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Working with Feng Office Templates

What we call Tasks Templates are what most people know as Workflow and Processes. Therefore it is one of the most powerful tools of Feng Office, if not the most.

Setting the right templates within Feng Office will help greatly to:

  1. Improve Productivity by saving lots of time (and therefore money!)
  2. Reduce risks of errors (mainly by avoiding omissions)

Keep reading to learn more about them.

Introduction

Feng Office templates are a very powerful tool for kickstarting a new project/service.

Instead of having to create all the tasks from scratch, you can very easily create all the tasks with very few inputs, and then create complete processes or workflows in a matter of seconds.

What is a template and why is it so good

A Feng Office template is a collection of tasks that represents a process or a workflow. Most organizations and companies have a few processes that they have to execute on a regular basis, following a pre-defined set of steps. Using templates you will be able to standardize processes, making sure that everyone on your organization follows all the steps that have been proven to ensure a good outcome, so that no steps are overlooked.

This is true for all kinds of processes, but the three most common ones that we see are:

  • Providing a service
  • Executing Projects
  • Internal organization processes (i.e.: adding a new client, paying taxes, salaries, etc.)

Templates often define a few set of basic steps, but can also define very specific details of a process. It is up to your team to explore and define the level of detail that your templates will need (although Feng Office consultants would gladly help you define it).

Preparing to use templates: identify key business processes

The trick to a successful introduction (implementation) of Feng Office templates at your organization is to start with only a few (and the most essential) processes.

To give you an example, our most used and refined template at Feng Office is our New Client template.

Every time a new client signs up, we have to do several things (and we want to be sure that they get done). We want to:

  • Thank and congratulate the client for the purchase.
  • Make sure that they are successfully receiving all the service and product items they have purchased
  • If there is any feedback they want to share, learn from that feedback – and contact them periodically to know how are they doing -
  • Ensure that our Administration Department has correctly taken care of its registration and billing

Templates are a way to make sure none of these things go unnoticed, and they also are real time savers, allowing you to just have to fill in some parameters (variables) when applying them.

Template elements and structure

The elements that compose a template are:

  1. Name
  2. Description
  3. Tasks
  4. Variables (or parameters)

Name

This is the name of the template, which will be the process or workflow.

It will be displayed for an easy selection when looking for it to use it.

Description

A brief description of the template, to make it simple to remember what is it for.

Tasks

Here you may add different tasks and milestones that you will be working on later

Variables

Variables allow you to change some properties within a task (or several ones) whenever you create a template.

The are several different variables, which you may or may not use, for different purposes and will let you define the following data about the task:

  1. Name
  2. Assignee
  3. Description (could be shown as Text)
  4. Due Date
  5. Start Date

Templates allow creating different types of variables that will later replace the previously mentioned fields in a task:

User Variable

The User Variable is used to select a user later on when we apply the template.

Date Variable

The Date Variable is used to set up different dates later on when we apply the template.

Text Variable

The Text or String Variable is used to add a text parameter to the template later on when we apply it.

Setting up a simple template (New Client Recording)

As a tutorial, we will show you how to create a template that will help you whenever you have to add a new client into your records. However, you may use it for different purposes to fit your needs.

Another thing to note, is to take it slowly the first time you create a template as it has many things involved, but after doing the first one, the rest of them will be really easy to create, and the time you will save, makes it worth it!

Important Note: Please bear in mind that if you are a subscribed user, you can always contact your Feng Office Account Executive and schedule a consultancy session, so that he/she can help you out with this.

1) Go to the Administration Panel

2) Select the Templates Icon

3) Choose to add a new Template

Adding the tasks

Now you must add the tasks that will be part of the templates.

Click on Add a new task to this template as shown below

Now you just need to fill in certain information such as:

  1. Name of the task
  2. Description
  3. Estimated time

You will not need to input the start date, due date nor the assignee as it would be best to use variables for these fields, as explained below.

Please note you may even create repeating tasks as well (but in this case it will ask for a start or due date).

Once the tasks have been added, you may proceed working on their variables. Please note you may also add subtasks, edit the ones you have created or even delete them as well.

Adding the Variables

After creating the tasks as explained below, you may proceed working on the variables.

Scroll down a little bit until the Variables section and click on until you get to this section:

Now you have to click on Add a variable to this template to add them as following:

Lets add a new User variable called “Administrative User”, and then also one called “Account Executive”

Now lets create a new Text variable that we will call “Client Name”, which should look as following:

Finally, lets now add a new one called “Joining Date”

After adding them, the list of variables should look as following:

Editing the objects properties

Once the tasks have been added, click on the Edit variable button and start adding the new variables, selecting which field of the task you will be changing:

Assigned to:

We will be able to select a Fixed or Parametric User, as shown below. Note that you should select parametric, so that you can later on select the right user

Start Date or Due Date:

We will be able to select a Fixed or Parametric date, as shown below. Note that you should select parametric, so that you can later on select the amount of days after or before the date you will be selecting

Text parameter:

Lets see what happens when we try to use a Text (or String) variable, either for the Description of the task or its Name.

We will be able to select a specific text to add into the task. This must be done carefully as shown below

Finishing the template creation

In the previous step, we learned how to add parameters.

They should be looking as following for the first task for instance:

Now, lets see the whole screen when we add parameters in all the other tasks as well:

Once we are done, we must click on Add template at the top or bottom of the screen, and we will see it in the template list:

Using a template

Once the template has been added, you are ready to use it any time you want with just a couple of clicks!! This is the magical thing about templates!

For instance, lets add a new Client called Acme, and access it.

If we want to record it as such, in order to do so we will create the tasks through the previously created template:

Then, we will be asked for the parameters we created for that specific template, so we must fill in this information.

After adding this information, those parameters (or variables if you prefer to call them this way) will be replaced accordingly for the ones we previously set up in the template creation.

Last but not least, we click on Create tasks.. and voila!!

A lot of time has been saved!!!

Setting up a complex template (Real World)

Coming soon…

Creating your first project (process, service delivery, etc.) from a template

Lets see some examples of templates applied on real-life companies.

We are going to see examples for:

  1. Advertising agencies - Radio piece work order
  2. Law firms - Preparing and Executing a business selling contract
  3. Construction firms and Architecture studios - New construction project
  4. Service delivery - New client process
  5. Schools and Universities - New course development
  6. Public agencies - Processing a building permit request

There are many, many more processes being defined with Feng Office templates. If you would like to share yours we would love to learn about it. Leave a comment here, or a post at the Forum. If you are a Professional Edition Client we could publish the case study, if you want. :-)

Advertising agencies - Radio piece work order

Law firms - Preparing and Executing a business selling contract

Construction firms and Architecture studios - New construction project

Service delivery - New client process

Schools and Universities - New course development

Public agencies - Processing a building permit request

Discussion

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templates/templates.txt · Last modified: 2014-04-08 15:42 by nicolas
 
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