Every organization, small or big, has to make sure that everybody is on the same track in order to reach their goals. Vision needs to be mapped to strategy and strategy to concrete goals which everybody inside the organization is aware of. OKRs is one of the frameworks that helps organizations to achieve that and there is a number of large companies (Google amongst them) that are successfully using it to navigate their growth.
OKRs stands for Objectives and key results. The main idea is that you set a goal (or objective) that you want to achieve and then set a list of key results which are necessary to consider the goal achieved. Lumeer’s OKRs template will help you with that.
There is one important thing about the key results: they have to be measurable.
“Increase the number of customers” is not a good example, as it is hard to tell if the key result was achieved – is it enough to get one more customer? Then your key result is “Increase the number of customers by one”.
Do you want to increase the number by 10%? Then your key result is “Increase the number of customers by 10%”.
Key results are results that need to be achieved, but we are still missing one important thing here. We need actionable items to be performed and assigned to concrete people. In the template, we call them Initiatives:
There is another view in the template that shows you how Initiatives are assigned to Employees. Notice how colour coding shows the progress at the first sight:
Key results are to be achieved over a mid-term period, but Initiatives have a much shorter timespan. Timeline is an ideal perspective for data that represent event that has duration.
Now let’s get to actual tracking of the progress. Everything that should be automated can automated in Lumeer!
First, key result’s Progress is calculated from Start, Target and State values by a function (denoted by a small “f(x)” symbol):
Then, objective’s Progress is calculated by a function from its key results (also denoted by “f(x)”):
That means that you don’t have to watch and manually update progress values: by updating State of the key result, both Progress values are updated automatically!
You can then view Objectives in a chart to see their progress immediately:
The template also contains a view for displaying progress of key results by quarter. We have to admit that sum of progress values (which is set up in the template) maybe isn’t the best metric. No worries – we easily change it from sum to average and save the new configuration:
After you set those OKRs, well, there is nothing less to do than to work on them (which only you have the knowledge and expertise to do) and track them to see if you are going in the right direction!
It is relatively easy to track work progress if you work alone or in a very small team. However, as your team starts to grow, it becomes more and more difficult. Without setting up a proper process and workflow, scaling up is impossible.
How can we represent such a workflow? Well, one way of doing it is to look at the process as a series of transitions from one state to another (e.g. “To Do”, “In Progress”, “Done”). Lumeer gives you complete freedom in setting up task statuses. Therefore, you can set up any workflows your company has, without any limitations.
Task statuses increase productivity
There are multiple reasons why tracking task statuses improves your productivity:
- Effectiveness – if you set the status to “In Progress” once you start working on the task, you immediately see what you are currently working on and find it easily.
- Transparency – teammates and colleagues see what you are working on.
- Clarity – you see what tasks are waiting for you, how much work is left, what needs your attention.
- Prioritisation – you see what’s in progress and should be worked on and finished first – ideal if you want to follow Kanban’s “Stop starting and start finishing“.
- Better processes – no task can get to an “unknown” stuck state, where nobody knows what to do with it and nobody is responsible for it.
- Automation – you can completely get rid of manual steps like entering when the work on the task started or how long it took. Everything can be set up in rules triggered by state change.
Set up and track the workflow
Let’s use the table Tasks from Lumeer’s Project tracker template. We add a new attribute (column) called Status and set its type to Selection. There are four options which represent different state of the workflow: To Do, In Progress, Closed and Won’t Do.
We then set the status for all tasks…
… and switch the perspective to Board. In configuration, we tell Lumeer which attribute contains values that are to be used as board columns – in our case, it is of course Status.
Our tasks flow from To Do to In Progress to Closed status, or can go to Won’t Do status at any time. We want to preserve that in the board, therefore we drag and drop columns and switch their order.
Board perspective can also notify you on tasks which are due soon or even past due, if you configure which attribute represents due date.
Also, you can mark some statuses as “done” statuses. That means that if the task is in one of done statuses, it is finished and its due date is not highlighted, eliminating distraction.
Are you ready to set up workflows in your organization? Sign into Lumeer and do it today!
In the introduction to attribute types, we mentioned an example with the duration of the event, and that it can’t be captured in spreadsheets:
“If the first task takes you 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete and the second task takes 1 hour and 40 minutes, you will say that together it took 3 hours and 10 minutes instead of 2 hours and 70 minutes, won’t you?”
From our experience and conversations with many business owners and entrepreneurs, we know that there is often need to store such data. Therefore we introduced Duration attribute type to Lumeer and in this post, we are going to have a closer look at it.
In Work tracker template, employees can track their work on multiple projects and log the time in a human-friendly format.
All you need to do is to set attribute type to Duration and choose the time scope – either Work (8 hours a day, 5 days a week), Normal (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or Custom.
The time records that employees create are much more useful when they are aggregated. In pivot table, we can see in one comprehensible table, how much time was spent by who on which project:
Next time, we will look at Address and Coordinates attribute types.
