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All You Need To Know About WorkflowMax Project Management

I started a bookkeeping business eight years ago, and soon found myself becoming an expert in Xero implementations and training. From there it was a natural progression to specialize in a few select add-ons, and WorkflowMax quickly became a favourite. Since then I have sold my business, but love the work so much that I continue to work for the new owner, specializing in WorkflowMax implementations and support.

I have seen first hand the power of using WorkflowMax well in a business – to give visibility over financials and workflow, to consolidate information into one central hub and to allow flexible access and collaboration between the different people in the business.

I generally present, endorse and recommend the full functionality of WorkflowMax’s project management capability when training new users. However, depending on the nature, function and needs of the business, not all aspects are always fully utilized, or at times a stepped approach is taken.

Step One: Understand Your Client’s CURRENT project management processes 

There are generally two scenarios when clients are moving to WorkflowMax:

  1. A fully manual system (or systems) is in place i.e. several Excel spreadsheets, information in different folders and formats etc.
  2. A software system is in place but it isn’t performing well, and often there is some information in the system as well as elsewhere.

Discussion around these systems is undertaken in the scope and implementation phase, but will also inform the training goals of using WorkflowMax for project management. Here are some helpful questions to ask when conducting your assessment:

  • How are leads and quotes tracked and converted to jobs?
  • How are projects currently monitored in terms of estimated time and costs, actual time and costs and key dates?
  • How is staff time currently recorded against projects?
  • How are documents and communication on projects accessed?
  • How are key staff or project managers made aware of important milestones, state changes?
  • Can project information be broken down into more specific areas?

Step Two: Translate their ‘ideal process’ to WorkflowMax

Moving to WorkflowMax provides the business a fantastic opportunity to put in place new project management processes rather than replicating broken ones in a new system. I recommend the following steps be taken to provide a start to finish approach to project management:

  • Regardless of whether the lead manager module is adapted (I fully recommend that it is, read my blog post for why) I advocate that all estimates and quotes are entered into WorkflowMax. This establishes the ‘goal posts’ for the project in terms of financials and time. At this point, setting up job templates for use at quoting stages also allows for efficiencies with ease of building task and costs lists, job folders and estimated milestones.
  • Once the quote or estimate is accepted, it is a one-click process to convert it to a job, adding in our specific job information (including start and finish dates), custom fields and allocating staff. At this point, moving default milestones to specific project related dates will ensure staff are on track and milestones remain meaningful.
  • When the project is underway, daily interaction with WorkflowMax is recommended:

    • Staff enter timesheets daily.
    • Custom notifications are setup to alert teams when key milestones are due or overdue and actual time is creeping close to estimated time.
    • Emails and documents are forwarded to the collaboration manager so they are visible on the job, and filed away to specific folders (we always recommend WorkflowMax documents are integrated with Dropbox or similar for ease of access).
    • Job states are kept current by delegated team members.
    • If a variation is required, the quote ON THE JOB is revised to include the new FULL amount so that billing remains correct.

Step Three: Review and assess periodically

There are two levels of review and assessment that should be undertaken periodically:

  1. Project review: the project manager should be using WorkflowMax to review how the project is progressing. Reviewing actuals vs estimates, overdue milestones, whether date information is still relevant or needs to be adjusted, progress billing, WIP balances and staff performance. This can be through the Job Financial Summary, other prebuilt reports and building custom reports using the Report Builder to zoom in and consolidate key job information. We often assist businesses in building key reports to be able to review job information in a consolidated manner.

  2. Process review: the business owner and project managers should be periodically reviewing how process is being managed in WorkflowMax to ensure that they are getting the most out of the program. Often the areas of job folders, custom templates, custom fields, custom reports and staff interaction with the system are the areas to look at first.

Putting this in place is a three step process: understanding current processes, translating their ‘ideal process’ to WorkflowMax and reviewing periodically will ensure your client gets the MOST out of managing their projects in WorkflowMax.

If you have any challenges or questions in this undertaking, don’t hesitate to contact Living Business, we’d love to help you! For more in-depth information, sign up for the WorkflowMax Partner Success Summit and join me for my webinar on the 27th of April.


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Heidi Seal
Heidi Seal is the resident WorkflowMax Guru at Living Business – a leading bookkeeping and software implementation business based in the beautiful city of Tauranga, New Zealand. With over 50 WorkflowMax implementations and over 100 Xero implementations under her belt, Heidi has a great understanding of the specific requirements and bigger picture interaction when implementing a suite of business software. When she’s not working she loves spending time with her family and enjoying the active lifestyle offered by the Bay of Plenty.

Heidi Seal