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First Time Project


Help Guides:

Brainstorm a First-Time Project.


1. Start With a Written Description


The first step is to create, review, share, and update a written description of the project.

The purpose is to ensure key players agree on important aspects of the project.

As a minimum, we recommend including; background, business problem, solution, and goals.








2. Brainstorm the Work

When teams initially brainstorm a new project, in this example, it's a community playhouse project, they typically produce lists of unconnected tasks.

It becomes apparent; that organizing these items into categories would be helpful.








3. Move Like Items Under Column Headers 

So now do the Sesame Street game, which one is like another, move items under an appropriate column header.

You may modify or add column headers.

5. Convert Column Headers to Deliverables

Consider the column header as a deliverable, a thing.

Ask the question. what work will be required to produce the column header or deliverable?

You will usually identify work, that needs to be added.

6. Brainstorm Tasks For Each Work Package

Look closely at each work item; is it a single task, or will it require multiple tasks. 

Most items initially identified will require more than a single task, and may even need more than one person doing the work.

You now need a way to combine and assign multiple tasks; that’s the work package.

7. The Power of Three Levels

We just created three levels of project work. Three levels are the Goldilocks zone.

When you use less than three levels, work is usually missed, which increases the probability of surprises and increased time.

Using more than three levels becomes complex to understand and manage.

8. The Three Level Structure

We recommend, defining project work within these three levels.

Deliverables, work packages, and tasks.

Experienced project managers refer to this as the Work Breakdown Structure, or WBS.

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Start Projects -- From Smart Templates (1:28)

1. Start Projects From Smart Templates

This video describes how to start projects from smart templates.

2. Select Add a New Project

To add a new project, go to the top of the Dashboard 

Select the + button to the right of the word Project

3. Go to Available Templates

To view the templates that are available to add to your list, click the More Templates button

4.  Scroll Available Templates

Scroll the list of templates on the right,

It contains all the public templates, and the private templates that have been shared with you.

Click the "I" button for a brief description of the template 

5. View Template Descriptions

This is the description of the Left to Right Workflow

6. Add a Template to Your List

To add a template to your list, check the associated box.

Removing the check, will remove the template from your list.

Click DONE GO BACK, to close the list on the right.

7. Select a Template For Your Project

Select a template for starting a project.

You will be prompted, to enter project overview information.

8. Enter the Project Name

Enter the project’s name, and then select NEXT.

9. Enter the Project Manager and Sponsor

You can enter the project manager, and sponsor, now, or later.

10. Enter Project Goals

Enter the project’s goals, The overall project timeline is displayed.

As components are added to the project the dates are rolled up through the three-level work described in another video.

When you select DONE, the project’s main page displaying the project's scope will open.

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Basics -- Project-Assistant's Basics (3:07)

1. Project-Assistant Basics

This video describes Project-Assistant’s basic features

2. Logging In Opens the Dashboard

When you log in, the dashboard will display. 

To return to the dashboard, select the home button at the top left of the page.

On the right is the needs attention report, the alerts video covers the report in more detail.

Your projects are listed on the left. 

Double click a project bar to open the project. 

Click a project bar once and the OVERVIEW button displays. 

Select Overview.

3 - 4. Project Overview

Select a project bar once, and the OVERVIEW button displays. 

Click Overview, to edit the project name, sponsor, and project manager. 

The “A” at the top of the popup, provides advice from the template creator to the projects.

The project name and project ID can be edited.

The template used and the person that created the project is displayed.

The sponsor and project manager can be entered.

The overall project timeline is displayed, the dates are rolled up from the three-level work described in another video. 

Selecting the team button opens a pop-up for adding or removing members that have project access.

5.  Select Help

Click the question mark at the top right of the page, to access Help. 

6. Project Assistant Help

Help for the various features, is provided via short videos.

7. My Account

Selecting the avatar at the top-right, displays the email address you logged in with.

You can select your account status and the logout button.

