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Workfront offers many free plugins and add-ons to integrate your Workfront environment to other applications without any custom configuration or development. While an add-on for Outlook has existed for years, organizations not on Microsoft products were left out. Now Google Suite companies can reap similar benefits with the ‘Workfront for G Suite’ add-on!

After installing the add-on from the G Suite Marketplace, users gain a Workfront experience integrated with their Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive applications.

From within each of the 3 Google Applications, the Workfront Add-On appears as a panel on the right-hand side of the browser. The panel provides the user with functionality similar to the native Home page in Workfront and other functionality exclusive to the Add-On.

The Home page similarities include Managing work items such as Tasks, Issues, and Approvals. Work items can be sorted by Planned Completion Date, Commit Date, and Project.

After selecting an item from the list, Users can accomplish many of the actions they do from the Home page, such as agreeing to Working On the Task, updating the status and percent complete, posting an update with tagged users, and view attached documents. Additionally, the bottom of the details area contains a direct link to the object in Workfront.

 

The most powerful feature of the Google Add-On is the ability to easily move emails from your Gmail inbox into Workfront by converting them into tasks, issues, or updates. When the Workfront panel is opened while viewing an email in Gmail, these below three options are displayed.

Emails that are an action item and have to be worked on can easily be converted to a task or Issue. After selecting Create New Task or Create New Issue, the panel will provide options to search and select a Project. Automatically the email subject line becomes the Task/issue name and the email body becomes the task/issue description with the option to edit. Then assignments can be made to people, teams, and/or job roles, and the planned duration and priority set.

Finally, there are the options to include any email attachments as documents on the Workfront object and to include the email itself as a document in Workfront before creating the task/Issue.

To post the email as a new update, the panel will provide options to search for the Project, Task, or Issue to post on. The body of the email will automatically be copied as the update text with the option to edit and Workfront Users and/or Teams can be tagged before posting the update.

All of these features help centralize work in one place and create a clean system of record without having to jump between windows or manually copy and paste.

In our next blog, we will continue “The Power of Integration” series with Workfront for Salesforce.

In Part I, we discussed what an Advanced Grouping is, what it looks like, and how it is formatted differently from an Advanced View. In addition, we discussed a user challenge and the solution. The challenge is that our work license users want to group their Tasks by whether the Task is LATE, ON TIME, or UPCOMING within the current week. We can only do this through an Advanced Grouping.

How to write the custom text mode to solve the challenge?

First, navigate to the “My Tasks Due This Week” report we previously created in the “Creating Reports Like a Pro! Advanced Views” series. Select the Report Actions dropdown and choose Edit. Next, select the Groupings tab. To the far right you will see two options: Switch to Matrix Grouping and Switch to Text Mode. Choose, Switch to Text Mode.

Our valueexpression function will use the following functions, formulas, and fields:

Functions:

  • textmode
  • 0.valueexpression
  • 0.valueformat

 

Formulas:

  • IF
  • DAYOFWEEK
  • DATE

 

Fields:

  • plannedCompletionDate
  • $$TODAY

 

We will start with our most complex line of code, which is the group.0.valueexpression. The valueexpression function uses the IF formula to determine if the planned completion date of the task is LATE, ON TIME, or UPCOMING throughout the week. We need to create a dynamic “today” value so that the data is processed using today’s date (regardless of when the user views the report. To do this, we will use the wildcard field $$TODAY and extract the date using the DATE formula. Lastly, for both fields $$TODAY and plannedCompletionDate, we need to extract the day of the week in order to analyze if the plannedCompletionDate is less than, equal to, or greater than today’s date so that we can group the task accurately. To do this, we will leverage the DAYOFWEEK formula.