This is the third post in the series about Attribute types in Lumeer. In the first post, we introduced the concept of Attribute types, and in the second post, we focused on Number and Percentage types. Now we are going to look closer at another type: Date.
Let’s start with an example: Consider this table which we use to store information about tasks. It contains a summary of the task, start date and due date. We add the first row – you can of course enter dates without attribute type set and Lumeer will treat them as a text.
Then more people start to collaborate on the table and add new records. If they are guest users, they don’t even see other records (and their date formats) and this can easily result in a situation similar to this:
Obviously, such a situation is not desired and we want to prevent it from happening. Date attribute type does exactly that – you can set the format and also set minimum or maximum value if you wish. There is a list of pre-defined formats and you can even create your own ones (see the list of supported formulas).
Invalid values in the third row are now underlined – that way you or your colleagues will easily spot them…
… and fix them. What’s more, after clicking into the cell, a datepicker will appear. When you select a date, it is automatically saved in the correct format.
So far, we have been looking at the data only through table perspective. However, there are visually more comprehensible perspectives that will make working with time and dates more effective. Let’s look at them!
First, we extend this table with more records. Actually, we will use table Tasks from Lumeer’s Project tracker template:
Switching the perspective to Timeline gives you a much clearer view of the tasks, and, what’s more, you can set and display task dependencies there.
Timeline is ideal for getting an overview of data which have both start and end date and took longer time. But it is not suitable for following data from Candidates coordination template, because:
- Interviews have exact times.
- Interviews don’t have end dates.
- We are usually interested in a shorter timespan when viewing them – e.g. next day, week or month.
Well, if you imagined times before computers, probably nobody would take notes of events (such as interviews) in the form of timeline. Instead, they would use a calendar. And that’s exactly what you can do also in Lumeer! Just switch the perspective to Calendar:
To reschedule an event, you don’t have to go back to Table perspective – drag’n’drop will do that:
Next time, we will look at Duration attribute type.
You might not only be a business offering contractors to have employees working on multiple projects at the same time.
The important question you often need to answer is what skills do you have available and when for you to commit to the next big project.
It would be great if we could find such an answer easily and quickly. Many companies use spreadsheets or some other workarounds to deal with this, however, it brings only a partial relief.
In Lumeer, we can easily manage all the information and have a single source of truth available to everyone.
Let’s start with tracking our team members and projects.
The first unique value of Lumeer is that we can put our data into relations – we can link team members to projects.
There can be multiple relations with various meanings. In our case it means who works on which project.
This is overly simplified as not everybody typically works on a project from the very beginning till the very end. Especially when a project has a longer time span.
To track more details, we can add additional attributes (or columns if you will) to the link. We can add the start and end date of an assignment and also the allocation percentage.
We can easily share only the relevant piece of the linked tables with all team members so that they can manage their part.
Now we can have a look at how to get a quick overview of our team utilisation. We can see that in Timelines.
We need a bit of a preparation. Every table row can be linked to an arbitrary amount of other rows. This needs to aggregate linked table rows which Timelines do not support yet. Lumeer will automate that soon, but for now, we create a helper column in the link that collects the progress percentage and project name.
As we can see, it is now obvious, where we have enough resources available to commit ourselves to a new project.
On the left, we can see the list of our employees and on the right side, there are the time lines representing the assignment of individual employees to the projects. The percentage values denote the assignment proportions out of each team member’s time.
As a bonus, we can see the Projects on an agile Board grouped by their state. We can even easily see projects that are due soon or past due.
With Lumeer, you’ll make your organisation as efficient as possible!
Gone are the days when computers needed all information to be indexed with a number. Well not gone, but the computers stopped bothering us – users – with these boring numbers.
Yet, we still love the IDs or codes to track individual records, or table rows if you wish. This allows us to easily share information with our colleagues, especially over the phone.
So the codes are very practical and can speed up our daily routines.
Most typically, project tasks have their codes. Like
It would not be very convenient for us to search for the most recently used number manually and add it to a newly created task. Let’s have a look how Lumeer can do that automatically .
It is very simple. The desired outcome it as depicted below with the first column to be generated automatically.
We first open the Tasks table configuration.
And on the Rules tab, we create a new rule of type Blockly which allows us to set a value of a table row (also called document or record) upon its creation.
Here we built a simple rule that sets the attribute Code of the newly created document in the Tasks table to a string composed of a prefix
LUMEER- and a value from a sequence called tasksSequence aligned to at least 4 digits.
A sequence is an ever increasing number that gets higher automatically every time it is read. We can save the rule and give it a try by creating a new task. Remember, we do not need to fill in the code.
The rule automatically filled in the code. However, the number is not correct. We already had two tasks, so we want the sequence to continue.
We can fix the added line manually and we want the next task to be assigned the code
LUMEER-0004. Let’s open project configuration.
There we can see all the sequences we ever used in the rules. The counter is the last used number. So we want to set it to 3.
And let’s give it one more try in the table.
Et voila! Problem solved. Now you can easily ask you colleague to help you and carry on some work on the task
Next, we’ll see how to move the task tracking to another level using custom workflows in our newly updated Board perspective.