Optimizing my work overview
In this mad world of information that is constantly bugging our mind we found tools that help us organize things in our company and private life.
As Ana wrote before we use Trello for project / task management, we replaced 90% of internal mails with Slack app, we customized open source CRM system that now mainly serves for creating (beautiful) quotes, invoices and auto-creates all the invoices for monthly/yearly services, hosting etc. We use shared Google calendars so we can assure availability for projects and use Google tasks for smaller things that need to be done when you arrive at the office.
There are still some areas where we do not feel in control because of all the information we have to deal with thru the month. For one of them I have created a simple temporary solution that I will present at the bottom of this post.
Financial overview solution needed
Things I would like to have are:
- a crystal clear picture of all the income and costs we make from service contracts, hosting etc in comparison with time spent for those contracts.
- a clear information of all the costs we have for the office, meetup groups, online subscriptions, online services, office junk food, coffees, lunches
- tracking multiple business cards, Paypal, Mastercard, cash
- knowing how much does one team member gets for one and how much for the other project
- knowing how much money stays in the company fund and how much money we have out there
- knowing how many projects and money we have signed for and when is the deadline to complete them
There is a lot of information one would have to take care of every day to have at least 95% accurate image.
We know about the Toshl app that we all use for our private life but for business, things get complicated really fast with the overview we desire.
Project milestones and deadlines overview solution needed
As soon you start your day with answering mails, you need 2 hours before you can start working on current project(s). Then you have at least two client meetings a week and at least one inside the company. If you would like to have clear information about the thing you did in the last month or more, you have to make notes etc. And in this chaos you quickly forget about the milestone goals and deadlines. We call it “the idea that brings us to office this week / month”. The solution we are seeking is a large whiteboard that would remind us on what are the goals for this and upcoming week.
Time needed / time spent / time reserve solution needed
Here I am talking about a solution that combines Ghant’s diagram with a single Trello board (yes, I know that they exist, but read further), then combining view with multiple boards, that have multiple projects on which multiple people are working on and then synchronizing the work schedule with a calendar. If possible, with combination of Trello Plus add-on.
For larger projects we use one Trello board per project and one board for all the smaller / weekly projects. And if we don’t schedule our tasks in the calendar as soon we created those tasks, there is a big chance we will A) have to work late this month or B) tasks will be done later tham we expected. We hate both.
Trello custom overview / each worker has its own priorities and responsibilities
We also have one Trello board for tickets and contract service work. Each client or product has its own list with cards that represent work that needs to be done. Every card needs to have a responsible person and due date assigned. If any other person is involved in the work that we have to do, that person is also included.
But sometimes things are not happening the way we planned or we miss a notification, forget about it, didn’t schedule it right away or something like that. For situations like that you need to take at least half an hour per day to check all the boards, notification, read thru cards and comments, check the checklists. And if you have some bigger task to take care of it happens that you don’t check thru whole Trello for a couple of days and then things can get really bad if you missed a ticket from a client you are trying to impress.
So here is my temporary solution for the last one
How the “report” looks like
I started with the list of most common problems I would like to solve:
- never ever again miss a task for a client I am responsible for
- too much time needed to get thru all the boards and cards, to check if my help or information is needed
- I can be tagged in checklists but not in cards, so I can’t see that information from board
- Tasks (responsible for board / project, part of list / project, client or part of project, card or only a small task from a checklist) are all across Trello.
- Need to go to to Trello to get that overview
- Priorities or due dates presented with visual information (read green, orange red color) and sorted by that priority
- If I am tight on a schedule I would rather use that time for other tasks or if time is not a problem, do what can be done in that moment
Needed a day to think and an evening to create this.
I ended up writing a Slack solution, where I give Slack a command /report and get all the information I need from “Slackbot”. If your Slack account has not been connected to Trello yet you get a link, where you connect them. When you launch the same command again, you get a one time link, where you can set your priorities, boards you need to follow, lists you are responsible for, checklists you are tagged in and a simple grey message if there is nothing to do / everything is under control.
Design is awful but it does what it was meant to do and that is keeping my mind sane.
The code is also not perfect but if you have a need like we did please let us know and we will share the code with you.
Have a sane day, Matevž
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