The textmode is:

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group.0.valueexpression=IF(DAYOFWEEK({plannedCompletionDate})
<DAYOFWEEK(DATE($$TODAY)),”LATE”,IF(DAYOFWEEK({plannedCompletionDate})=DAYOFWEEK(DATE($$TODAY)),”ON
TIME”,IF(DAYOFWEEK({plannedCompletionDate})>DAYOFWEEK(DATE($$TODAY)),”UPCOMING”,”N/A”)))

The second line of text mode will specify the valueformat of the output (valueexpression). For our example, the second line of text mode will be group.0.valueformat=HTML. We can use HTML for almost any valueexpression if you don’t know which format to leverage. We can use the string format, or str. The third and last line of text mode will specify that we are using text mode to create the Grouping, rather than the standard user interface. The third line of text mode will be textmode=true.

When you are finished writing each line of text mode, you should end up with the following block of code:

 

After you select “Done” and “Save + Close”, your end result will be:

 

In Part III, I will share the custom text mode code for both the Task and Assignments reports.

 

 

 

In the previous article, we discussed what is troubleshooting and what to expect as a Workfront System Administrator. Now, it is time to shift our focus to Workfront queues.

What is a Workfront Queue?

A Workfront queue refers to a special type of project that stores requests, issues, change orders, and bug reports submitted by Workfront users. Organizations traditionally use queues to capture requests and develop a working backlog of active issues that Workfront System Administrators will resolve. Every organization that leverages Workfront should have a version of a Workfront Request queue.

A successful Workfront Requests queue has the following features:

  • Project name: is informative and clearly articulates the queue’s purpose
  • Project status: equates with a status of Current (this activates the queue)
  • Queue topics: are easy to understand
  • Custom forms: have the appropriate fields to adequately capture the error
  • Other features:
      • The project is published as a Help Request Queue
      • The project enables “Anyone” to add requests to the queue

 

We have successfully outlined the characteristics of a functioning Workfront Requests queue and you are probably thinking, what does an example queue look like? Fortunately, you are in luck. Below is an example queue structure that many successful Workfront organizations use to capture Workfront issues submitted by their workforce.

  • Project name: Workfront Requests
  • Project status: Queue (equates with Current)
  • Queue topic structure:
      • Technical Support
      • Enhancement Idea
  • Custom forms: contain fields to identify the object/area of Workfront experiencing the error, space to describe the error in detail, and a final message to nudge the user to submit any photo/video proof of the error

There are many benefits to having a Workfront Requests queue, but the benefits are not just for Workfront System Administrators. Providing a Workfront Requests queue empowers your users to take control of errors and improves error resolution communication. In addition, logging errors helps Workfront System Administrators conduct intelligent and meaningful conversations with their Workfront Account Executives, Customer Success Managers, and Support Engineers. The more detail captured per error, the better equipped you and Workfront Support will be to quickly resolve the error.

Lastly, creating a Workfront Requests queue that captures technical support requests (errors) and enhancement ideas (product enhancements), supports your organization’s Workfront governance model. Users will build a product backlog of enhancement ideas, which can be routed to your Workfront Governance team. Rather than assuming the enhancement idea is valid and should be resolved, the Workfront Governance team can discuss the idea, determine the ROI of the idea, the overall impact to your user group, and ultimately decide if the enhancement is worth pursuing.

We will be returning to the idea of a Workfront Governance team and structure in a later series.

SHARE YOUR STORY OF HOW YOU ARE GIVING BACK WITH  OUR HASHTAG #LEAPFORLOCAL.

Yesterday, our CEO, Nicholas DeBenedetto, launched a company-wide initiative and asked each employee to purchase a $100 gift card at a local restaurant to be reimbursed immediately.

Kindness has never been more important.

Share an idea to #leapforlocal and show us how you plan to #payitforward. From buying groceries for an elderly neighbor to donating to a local food bank, give us your ideas for giving back and include the hashtag #leapforlocal.

Together, we can make a difference.

