click on the Software Development project.

Hover on Views and select Documents.

Collapse the left navigation.

Say you are working on this project and you want to be notified anytime a project team member uploads a new document to this projects document folder.

Hover on the Tools menu and select Auto-Alerts.

The Entity Type and Notify are set automatically to you, if you are not a system administrator and you will not be able to change that.

Because you are logged in as a system administrator right now, you still have those additional options in the drop down, but a regular team member will only be able to set auto-alerts for themselves.

Project managers on a project can set alerts for other users, roles, companies or email addresses.

Leave ‘After Event’ set as Item Created.

Click in the drop down for Filter By Item/Object and select File.

Click Save.

Now you have created your own individual notification.

To see all your notifications, hover on My Insight and click Auto-Alerts.

On this form, you can see all the individual auto-alerts you have set up and you can manage them.

However, this won’t list the system-wide auto-alerts that were setup.

Click the Edit icon to change or view an auto-alert.

Social Notification Stream Online

On this individualized auto-alert, you left the default delivery type as both email and online.

To see your online notification stream, click on My Insight to go to your dashboard.

There is a component that you can put on your dashboard called Notifications.

This will list all of your notifications, both the system-wide and ones you set up.

You can click on the item to see the details about that and also any system or individuals comments that were entered.

For example, click on a task that is listed to go to the Task Details form.

View Item History

Comments track information manually entered or initiated by a user. For example, there are the comments entered by people and there are also system comments, which are generated if someone manually changes the details about an item.

However, you will notice that there is a History tab as well.

Click on the History tab.

The History tab is a list of anything that generated an auto-alert.

That could be a list of the comments that were entered if there was an auto-alert created for that action, but it is also a list of any other kind of auto-alert generated.

So you do not lose those auto-alerts on an item, they are recorded on the History tab and you can click on it to see the history.

Receiving Daily Email Report

Another handy way to view your social notification stream is with a daily report of your notifications.

To turn that on, hover on your name and select Edit Preferences.

Click on the option to Email Notifications.

Set the time of day you want the email sent by clicking on the drop down for Nightly Email Hour.

Click Save.

Now you will receive an email with all your notifications that you received that day.

RSS Feed

You can also view a list of these notifications in an RSS feed so you could put it on things like a portal page, a SharePoint page, or even an Outlook RSS feed.

Click on My Insight.

Your system administrator has to turn that on, for that to be available and that is covered in detail in the training session called Determine Your Best Configuration Options .

If it has been turned on, you can click the RSS icon on the Notifications component on your Dashboard.

Then you can copy and paste the URL, generate a new URL or disable the existing URL.

Click X to close the RSS Feed icon.

Leveraging Your Email Client for Notifications

Adding Comments and having auto-alerts is one way to proactively notify your team about what is going on. However, in some cases, you want to send a notification manually and you can do this by sending an email about the item right from within Project Insight.

Click on an item that you received a notification about in your notifications list to go to the detail about that item.

Hover on the Tools menu and click Email Page.

Depending on how you set your preferences, you will see either the Project Insight Compose Email form that is showing here, or you email client will open.

You can use the Project Insight email form to send an email. If you do that, it happens internally using the Project Insight email system. It does not track or go through your email client.

However, if you do want to use your email client, you can click on the Send from Email Client text or alternatively, you can make your email client the default.

Hover on your name and select Edit Preferences.

Click on the option to Use Email Client.

Click Save.

Then when you click Email Page, it will start your email client instead and create an actual email that is tracked and managed within your email system.

Regardless of which email you use, it will contain a link to the item that you invoked the functionality from.

Close that email.

Project Comments for Project Status Log

At the beginning of this session, you saw a Portfolio report with project comments on your dashboard.

Click on My Insight to go to your dashboard.

You can have just general project comments. However, another very powerful feature of Project Insight is the ability to categorize comments.

To see where you set up project comment types, expand the left navigation.

Click on System Configuration to expand out that section.

Click on Comment Types.

You can categorize and define the type of comments you put in. Some common examples are categorizing comments by the stage of the life cycle the project is in, or by person, or by comment status type.

Enter that, click in the gray blank line and type Status in the name. Click Save.

Click in the next gray blank line and type in General. Click Save.

You have two project comment status types: one for comments to do with the project status and then everything else.

You can see on here, you can also add Task Status Comments, File Comments and Approval Comments.

Those work generally the same way as the project status comments, let’s look at that.

To add a project comment, click on Projects.

Click on the Software Development project.

Hover on Views and click on Status.

Collapse the left navigation.

Click the Add Comment icon.

You now have the ability to categorize the comment by clicking on the Type drop down.

Click on Status.

