How to Create a Project Plan Checklist

You’ve done it! You’ve been made a project manager! Ah yes, but now anxiety is creeping in.

Where do you start? How do you get organised? In our experience, whatever business you’re in, establishing a project plan is essential for running your projects. This document helps you organise how the project unfolds by addressing several major questions. Here are some tips for writing an effective project plan. The key to success? Answer four key questions.

1 – Why? – What are the goals this project should address?

These elements are defined during the project launch. In practical terms, you should organise a kick-off meeting with all participants as soon as possible. This is where you’ll set goals together. Don’t skip this step, as it will help you focus on the project’s reason for being.

2 – What? – What is the project going to achieve?

In other words, what are the expected deliverables: documents, products or services? These elements are also defined during the project launch. Does all this seem obvious to you? Don’t be fooled: it is very important to know how to answer this question right from the start of the project, as it will help you avoid someone saying, “I didn’t know you were expecting that of me!”

3 – Who? – Which people are in charge of what?

And now, who does what. The project plan identifies the people involved, their responsibilities and how the team is organised:

  • Project Manager (PM)
  • Production team members

When you adopt the project plan, you should determine the time and budget management tools to use. We recommend time tracking tools and budget tracking tools which always allow the PM to:

  • Know the progress of various tasks
  • Estimate the time each resource spends on the project
  • Manage the budget
  • Control costs
  • Measure the cost-effectiveness of the project

Everyone knows that you can’t be everywhere at the same time to monitor each detail of the project. Make life easier on yourself by getting these kinds of tools. You’ll save time and be more efficient, guaranteed!

4 – When? – What is the project schedule and its key dates?

Drawing up a schedule is an art in itself. The goal is to set milestones and spread things out over time, depending on the delivery of various items by project team members. Some deliveries will determine how the rest of the project goes, others less so. Identify them in advance.

Tip: Don’t be too optimistic when you’re writing your schedule. Give yourself some wiggle room.

Have you followed our advice and answered the four big questions for organising the project launch? Great! You’ve given yourself every chance to coordinate project management and make sure it’s a success!

New Features Tuesday

We have just released a set of new features requested by many of our customers:

  • New feature in the Timesheet Settings module allowing admins to disable hours recording previous to a certain date for all users
  • Addition of two Daily reminders in the Timesheet Settings module, one checking if hours have been submitted on the day of the reminder, the other one checking if hours have been submitted on the day before the reminder
  • Exclusive Members module can now be used on Sub-projects
  • Exclusive Members can now be set up on sub-projects through the API
  • Specific Tasks module can now be used on Sub-projects

Enjoy!

How to Organise your Office

When you got to work this morning, your messy office brought you down: loose papers, PostIts, coffee cups… It’s enough to make you forget your priorities. Sounds familiar?Here are a few tips (tried and tested by yours truly) to help you organise your office.

Tidy up for clarity

It’s just like your mother used to tell you about that unholy mess in your room.

Job one: ORGANISE. There’s nothing better to help you see clearly!

Take a proactive attitude towards those papers cluttering up your workspace:

  • Is there an e-mail that requires an answer? Do it.
  • A document that needs filing? Don’t wait.
  • A meeting jotted down on a scrap of paper? Enter it in your schedule.

The aim? To keep only what you’re using right now.
This also goes for your computer area. At the end of the day (or at least the end of the
week), organise and clean your desktop. What a great background! Haven’t seen that in a
while, have you?

Keep useful things within reach

Like us, you’re probably in the habit of sprawling a multitude of things on your desk, some
useful and others not so much: handwritten notes from three months ago, a postcard sent by one of your co-workers last summer, a stress ball, a half-eaten chocolate bar… No? Well, have a look around. See, we told you so! Take a few moments to identify the items you need for a working day:

  • Pens and pencils: Collect the ones that still work and put them in a pencil case.
  • Seals and stamps: Only keep the ones) you use most on your desk. The others? In a drawer.
  • Notepad: Choose a bound notepad rather than loose sheets.
  • Dictionary: Find a place for it on a shelf next to you.

Generally, anything you only use ‘once in a while’ can be put away.