#LeapforLocal

Thank you for checking out Part 3 of our Evolution of Modern Work series. If you’re not caught up, check out Part 1  and Part 2. In these two parts, we introduced the pre-Digital Revolution concept of work and how it fundamentally transformed with the introduction of technology. We then explored the two phases of Enterprise Work Management that aimed to address the challenges of modern work but didn’t quite get us there.

Modern Work, Mastered

Today, we’ll see how the adoption of best of breed systems was a significant first step in addressing the challenges of modern work. But to bring your A-Game, your systems must be paired with Intelligent Integrations, and something called an Operational System of Record.

Intelligent Integrations

If we think back to what organizations were trying to accomplish with big-box systems and custom development – “a common frame of reference for work across the organization.” – It becomes evident that disconnected best of breeds don’t make the cut.

It is not by chance, then, that incredibly agile integration technologies are flourishing in the best of breed era. There are four best practices, depending on the integration scenario:

1. Application Program Interfaces (APIs): An API is a connection between two systems for very specific purposes (e.g., pulling a Customer ID from System A for use in System B). Out-of-the-box APIs are incredibly common in nearly all SaaS. Particularly in best of breed systems so that they can “talk” to other systems to create a more seamless user experience across platforms.

2. Integration Platform As A Service (iPaaS): iPaaS is identical to APIs in purpose and outcome, but they offer extreme, codeless agility in connecting any Cloud-based systems – whether they have existing APIs or not.

3. Custom Integrations: Custom integrations remain an option, particularly in complex integrations or when integration involves any system that is not Cloud-based – some on-premise and legacy systems.

4. Robotics Process Automation (RPA): RPA is an appropriate option when the integration involves automating a highly repeatable process that occurs frequently and requires human interaction.

But let’s return to the example from APIs. Let’s say that the Customer ID pulled from System A for use in System B is then used by an Analyst to do a lookup on a public website. If she is performing 500 Customer ID searches a day, this is an excellent use case for RPA – automating the process and opening up the Analyst’s time for higher-value work.

But merely connecting the best of breed systems is not enough. In the same way that the human body operates through a complex neural network and all governed from a central command – our integrated best of breed network must also be connected and governed from a central command.

Operational System of Record

Every major asset of an organization has a dedicated system of record to administer, track, and manage the asset: human resource management systems for employees, customer relationship management systems for prospects and customers, financial management systems for money and transactions, contracts management systems for contracts, and so on. But what about work?

Work as an Asset

If we recall the characterization of work in the modern workplace, it’s the shepherding of information from one place to another. Information as an asset is not a new concept. The likes of Gartner and even the current US Federal Government Administration have laid out strategies for leveraging data as a strategic asset and championed the resurrection of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) role.

Another compelling case for work as an asset come from Harvard Business Review. They note that small ideas, borne at the proverbial water cooler, often make their way into business processes. And over time, more and more of these small ideas create a sort of intangible intellectual property – one that wouldn’t be showcased in a product or service or documented in a patent. These ideas become powerful differentiators that are extremely difficult for competitors to replicate.

Work is an invaluable asset on-par in value with, if not greater than, all other corporate assets. Institutional investors, who make investments based on hard, tangible, qualitative measures are looking at softer, more intangible measures because of a rather shocking discovery: “The most valuable aspects of jobs are now, ‘the most essentially human tasks: Sensing, judging, creating, and building relationships.’ A great deal of a company’s value now lies ‘between the ears of its employees.’ And this means that when someone leaves a company, he takes his value with him – more often than not, straight to the competition.”

Work Management “Systems”

Whether we acknowledge work as an asset or not, we are tracking it. Both structured work (e.g., planned project tasks) and unstructured work (e.g., an instant message conversation) are both tracked in systems, in documents, and our heads. We’ve even connected many of these tracking mechanisms through the integration methods described above. But connecting the dots still hasn’t revealed the big picture: Are the right people enabled by the right tools? And are they working on the right things, at the right time in the right way to achieve the right business outcomes?