Enter a Status comment, such as Project is behind schedule.

Click Save.

Add another comment. Click the Add Comment icon.

Click on the Type drop down.

Click on General.

Enter a general comment, such as review requirements.

Click Save.

Only project managers are able to enter project comments.

View Global Comment Reports

To see how that is used, click on the Reports icon.

Click on Comments.

Click on Create Comment Report.

You can first of all, enter in a date range. For example, click on the Date Range Type drop down and select Dynamic Dates.

Then in the Date Range, select Current Month.

By default, you will include only User Comments, not the System Generated Comments.

Click Run Report.

You can see all the comments created this month, who they were created by and what item the comments belonged to.

To add some additional detail to the report, click the Display Options icon.

Click on System Comments, because you want to see those too.

Click Run Report.

Now you see system comments too and those are indicated by the square brackets.

This report is showing one line for all comments.

For the Software Development project, you are see both the status comment and general comment entered.

What you only wanted to see were status comments, because that is very important as it indicates why the status of your project may have changed.

Click the Display Options icon.

Restrict your report this time to just projects, click in the Items Types drop down and select Projects.

Click anywhere on the white space to exit out of the drop down.

Click on the Comment Type Filtering Options section to expand that out.

Click in the Project Status drop down.

Click Status.

Click anywhere on the white space to exit out of the drop down.

Click Run Report.

Now, this report shows only those projects where the status changed this month.

That is a powerful report for you executives.

You could save that and put it on their dashboards for easy access.

Last Comment to Portfolio Reports

Another way to view project status comments is from the project portfolio report.

Click on Reports.

Click on Project Reports.

Click on Create Project Report.

Click on the Project Status & Condition Filtering Options to expand that section out.

Click in the drop down for the Select the last Project Comment Status with the following Project Comment Status Type and choose Status.

This will only display those comments that were categorized as status type comments.

Click Column Selection Options to expand that.

Scroll down to the columns that start with the letter S in the Available Columns.

Double click on the three fields that start with Status Comment (Last), which is the actual Comment, the author of the comment and the type of comment.

Click Run Report.

Now, right on your portfolio report you can see the last comment having to do with the project status changing.

Message Board with Discussion Threads

Another kind of social collaboration tool you can use is discussion threads. Only project managers can add project comments, but you can setup up discussion threads to allow anyone to comment and collaborate.

Expand the left navigation.

Click on Projects.

Click on the Software Development project.

Hover on Views and select Documents.

The Documents folder is one place you could discussion threads, but they can be added to other folders and items as well.

Hover on the Add icon and click Discussion.

Enter in the subject, such as Test Cycle.

Enter in comments such as Do we want to do a full test cycle?

Click Save.

Now click on the Discussion name to view it. Then you can reply or add your own comments to it.

Click the Reply icon and type in a reply, such as Yes.

You can also view all the discussion threads for a project by hovering on the Views menu and clicking Discussions.

When and Why to Use To-Dos

The last topic that you are going to see today, are the use of to-dos. To-dos are an important part of social collaboration as they empower team members to ask for help from other team members. You do not have to be a project manager to create a to-do. To-dos are also a great way to keep track of those smaller activities and action items that you would not necessarily include in project plan. You can enter comments and collaborate on to-dos as well.

Click the Add To-Do icon.

Basically, you can add a to-do to any item in the system, including a project, task, issue, document and so on.

You can even create a folder for To-Dos and just add work that many not be related to your projects. Enter the name or short description of the To-Do.

Type in Talk to client about scope.

You may assign a To-Do to a resource by clicking in the Assigned To drop down and selecting someone. For now choose yourself.

The Project Affiliation is filled in automatically because you initiated the to-do from the project.

You can also associate it with a task by clicking in the task drop down and selecting a task.

Then you can enter some additional details such as Start Date, End Date, Duration, Work Hours, Percent Complete and so on.

You may enter more details in the description.

Click Save.

Now, the To-Do is displayed.

The person you assigned the To-Do to will receive a notification about that as long as that system wide default notification is setup.

You can put a list of To-Dos on your dashboard.

Click on My Insight.

Hover on the Display Options icon and hover on To-Dos.

The To-Do List is the To-Dos assigned to you.

Click on that.

You will now see a list of the to-do items assigned to you.

Hover on the Display Options icon and hover on To-Dos.

The To-Dos Managing is a list of To-Dos you created and you can put that on your dashboard so that you have a way of easily managing those.

Click on that.

You can also run reports of To Dos.

Click on Reports.

Click on To-Do.

Click on Create To-Do Report.

Enter in your To-Do criteria.

Click Run Report.

That concludes today’s session on collaboration.

Online 9/10/2015
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