Get some storage

Now you’re probably asking, “But where can I put all this stuff?” Equip yourself with the
tools you need to tidy up your office. Ask for the following equipment:

  • Inbox: to hold your documents until you process them.
  • Binders: with inserts to find things faster.
  • Furniture: set of drawers, shelving, filling cabinet.

Get rid of stuff gradually

Ask yourself this question: How long should this piece of paper be kept? Most of the time, you can throw it out. The only exceptions are a few official documents (bills, contracts, etc.). Place a paper bin next to you. For documents containing confidential information, use the shredder.

Centralise and digitise

Your paper diary is overflowing. And what about your phone book? How many old to-do lists are lying around on your desk? Use your computer equipment. Digitise and centralise your information in a tool. Do you use a time-tracking system like we do? If you do, cleaning up your desk will help you fill it in easily. With to-do lists and an up-to-date calendar, you won’t have to worry about your mind going blank, which happens to all of us, when you have to fill in your time sheets.

Now that you’ve cleared your space thanks to our tips, stand back and admire your workstation. Take advantage of the reclaimed space to work smarter and happier.

Assign a Team Leader to a Department or to any Group

Team Module

You can now assign a team leader directly to one of your BeeBole group.

As a reminder, the Groups module is probably one of the nicest feature when it comes to adding reporting axes to your timesheet data and gather results into groups.

One of the commonly use is to regroup employees into departments or countries.

With this new feature in the Team module, you can directly set a team leaders to a department.

This way, you can even completely build your org structure and its managers in BeeBole.

More information here: http://help.beebole.com/home/modules/team

Back to Work after a Vacation

First of all, I wish you the best for 2015.

The vacation came to an end for most of us. But it seemed so short!
Back to work, some of you are maybe worried about the workload waiting for you at the office?
Don’t panic: Here are a few tips I usually apply for easing back into things.

Day one: Under the radar

Because you’ve followed my check-list for getting ready to go on vacation, you’ve set aside some time for yourself on this first day. Good.

Make the most of it by:

  • Talking to your coworkers: Get updated on projects’ progress and find out about everyone’s vacations.
  • Read your e-mail: Newest first. The older ones have probably been dealt with already.
  • Draw up a list of priorities: This will reassure you that you can handle things. At least it does the trick for me.
  • Just get back on track.

A word of advice: Don’t delete your vacation message from your e-mail inbox right away. Give yourself a few hours, or even a day.

Ease back into things

Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. You’re not going to be at peak productivity on the first day back. Ease back into things. Even top athletes don’t start their workouts with a sprint. Avoid breakdowns: pace yourself.

  • Don’t start back with a long day.
  • Don’t plan any important meetings.
  • Don’t promise your clients anything for that day.

You’ll get back into the swing of things gradually.

Review your working habits

Those days off will have given you some perspective and you may have even made some resolutions. So take advantage of your return by developing new working habits. Target: To be more productive and strike a better work-life balance.

Get some rest

Barely back at work and already tired – you might say that’s contradictory? But it isn’t really. It can be tough to get back in step with working life. During your vacation, you probably got to sleep in, take afternoon naps, or just spend time doing nothing. So make sure you continue to get enough sleep.

What about you? How do you prevent the back-to-work blues and manage being back in the office after a long break?

Getting work done before your vacation

The holidays are almost here. Are you wondering how to plan your vacation without stress? Here are a few tips to help you go worry-free.

Plan your vacation in advance

Stress-proofing: planning. Plan your vacation several months ahead. Try to work around the start-up or closing phases of large projects as much as possible. If you must take your vacation during the rush (school holidays), be sure to let your coworkers know well in advance and enter your absences in your company’s time-management system .

Notify your clients

As well as your coworkers, let your clients and other key people know when you’ll be leaving and when you’ll be back. Do it a few days/weeks ahead so you can handle urgent questions or requests. Give them the contact info for a coworker who’s in charge of the project in your absence.

Hand it over to coworkers

Make sure they can answer your clients’ urgent questions. To ensure you have backup in your absence, choose people you trust and delegate tasks so that you’re not leaving it all with one coworker. Give them all useful information: brief them on the project and its progress; give them the customer contact information; tell them where all relevant records and files are.