Operational System of Record

The Operational System of Record (OSR) is the central command of our work neural network, the dedicated system of record for work. Work itself may be carried out in the connected best of breed systems. The OSR’s role is to create a virtuous circle, where tightly aligned strategy, operations, and tactics are planned, executed, measured, and adjusted in the context of enterprise business outcomes. The OSR achieves the organizational alignment of the Good Ole Days while capitalizing on the very best technology has to offer.

 

Stay tuned for Part 4 of our Evolution of Modern Work series. In Part 4, we’ll delve into why mastering modern work is incredibly important. Additionally, I’ll introduce you to some of the organizations that are at the top of their game – the A-Game – in mastering modern work.

 

Unlike the traditional or “waterfall” method of software development, the agile approach does not treat analysis, design, coding, and testing as discrete phases in a development project. Agile has quickly become the standard methodology as businesses see the many advantages of adopting a more flexible approach to software development.

With testing integrated into the development process from day one, agile development often leads to higher quality products, as well as reducing risk. However, making the switch from waterfall to agile can be tricky. Many development teams end up awkwardly straddling the fence between the two approaches, which can make it difficult to effectively manage resources.

To root out any bad habits that carried over when your development team made the switch from waterfall to agile, look out for these warning signs that your team isn’t as agile as you think.

1. No sprint retrospectives

sprint retrospective is a meeting that occurs after a one-month development sprint. Usually held once a month, this is an opportunity for teams to discuss what worked well in the sprint, what could be improved, and what the team will commit to doing differently in the next sprint.

If your team does not hold sprint retrospectives, you are missing out on a valuable opportunity to change work processes in order to improve the quality of the end product. Holding no sprint retrospectives means that problems persist throughout the development process, exposing your business to the risks of waterfall methodology.

2. Long stand-up meetings

Many people resist adopting agile methodology because they think they will spend too much time in meetings. While it’s true that agile development involves a daily stand-up meeting, these should be kept short to avoid eating into everyone’s work time. In fact, the name stand-up comes from the idea that people should literally stand during these meetings so they have an incentive not to let them drag on too long. To avoid stand-up meetings overrunning, have someone with good facilitation skills lead the meeting.

3. Improper product backlog management

product backlog is a list of all the work that needs to be done for a particular product, ordered to prioritize the most important tasks. Sometimes, backlogs can become so large they are difficult to work with. In that case, you need to break the backlog down into short-term and long-term items to make it easier to manage.

4. Failure to deliver product increments after each sprint

One of the principles of agile is that working software is the primary measure of progress. If your team does not deliver a product increment after each spring, that is a warning sign that you are slipping back into waterfall methodology.

5. Urgent tasks that interrupt workflow

When you use the agile approach, your workflows should be regularly adapted to prioritize the most important tasks. If urgent tasks frequently come up and throw your workflow into disarray, that is a sign that the team hasn’t done enough planning to anticipate the upcoming demands of the project. This might be because they are hanging onto waterfall ways of working, such as setting out a roadmap at the beginning of the project and failing to reassess it often enough during sprint retrospectives and daily stand-ups.

We’re proud to announce that Kevin Ellington is joining the LeapPoint leadership team as a director in our People & Change group. Kevin will serve as our Center of Excellence practice lead which is focused on enabling our enterprise clients to facilitate user adaptation and learning, and gain efficiencies through the reuse of capabilities and resources. He will also lead LeapPoint’s internal CoE, supporting our commitment to operational efficiency and continual improvement.

Kevin earned his Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University and has leveraged his learning to benefit executives and their companies for over 25 years. Most recently he’s dedicated his time to helping companies deploy Centers of Excellence and drive the success of enterprise initiatives. Kevin connects quickly with clients, understands their needs, and equips teams with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to achieve both quick wins and long-term strategic objectives.  He has taught leadership both nationally and internationally and we’re incredibly excited for him to bring his skill, passion, and expertise to helping us drive enterprise change for our clients.