Processing Task Management Training

Time Required 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete the training.

Panorama is the program we use to create, assign, and manage tasks in processing at Cranbrook Loans.

Users may assign tasks or place a note on tasks or projects.  For the purpose of our system, a Project is a loan that is being processed from start to finish.  A task are the individual jobs assigned to the project, or a task may be a simple non client related task that has been assigned.  Users will access their tasks from the task link, and when an employee misses work they may login and work on other employees tasks.

 

Panorama Project Cranbrook Specific Training (46 Minute Video)

Project or Task Creation (5 Minute Video)

Basics

Project Panorama puts a “Projects” menu item into your WordPress admin interface. Once installed, you can create individual projects by navigating to the projects menu item and selecting “Add Project.”

Each project has it’s own project page, which can be seen by editing the page and selecting “view project” or going to “All Projects” and clicking the “view” link underneath a the project title (must hover to see.)

You have a few settings to adjust how your projects are displayed, these can be accessed by clicking the “settings” link in the Projects menu. You can change the page url from /panorama/project-name to anything of your choosing, for example /clients/project-name. You can also upload a logo to be displayed on all project pages.

After installation, the most common first steps would be to:

  1. Create accounts for your clients through the WordPress user menu – Give them a role of “subscriber” if you don’t want them to edit projects or “project owner” if you do
  2. Create a new project by going to Projects > Add New (Note that when a MLO complete a ‘request to process’ a project is automatically set up with all the appropriate tasks.)
  3. Fill out the project details and add your clients user id in the Access tab to the project
  4. Send your clients a link to their project dashboard at https://www.cranbrookloans.com/panorama/borrowerfirstborrowerlastname
  5. Repeat for all of your projects

Overview and Timing

Project Panorama allows you to input key details about each of your project including:

  • Client name
  • Client / project logo
  • Project description
  • Start date (The day the project is started or going to start)
  • End date

If both start and end date are set, Panorama will automatically calculate how much of the project time has elapsed. The calculation compares the current date to the start and end date and determines percentage wise, how much time has past. So if you have a 30 day project and it’s day 15, Panorama will indicate 50% of the project time has elapsed.

Overview

Panorama supports the uploading and attachment of documents to projects. Documents have the following attributes:

  • Title
  • Description ( 1 – 2 lines )
  • Status
  • File / Link

Status indicates if the document has been approved, is in review, is being revised or has been rejected. This allows you and your clients to work through document revisions until an approval is made. When switching the document status, users have the option of sending an notification to any or all of the users on the project.

Documents

Documents can either be uploaded directly to WordPress or you can provide an external link to a document (or folder.) If you’d like to use Dropbox, Google Drive, etc… you can use the external link option and either link to a single file or the folder itself. This is a good way to manage projects with a large amount of assets that don’t necessarily need to be listed individually on the project page.

If you have uploaded a file and specified a URL, the uploaded file will take priority and the link URL will not be used.

Anyone with access to the project can upload a new document. Upon uploading, the user will have the option of sending a notification to any or all of the users on the project.

Milestones

With Panorama you have the ability to create project milestones in 5% increments. Milestones are a method of indicating events which occur once the project reaches a certain completion point. The most common examples would include billing and meetings. For example, you might bill a client an additional amount once the project is 50% complete. Alternatively, you might meet to review a project at 25% intervals.

Milestones are not tied to task or phase completion. This is because not all projects happen sequentially. In many cases, tasks from phases I, II and III could be done in tandem, thus you can’t align a milestone with a particular phase is complete.

If you’d like the milestones to align with phases because your projects do occur sequentially — just ensure the milestone completion point matches the same percentage as the related phase. For example, if the first phase is 25% of the project then you’d create a related milestone at 25%.

You can assign due dates to milestones as well. If the due date passes and the project completion hasn’t met or exceeded the milestone point, the due date will appear in red. Once completion is reached, the milestone will illuminate in blue and the due date will gray out indicating it was successfully met.

Phases

Most projects are large enough where they have multiple phases. Phases are simply a grouping of related tasks typically organized in order of which they are started. For example, a project often starts with a “planning” phase, as the planning is necessary to complete the remainder of the project. Phases typically are completed in order, but don’t always happen sequentially. Meaning you don’t always have to finish the phase prior before you can complete a task within a future phase.

For example, when designing and building websites we often work on the functionality at the same time as design even though those are two separate phases.

