In BigTime, tasks are units of work within a project. Your firm may call them something entirely different: “budget items,” “phases,” “work items,” “engagements,” or whatever you’ve decided to call them in your system’s vocabulary settings. No matter how you refer to them, tasks are central to workflow in BigTime. The more you understand about how to create and track them, the more control you’ll have over budgets, allocations, and project deliverables/deadlines. This article provides an overview of how they are created and managed within the system.
Tasks are at the center of workflow in BigTime. They’re the key to setting project budgets, schedules, and assignments. This information can be tracked and used for better insight into estimate progress and budget realization from the task management component of BigTime: the Workflow menu and Task Dashboard.
Tasks can be grouped into subtasks, established as one-time events, or a recurring series. Tasks that have multiple components or deliverables can be broken out into subtasks to assist your team with better tracking of each stage of work. Your firm can also establish a series of recurring tasks for items of work that have no set end date.
Tasks can be included on invoices and featured in reports. To get better estimates and track budgets, BigTime allows you to track time and expenses against tasks, include task-related details related to budget status on invoices, and provides extensive options for reporting on project estimate progress.
Creating Tasks and Project Budgets
For most professional firms, there are often a standard set of tasks for a “typical” project. BigTime even supports the ability to copy the entire task list from one project to another, making the creation of an initial project budget extremely easy. Typically, tasks begin from the Project Dashboard as a way to break down the work a client has requested.
For a simple project, one with a limited scope and only one or two resources assigned to it, you may not need to break down your work. A simple line item might serve your needs because a project’s goals are simple enough that both your staff and your customer understand them without going into much detail. Other more complicated projects might require breaking the work down into deliverables. This might mean a number of tasks, or even subtasks underneath certain tasks, each with an estimate that contributes to an overall project budget.
The Task Dashboard and Workflow in Bigtime
The Task Dashboard Serves as a Project Management Tool
The Task Dashboard is your go-to place to view and manage all of your firm’s tasks and projects. You can sort/group details by staff member or department, bulk-update task assignments or statuses, view tasks by due date, and filter them by progress level. Administrators will typically see every task within the system while other users may see only the tasks assigned to them.
To reap the benefits of the task/project management functions of the Task Dashboard, it’s essential to establish a workflow for tasks. Workflow in BigTime simply refers to the stage each task will pass through in its life cycle, from start to finish. To initiate a workflow, system administrators need to create task types to categorize each task. Then each task can be defined by a stage, which is a status marker (i.e., in process, finished, etc.).
Tracking Project Budget Status by Tasks
Entering Time/Expenses Against Tasks
If you’d like to track time/expenses against tasks for your projects, you can adjust your timesheet settings to include a task picklist. This allows your staffers to enter time and expense data against tasks, and it lets your project managers keep track of budget status in real time.
Invoicing by Tasks
Since most firms start out using tasks to break down a project’s deliverables, it makes sense that including tasks on BigTime’s invoices is a popular option in the system. When you create an invoice in BigTime, you can include budget status information on the print invoice. If your print invoices include time/expense details, you can include tasks related to those entries as well.
Reporting on Task Status/Progress
Ultimately, task-based reports allow managers to keep track of budget status by showing what’s been estimated, entered, and billed against each item on a project’s task list. If you’d rather see that data at the project level, there are also summary fields available for subtotaling budget status data in all of the project reports.