As with any business that serves customers, engineering firms need to have the ability to track the work that they do at the request of their customers and for projects. As a project manager, you need to enable your engineers to do what they love to do, while tracking their work, and keeping them free of management headaches. There is no better way to do this than with a software suite like OneDesk, which allows you to track everything in one place. The true power of OneDesk is in its flexibility and scalability.
Every engineering project follows a workflow that starts with a planning phase. This is when the scope is sussed out and specifications are defined. Before any tickets are logged, engineers should review the specifications and work with product managers and any other stakeholders to work through what is and isn’t achievable given the ramifications. Once everyone is on the same page, tasks are logged to capture the project’s work, and project execution can begin. Depending on how the project is broken down and what methodologies are used, the project may have multiple stages of maintaining and controlling combined with execution, which allow for incremental, iterative releases. At completion, the project is formally closed and the team leaves the work in a state that is self-sustaining.
The project’s planning phase is one of its most crucial. This is when the work is defined and tasks are created. At this point, your engineers will need a ticketing system in place so they can track their work, keep communications and clarifications organized, and see what work still needs to be taken on. In OneDesk you can set up a project to house your tasks and keep work focused to this particular area, or go deeper with your hierarchy and separate work into portfolios and folders. Regardless of how you choose to setup your team’s work, with OneDesk you can implement a workflow to reflect all the different stages of your process: gathering requirements, estimation, in progress, in quality assurance, ready for deployment. With custom statuses, you define the process that makes sense for your team.
The lifecycle of a ticket should be intuitive and logical. From the point of creation, the ticket should ideally contain all of the information an engineer needs to begin work on it. In OneDesk, you can ensure this data is all there by setting up required fields whenever someone logs a ticket. You also have the power to tailor these fields to just the essentials that are relevant to your team. OneDesk’s workflows can also be automated using triggers so your team members are never stuck. For teams that follow agile or scrum methodologies, the team will need the requirements in order to estimate the effort it will take to complete and add it to their schedule. OneDesk allows you to record the expected amount of time spent on a ticket, which gives you a baseline estimate for how long it will take to complete project work.
Once all of the requirements are nailed down, work on the ticket can begin. This phase for project execution will encompass the brunt of the ticket’s work, and OneDesk has the ability to integrate with a wide range of software so you can pull in as many updates and data as you need right into the ticket itself for maximum visibility. This stage is also when turbulence is introduced as the engineers start digging into implementation and might discover issues that could not have been predicted. Your engineers then can record their actual time spent on the ticket, which allows you to compare against the team’s predictions. This may indicate deeper problems in the system, methodologies, or technologies used.
For larger scale products or projects that do not have a foreseen ending, it makes sense to setup a portfolio in OneDesk that encompasses all of the bug fixes, incremental features, and client requests that come in. With the customer portal, OneDesk allows you to interact more directly with your customers, which gives them visibility into work status. Beyond that, you can also setup an e-mail address that so customer requests that come to your team get automatically logged. This can be incredibly useful for smaller teams who don’t have a dedicated client success agent fielding these requests. By having these requests listed alongside any bugs and features, you ensure that your team knows the full breadth of work coming onto their plate.
It can make all the difference in the world to your engineers if you set their work up in OneDesk. With our easy-to-use and consistent UI, OneDesk makes the process of logging tickets easy, and the different views will give even the most detail-oriented engineers a viable way to track their work. This extends beyond the engineers themselves, though. Project and product managers also have views—Gantt, calendar, roadmap—that make release planning easy and estimating project completion less of a mystery. With OneDesk you’ll find that it isn’t a struggle finding data about your projects; as long as you setup your projects to give your team success, you give yourself all of the data you need for future planning and projects.