If you have the template management feature, you can select the templates button, to access the feature.

Templates are covered in another video.

8. Brainstorm the Entire Project

Scroll over to the top of the left navigation bar, and select project scope to display this, page. 

This is the main page. 

This is your entire project in one view.

9. Project Plan

The next icon down, opens the project plan, accomplishments, and learnings.

A separate video will include more details.

10. Project Schedule

Next is the project schedule. 

Use the buttons to select items to focus on. 

Select an item’s link to go directly to that item.

11. Daily Weekly Update

The next icon in the left navigation bar, opens the daily update. 

Use this area to record agendas, and results, of the team’s daily/weekly updates.

12. Attach Documents

Select the bottom icon, to attach and share documents.

13. Add a Column

To add a new drag-and-drop column, select a current column, and click the plus button to the right of the words project scope. 

Enter the column’s name, and information. 

The new column, will be inserted to the right of the column you selected; it can be dragged to any position.

14. Enter the Team

Scroll to the top right side of the main page, click the team button, a popup opens, enter the email addresses for sharing the project. 

The team is also available when selecting the overview button, on a project bar in the dashboard.

15. Hide/Show Components

Selecting the button to the right of the team button, will display the components that are in progress, or have been pinned.

Components that have not been pinned and have not started, or have finished, will be collapsed.[delay: 

Select the button again, and all components will be displayed.

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Typical Project Work -- (3:09)

1. Typical Project Work

This video cover features for doing typical project work

2. Create a Written Plan

Start projects by creating a written plan. 

Select the project plan icon in the left navigation bar.

Tailor the plan categories for your project.

Record significant accomplishments and learnings, especially on large projects.

3. Parallel Workflow - 4. Left to Right Workflow

The main page displays the project workflow and scope.

It can include multiple deliverables to be worked on in parallel, or a left to right workflow

The drag and drop structure displays all deliverables and their work packages.

Tasks are contained within the work packages.

5. Open a Deliverable

Double click a deliverable, to open

6. Deliverable Title

At the top of the page is the deliverable title. It can be edited.

The arrow to the left of the title will take you back to the main page.

7. Deliverable Status

The status and schedule alerts, are rolled up from tasks, to work packages, to the deliverables.

Status and schedule are entered in tasks.

8. Assign the Deliverable

Selecting Assign too, opens a dropdown.

The list displays the current team members for the open project, and all projects in the account.

New entries will the added to this and all other team list.

9. Set Priority

Use the priority dropdown, to set or remove priority.

Setting priority, displays a teal exclamation point.

10. Dates Are Rolled-up

The dates are rolled up from tasks, to work packages, to the deliverables.

Dates are entered in tasks.

11. Description

Best practice, would be to describe deliverables as things.

Enter a description of the deliverable, so all will easily recognize what the project is expected to deliver.

12. Work Packages

Deliverables contain work packages, displayed on the right.

13. Select a Work Package

Select a work package.

14. Describe the Work Package

The work package layout, and elements, are similar to the deliverable.

Best practice for describing a work package is to start with a verb.

This approach recognizes that it's describing work.

Verify that the description is broad enough to encompass the required multiple tasks

15. Expand Tasks

You can access the tasks, while viewing the work package description, or you can select the arrow, to expand the tasks.

16. Select Tasks

Selecting the plus button on the left of the teal bar will add a task.

Selecting the down arrow on the right will override the automatic sorting.

Double clicking a task bar will open the task,

17. Task

Best practice for describing a task is to start with a verb.

Dates entered into tasks are rolled up to the work package, deliverable, and the project.

18. Alerts

Logical alerts, based on the dates entered, are built into the flow.

The needs attention report, on the dashboard, is your smart tool for monitoring and editing, commitments.

Select the item links, to go directly to the item.

Select a task link, to edit a date.

Tasks with and end date of today, can be your to-do list.

