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:
Keep reading to learn more about them.
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.
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:
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).
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:
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.
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.
A brief description of the template, to make it simple to remember what is it for.
Here you may add different tasks and milestones that you will be working on later
Variables allow you to change some properties within a task (or several ones) whenever you create a template.
There 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:
Templates allow creating different types of variables that will later replace the previously mentioned fields in a task:
The User Variable is used to select a user later on when we apply the template.
The Date Variable is used to set up different dates later on when we apply the template.
The Text or String Variable is used to add a text parameter to the template later on when we apply it.
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
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:
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.
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:
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:
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
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
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:
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!!!
Many of you value Feng Office Templates a lot. They make work much more efficient and save tons of time. We love and use them a lot too – so we decided to improve them some more.
You may now set up different kinds of flows upon tasks completion such as the ability to create a task and set its start and due date upon a task completion.
For example, lets say that after you complete an initial task to “Do A”, you want to “Do B”.
So, if you complete the task Do A today, the task Do B has to be automatically created, starting today, and ending in 3 days from today.
This way you can define processes and no longer have to have all the tasks created at the start of your process and then have to worry about adjusting dates. It makes for a much more fluent and efficient flow.
Please note: This will be good for some cases, like service management, but might not be the best way to manage a project if you need to have all the dates for all tasks visible for the project, like in a construction project.
Here is how the variables look like in this example:
On the other hand, one can also set conditions for tasks completions, meaning that the system will not allow users to complete a task if there are empty fields. For instance, a task cannot be completed if it has no description, or any other field you select.
For configuring this, simply edit the desired tasks on the templates setting panel, going to Settings - Templates - Task Templates.
Once on the edition view of the task, go to the Conditional Actions tab and click on Add New Conditional Action. You will see the following options:
Save the changes.
After Feng Office 3.2, you have the option of instantiating templates from an e-mail, making some processes much faster.
1 - Go to the edition view of the template you want to be able to instantiate from e-mails and select the option “Can instantiate from e-mails”. If you wish to have the body and the subject of the e-mail automatically included on the tasks of the template, select the corresponding variables. Then, save the changes.
2 - When receiving an e-mail you will see the following option on the actions menu.
3 - You will then be redirected to the following screen, when you will have to complete the required fields for the template, as you usually do.
Click on Create Tasks and the template will be instantiated.
NOTE: If you classify the received e-mail into a workspace, client, project or folder, the instantiated template will keep the same classification.