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Keeping track of employees' projects & progress

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Rob GrauertKeeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Aug 1, 2011 at 1:37:22 pm

At my job we need to figure out how to keep track of everyone's projects, progress, ETA, etc. It has to be something we can all glance at to see what everyone is up to.

A dry erase calendar seems like the logical solution, but I was wondering if anyone of you have found something more efficient. Any ideas?

Rob Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com


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Mark SuszkoRe: Keeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Aug 1, 2011 at 2:40:56 pm

We use a customized version of MS Sharepoint. There's another product I don't use but I really like, called Studiosuite8. (might be a higher version number than that since I last checked them)

You might also look at:
http://www.lantiv.com/

and

ScheduAll Edge,

or


Xytechsystems' entry-level "Express" product.


The key to any of these systems, from a simple magnet board or white board, all the way to Schedu-All, is dedicated and organized data entry. If your team members don't update the d-base in a timely fashion, nobody knows anything for sure.

Another issue is root access: if any guy in the shop can and does modify the schedule at will, again, you have no way to know what's really happening. I reccomend everybody has rights to read the schedule, but only one person has access to be able to edit the data at a time; one person to be in charge of the data entry and posting, and all the others in the shop check in with that person thruout the day to update them, then THEY update the d-base.

I will say Schedu-all is the big gun in this area, unequivocalby the top of the lie do-it-all that all the Big Guys use... but that can also be a problem, if you are a really small shop.

We struggled to get Schedu-All's attention in a timely manner when we were shopping for our systems. When we finally got a conference call on the phone, we got that vibe of when you walk into the MErceded dealership and are impertinent enough to ask what the car costs. To be fair, they can't make the best estimate of your specific package until they get some details out of you, but still, after all that, we still found them unnecessarily cagey on the phone. And by the time they got back to us, it was just too late; we ran out of time to wait for them and moved on to "rolling our own" using the Microsoft product. They might still be worth looking inti though because I think they saw the economy and the market and since that time we talked, they have some more options for the smaller shop with "junior" versions of their product.


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Rob GrauertRe: Keeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Aug 1, 2011 at 3:46:14 pm

Great info. Thanks :D

Rob Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com


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Al BergsteinRe: Keeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Aug 2, 2011 at 2:40:31 pm

Sharepoint is good possibility, with a lot of flexibility. I've managed a Sharepoint site, and some of the issues if you are using Active Directory for internal users and non active directory login for outside consultants make setup a bit more problematic, but it still is a great tool. It seems to be a bit less elegant for Mac users, since it takes advantage of Windows integration. But I have used it with a Mac, and it does work. The person managing Sharepoint should be on Windows (and preferably on Windows 7). I recommend Sharepoint to most people, when I do IT consulting, which is a sideline business I do, given my background.

Basecamp is an 'cloud' based solution you might look at.

A sophisticated Excel spreadsheet or Access database might also do the job just fine, if you lock input to various cells. Or you could create a 'rollup' spreadsheet to track just what users need to see, and hide the underlying data from prying eyes. Also, Microsoft Project or other project management tool can create Timeline and Gannt charts that people like to see, as can Powerpoint, albeit it in a less sophisticated way. I've worked in large corporations doing project tracking, and often they use very simple methods. Trying to create something too complex, can lead to frustration. Look at MS Project's web site to see the various ways to track projects, and it does connect to Sharepoint, but the higher end version does require a great deal of focus on someone's part. It is likely to be overkill, and I have encountered companies that have abandoned server based Project attempts because of the complexity of the application.

You didn't mention how many users the solution needs to support, how many tasks, the kind of security you need for the various phases ( a management call) and the kind of security for the various users, the kind of tasks you are tracking (timeline vs. budget vs. phase) That could seriously guide your choice, but given that you are only using a whiteboard now, it seems like the assumption is you are a small team! What are the specific goals you are needing to track? i.e. Are we ontime? Are we on budget? What % of completion are we at? What are the next tasks we need to address? etc. You also didn't mention whether your teams are using Mac, Windows, a mix, or simply all online (cloud) based.

Alf


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Scott CarnegieRe: Keeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Aug 2, 2011 at 6:21:33 pm

Google Docs, spreadsheet

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Max KaiserRe: Keeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Aug 3, 2011 at 10:08:29 pm

Farmer's Wife is also really cool, but on the higher end of the price spectrum.

Max Kaiser
Director
Hand Crank Films
http://www.handcrankfilms.com

Various Intel
FCP 7
OS 10.5
RED/XDCAM/7D


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Ben StarkeyRe: Keeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Aug 10, 2011 at 11:57:28 pm

Sounds like you're in great need of a FileMaker Pro networked database.

Ben Starkey
Colorist


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Mark SuszkoRe: Keeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Aug 11, 2011 at 12:17:30 am

StudioSuite 8 is in fact a customized, production-facility-specific "skin" running on top of File Maker Pro. Nothing you couldn't make yourself, if you're good with FMP, but if it's that affordable and someone else has already done the work and all the bug testing, why re-invent the wheel, I say. Just as with staring compositing projects from a template.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Keeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Aug 11, 2011 at 12:17:58 am

StudioSuite 8 is in fact a customized, production-facility-specific "skin" running on top of File Maker Pro. Nothing you couldn't make yourself, if you're good with FMP, but if it's that affordable and someone else has already done the work and all the bug testing, why re-invent the wheel, I say. Just as with starting compositing projects from a template.


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walter biscardiRe: Keeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Aug 11, 2011 at 2:15:55 am

We use Studio Suite 9 which is a customized Filemaker Pro database. VERY very deep and we're only using a small portion of it quite honestly as we figure it all out, but it is handy.

The only kind of a pain is the part where the employees actually enter in their hours is a bit clunky and we're hoping they improve that. Also rather pricey per seat so we only have two seats right now.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

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Mike CohenRe: Keeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Aug 19, 2011 at 9:35:44 pm

We started using Basecamp this year. It is good for projects that have either lots of people or lots of assets or both. It eliminates long email threads and keeps files up to date. This is not just for video projects. If we are planning a meeting or event it is a great way to keep everything in one place.

It has a time tracking feature which we have not started using yet. As others have said, they key is getting people to use it without it taking over their lives.

Mike Cohen


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Terre deanRe: Keeping track of employees' projects & progress
by on Apr 18, 2014 at 7:08:39 am

Need any assistance in tracking employees. Visit here: http://www.labortimetracker.com/roadmap.cfm


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