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Benefits of Custom Templates -- (1:36)

1. Benefits of Custom Project Templates

This video, will highlight the benefits of using custom project templates.

2. Projects Create the Company Future

Companies use projects to improve results, and create their future

They want employees to use the new software, follow the new procedure,

and they want customers to buy the new product.

3. Follow a Custom Project Workflow

Most projects do not deliver the expected result.

Very often, project teams focus on symptoms, and not the core problem.

The # 1 reason projects fail, is not following a custom project workflow.

4. Don't Reinvent Every Project 

When assigned a project, employees in small to mid-size organizations, usually wing it.

Their organization has not provided a workflow for doing projects.

5. Create Custom Project Workflows 

We make it easy for experienced individuals, PMOs, and consultants, to create customized project workflows, for their end-users.

Our Smart Templates help reduce uncertainty, confusion, and stress.

6. Create Smart Templates

Users of our Template Management feature, can create a template from an existing project, or, another template.

They customize the workflow, and project components, and include advice that can be dynamically updated. 

7. Benefits

The Benefits Include:

- Project start-up is faster.

- The work is more predictable.

- Teams know what to expect.

- All members learn best practices.

- Project results are improved.

- and users develop a competitive advantage.

8. Thank You For Watching

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Create Written Plans -- (X:XX)

1. Create Written Project Plans

This video, will describe why and how to create a written project plan

2. Purpose of a Written Project Plan

When you recognize that projects create things that currently don't exist or they modify what does exist one can readily understand that during a project differences will undoubtedly arise. The most effective way to resolve these differences is to document key elements of the project, share, collaborate, come to consensus, and continuously update the document, that is. the project plan. 

3. Open the Project Plan

Project-Assistant provides a project plan feature. Open the project and select the second icon from the top of the left navigation bar.

The starting elements included in the plan will be dependent on the template used to create the project. 

Customize the elements to meet your project's needs.

Best practice is to establish a minimum set time to review, share, and update the plan.

4. Accomplishments

Record major accomplishments as the project progresses.

5. Learnings

Record learnings and improvement opportunities as they occur.

6. Daily / Weekly Update Supports the Project Plan

The daily or weekly update complements the project plan. 

Tie you updates back to the project plan. 

7. The Project Plan is the Foundation For Defining the Project Scope

The Benefits Include:

- Project start-up is faster.

- The work is more predictable.

- Teams know what to expect.

- All members learn best practices.

- Project results are improved.

- and users develop a competitive advantage.

8. Thank You For Watching

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Benefits -- Project-Assistant's Solutions (1:24)

1. Project-Assistant Provides Solutions

This video describes typical project problems and Project-Assistant's solutions. (changed)

2. How Do I Start This Project?

When project teams lack direction on how to start, uncertainty and chaos expand.

Start Projects From Smart Templates

To reduce uncertainty, start projects from smart templates.

3. Misunderstanding of Project's Purpose

When teams don't create and share a written project plan, misunderstandings can get out of hand.

Share a Written Project Plan

Facilitate the team, in creating and sharing, a written project plan.

4. Conflict, Confusion, and Stress

When teams, don't have a workflow to follow, the result is conflict, confusion, and stress.

Always Have a Workflow to Follow

Build an initial workflow, before starting.

5. Is Anything Missing?

Have any deliverables been overlooked?

Visually Validate Scope

Brainstorm and Visually Validate Project Scope (changed)

6. Lost Time and Increased Expenses

When teams lack a method for organizing the work, time is lost and expenses increase.

Organize Work Into Three Levels

Organize work into three levels

7. Forgotten Commitments

When teams lack effective tracking tools, commitments are forgotten.

Respond to Smart Alerts

Our smart alerts, are built into the flow.

8. Continuously Missed Expectations

When organizations lack a business process for doing projects, expectations are continuously missed.

Create Your Company's Smart Template library

Design and share smart templates, as the foundation for your project business process.

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Start Projets
Typical Project Work
Benefits of Custom Templates
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