Free up some time

Allow yourself two days before going on vacation to tie up loose ends: no appointments, no meetings, no new projects. Take this time to list priorities. Ask yourself which tasks can’t wait for your return.

Record a vacation greeting

Set up your e-mail inbox with an automatic response. Include the dates you’ll be away and the contact information of the person who can cover in an emergency.

Do you have a work cell phone? Record a voice greeting with the same information.

Tidy your office

If you put everything where it belongs, you’ll be happier when you come back after your vacation. Throw out any useless papers. Organize your files. Gather up your pens, pencils and highlighters. Got an indoor plant? Water it or give it to someone you trust.

Ease back into things

Set aside a day (or two) to get back into the swing of things when you return. Don’t set up any meetings. You’ll need to gradually get to grips with your workload again: read your e-mails and find out where your projects stand.

Now you’re ready to get the most from your vacation. And don’t forget the last step: switch off. It’s the best way to come back to the office refreshed.

Happy holidays to you all. Best wishes for 2015!

Timesheet Reports in Full Screen

Do you want to easily present all your timesheet reports during the end of the year meetings?

It is now possible directly from BeeBole while keeping the interactivity of the reports.

The “Reports” module which has been recently renamed into “Chart & Table” shows a new icon in the top right corner which, once clicked on, will extend the module to fully cover your screen.

Of course, the interactivity of the reports remains. You can still drill down, filter, … in real time in your timesheet data.

Documentation available at: Chart & Table module

Timesheet Report in Full Screen

In addition to this new feature, we also renamed the “Export” module into “Report”. Due to his name, a lot of our users never considered it as a fully featured reporting option.

As a reminder, the Report module allows you to create fully customized reports in which you define all the columns that will appear in your screen.

Check out the documentation for more: Report module

Daily Timesheet, Timer, Start and End Time

After months of hard work, we are proud to announce that there is a brand new Daily Timesheet waiting for you in BeeBole!

But the good news do not stop here. It comes:

  • with a timer to track your time
  • and with start and end time fields

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 123

The Daily view will bring to those of you who works on 10, 20 activities every day a much simpler and clearer view to manage their time records.

The Timer is a great addition for all those who needs to record their tasks with precision and without having to think about it. People who spend hours per day on the phone with their customers will know what I’m talking about.

Start and End time also make an entrance in our web timesheet app. You can now follow when employees are checking in and out.

We believe the new Daily timesheet offers you a more complete experience to record your time.

We hope you will enjoy it!

More information about configuration and use available here:
http://help.beebole.com/home/modules/timesheet/daily-timesheet

As always, thank you for your continued support, and let us know if you have any questions or feedback.

A more secure way to connect your Timesheet with Google Apps

To our customers using Google Apps,

Earlier this year, Google updated the Google Apps Marketplace to allow apps like BeeBole Timesheet to use OAuth 2.0, an updated authorisation standard for connecting applications.

End of June we updated BeeBole to enable this new connection, which will allow for more security in the future.

Google is now preparing to have all Google Apps customers to use OAuth 2.0 instead of OAuth 1.0 and to be migrated by April 2015.

As a first step, all Google Administrators will receive an email from Google on the 15th of September announcing the coming change and asking them to upgrade all their Marketplace Apps to OAuth 2.0.

As we already provide the new connection, there is no reason for you to wait!

We prepared a short guide to help you with the migration. It really just takes a few minutes.

This will only change the connection between Google Apps and BeeBole and will not affect your BeeBole account.

In short, your Google Apps administrator will have to:

  1. Remove BeeBole OAuth 1.0. This will leave your BeeBole account intact and allow it to be reconnected using the OAuth 2.0 connection.
  2. Reinstall BeeBole with OAuth 2.0 from the updated Google Apps Marketplace page for BeeBole.

Full guide available here: http://help.beebole.com/home/faq/how-do-i-update-my-google-apps-connection-to-oauth-20

If you have any issue with the migration, contact us at support@beebole.com.

Change your Language Interface

Since a few weeks we have added the possibility for you and all your employees to easily change their language interface.

A new button has appeared in the top right corner of your screen to let you change the language.

And this is just a first step.

The current languages are English, Spanish, French, Dutch and Polish, and more are to come.

Stay tuned!

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