I started my business in 2011, focusing on Xero training and implementation. I’ve always had two key passions: training and the development of systems. Therefore the move to working with a number of the Xero add-ons seemed like a natural progression. WorkflowMax emerged as the most popular of the add-ons that I worked with and has now become a central focus of my business.
Businesses come to me when they realise there is a need to gain greater control of their projects. Some of the most common reasons for transitioning to WorkflowMax seem to be:
- Wanting to consolidate many different systems (often spreadsheets) into a central location that can be shared and enable improved collaboration amongst staff.
- A desire to understand project profitability and how accurate (or inaccurate!) their current quoting process is.
- The need for a system that speaks nicely to their accounting software Xero and will reduce admin time.
Whatever reason your own business is considering WorkflowMax, it’s important to remember four key areas when setting up your project management software:
1: Your business requirements
This is probably one of the most important questions you need to ask before you begin. You already know your business’s ‘pain points’ and before you choose a project management system, it’s important to ensure the software will help you address these.
As an implementation partner we work with you at the initial consultation stage to understand what your key requirements and processes are. The types of questions we ask are:
- What do your quotations/estimates and other key documents looks like? Reviewing these documents give us a guide in assessing whether WorkflowMax is a good fit for your business.
- How do you invoice? Based on Time or Quote/Estimate?
- Are there any foreign currency requirements?
- What are your key reporting requirements?
There will usually be a central person within the firm who is driving the implementation. If this is your role, make sure you consult other staff to find out what their key requirements of the system are.
2: Structure and process
Having analysed the current processes of the client, we will then assess the best way to structure WorkflowMax. This is sometimes referred to as the scoping stage of the implementation.
Most of our clients adopt the Lead Manager module. I love the simplicity of the Leads Module and the way it allows you to keep on top of your opportunities. For more information see my blog post on Managing your Leads in WorkflowMax.
The correct structure of tasks and costs is crucial. You need to ensure the structure will allow you to produce your quotes and invoices as you require. Doing this will allow you to achieve your reporting requirements. They make sense and are easy to follow for staff recording their time. Tasks are set up so they correctly integrate with your Xero chart of accounts codes.
Next assess what other areas of WorkflowMax would be beneficial to your business.
Here are a just of few of them:
- Utilisation of custom fields to achieve reporting requirements. There are many standard reports within WorkflowMax but the Custom Report Builder will allow you to produce reports to meet YOUR requirements.
- Custom Notifications enable you to email staff when they are getting close to using up the estimated time on a project.
- Emailing of invoices and documents via the Collaboration Manager, allowing emails and documents to be stored on a job.
- If there is a standard process with some jobs i.e. common tasks and costs, it will most likely be beneficial to set up Job Templates that save time when creating a job.
- Custom Templates allow you produce attractive documents, which allow you to achieve the look and feel you require to convey your branding. See my previous blog post on how to produce attractive quotes and estimates.
Next you must determine what the best processes are or flow is for using WorkflowMax. For example, most clients will start with a Lead (if using the leads module), create a quote from within the Lead Module and then convert this automatically (by accepting the quote) to a job. However, for other clients, it is crucial to record the non-billable time spent on creating a Quote/Proposal, so it may be more appropriate to start with a job and produce a Quote from within the job.
3: Testing the system
Once you have designed the structure and processes for your WorkflowMax setup, you need to test the system to ensure things flow smoothly and make sense. When completing a full setup for a client, I will often complete custom training notes with detailed screenshots and case study exercises. The training notes serve two purposes. It allows us to fully test the system and serves as a training document for the client. When testing try to choose a few different types of project scenarios to ensure that your setup is meeting your needs.
4: Training and support
As I mentioned earlier, one of my passions is training. I cannot emphasise enough how important training is in the successful implementation of your project management system.
I find that people tend to learn the best by ‘doing’, so we always try to achieve hands-on training with staff. Not everyone in your business will need the same level of training however – so we tailor the experience to suit. For example, some key staff will need to understand the full functionality, whilst others may just need to understand how to record time and costs and review the progress of the jobs they are working on.
Training with an implementation partner vastly improves the adoption of the system by staff and will ensure you are fully utilising the features of WorkflowMax!
Focusing on these four key points will help ensure your firm gets greater control of their projects and maximises what you get from WorkflowMax.
If you want to find out more about using WorkflowMax and Xero together, join my FREE one-hour presentation and learn how to reduce admin time and free up more time to focus on your business.
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