Phases have the following components:

  • Title
  • Progress Type
  • Description
  • Tasks
  • Discussions

Title and description are self explanatory. Progress type refers to how Panorama should calculate progress relative to the phase completion. Meaning if a phase is 50% complete, how should that impact overall project progress? There are four options:

  • Equal weight – each phase is equal in time / effort, so if you have four phases and one is complete the project is 25% complete
  • Hours – You can enter how many hours each phase takes
  • Custom weighting – You can indicate how long a phase takes relative to the other phases (this is a legacy option and is not recommended.)
  • Percentage – If you select “hours” and ensure all phase hours add up to 100 – then the hours act as a percentage. i.e. 25 hours would be 25% of the project.

Tasks

The bottom line of most projects are tasks that need to be completed. Typically a project is broken into phases, each which have their own set of tasks.

In Panorama, if you have automatic calculation enabled as a task is completed it will adjust how complete the phase is which will adjust how complete the project is. Unlike other project management solutions, we’ve intentionally created a tool that allows for partial task completion. Many tasks are too large to either be “not started” or “completely finished.” Tasks that take hours or even days appear to be untouched until their are complete, which paints an unrealistic picture of project progress.Tasks have the following elements:

  • Name
  • Assignment
  • Status
  • Due date

To assign a task to a user, you must have access restriction enabled on for the project, have the user assigned to the project and have saved the project prior to task assignment.

Status indicates how close the task is to completion. If you have phases in which tasks don’t need to indicate partial completion you can use the task is a checklist. The add-on will turn the tasks of desired phases into check lists on the forward facing portion of the website.

Due date indicates when the task should be completed by. If the indicated date passes and the task is incomplete it will be displayed in red on the project page. If you have configured notifications to alert users when the tasks is almost or past due, the notifications will automatically be sent.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.32.27 PM

Calendar and Dates

Panorama includes a calendar that compiles all the important dates across all projects a given user has access to. Meaning if a user is a subscriber or project owner, they will only see the dates related to projects they’ve been assigned. Project managers and administrators will see all the dates across all projects.

A small version of the calendar is visible after logging into the Panorama dashboard and a larger version is accessible by clicking on the “calendar” tab of the dashboard.

There is an iCal feed at the bottom of every calendar which will allow users to import their important dates into different calendar programs like Mac Calendar, Outlook or Google Calendars.

Translating

You can change the language of the calendar by going to Projects > Settings > Appearance > Calendar.

Dates for tasks, projects etc… are automatically output through PHP code. If you have English months in your dates and want to change this, you’ll need to change the language of your server environment or go to Settings > General and switch your date format to one that doesn’t spell out the date.

 

Discussions

Overview

If enabled, projects have two areas where you can have discussions. There is an entire project related discussion at the bottom of the page and each phase has an area for discussions.

By default, new messages will not trigger an e-mail notification. You can enable this feature by following the instructions in the notifications article.

If you’d like the ability to attach files to comments consider installing the free comment attachment plugin from the WordPress repository.

Troubleshooting

If you don’t see a discussion area that means that comments have been turned off (either globally or for the project specifically.)

First, try editing the project and looking for the “Discussions” box down towards the bottom of the page. Make sure that “Allow Comments” is checked.

If you don’t see this box it means that the discussions have been hidden. Scroll up to the top of the page and click on the Screen Options tab in the top right. A bar will appear and you can unhide the discussions box.

 

Notifications

Panorama allows both manual and automatic e-mail notifications.

Before using either type of notifications, it’s important that you configure the default notification settings. This can be done by going to Projects > Settings and then clicking on the “Notifications” tab.

The default notification settings configure the name and e-mail address that will be used when a notification goes out provided it wasn’t triggered by a specific user. If these are not filled out, it’s possible your e-mail will not reach it’s destination.

Manual Notifications

Once configured, you users can manually send a notification by:

  • Checking the “notify users of update” checkbox when editing a project through the WordPress back-end
  • Changing the status of a document
  • Send a notification through the project page if you have the front end editor add-on installed
  • Uploading a new document if you have the front end uploader add-on installed

Automatic Notifications

You can also enable automatic notifications by indicating which events you’d like to send an e-mail notification and to whom. You can add notifications by going to Projects > Settings > Notifications and scrolling down.

At this time, you can send a notification with the following events happen:

  • A task is completed on the front end
  • A project is completed
  • A task is due today
  • A task is overdue
  • A new comment is left on a project
  • A user is added to a project

Each automatic notification has configurable recipients, subject line and body.

Recipients

You can either enter specific e-mail addresses (separated by a comma) or use the dynamic variable %users% or %target%.

%users% will send a notification to all users on the project.

%target% will send a notification to the user whom the notification is targeted towards, for example the user who has been assigned a task or has been added to a project.

Currently %target% is only supported by the following events:

  • Task is due today
  • Task is overdue
  • User is added to a project
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