INSTANT TEAM - MAIN FUNCTIONS
Planned and monitored tasksWork breakdown structure is represented as a hierarchical tree of tasks. You can assign resources to individual tasks, estimate effort needed and planned start and end date. Dependencies between tasks can be entered in the form of predecessor-successor relations.
Plans can include tasks with recurring pattern.
Each user is presented with a set of reports to better understand user's role in the project and to see her/his current and planned tasks including a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly calendar.
Project managegers have at their disposal tools for the project status tracking, task completion approval, manual or automatic project plan update and time based project progress analysis.
The system automatically checks for eventual conflicts in the plan, like overutilized resources, tasks starting sooner then their predecessors end etc.
It is also possible to use three variants of automatic scheduling: by predecessors, by successors and by resource availability. With automatic scheduling the system updates planned task start and end dates on its own according to planned end date of its predecessors, planned start date of its successors, effort estimate and free capacity of the assigned resource. When using scheduling by predecessors the system schedules the task as soon as possible according to its predecessors but regardless of the assigned resource capacity. When using scheduling by successors it schedules the task as late as possible according to its successors but again regardless of the assigned resource capacity. In the last case it schedules the task as soon as possible according to its predecessors but at the same time prevents overutilization of the assigned resource.
Acceptance and approving tasksResource owners have their tasks clearly sorted according to their urgency. New tasks assigned to them are first taken over and then sent for approval after completion.
Tasks may then be approved by project leaders, by tasks authors, by parent or follower task owners, or by directly specified users at the project or task level.
Planning projects according to production standardsYou can now select type of project or project template to production with the use of standards for the production of a number of pieces or standards of production for a given period of time.
Then the effort, and hence the schedule for selected tasks in this project, can be calculated according to quantity to produce in the project, given ratio and standards for the task. There is also a quantitative the project plan, the ability to adjust the standards during the project lifetime and to compare the actual performance to standards.
Sharing of project documents, e-mails and appointmentsYou can plan appointments, share important e-mails, documents, status meeting minutes, project deliverables etc. within the project teams.
Group resourcesResources database is hierarchical therefore resources may contain subresources and these again sub-subresources. Capacity of group resources (ie. resources with subresources) then consist of their own capacity, which may be zero, and unused capacity of its subresources.
Instant Team checks that the capacity of individual resources was not exceeded by the tasks assigned to them and that the total capacity of the group was not exceeded by the tasks assigned to the group resource or any of the individual resources.
You can set substitutions for resources, who have possiblility to take over the task.
Absences planningInstant Team contains a report for planning absence of resources (such as vacations or illness) that helps to plan resource utilization. Resource owners can create requests that can be further approved.
Gantt chartActual project plan is available in the form of an easily understandable Gantt chart that clearly shows the planned task start and end, task dependencies and resource assignments. For greater clarity can be displayed even without working time.
End-to-start, end-to-end, start-to-start and start-to-end relationships are available, and it is also possible to specify the successor lag or lead over the predecessor of the task.
You can also create dependencies between tasks and change their scheduled task time using the mouse directly in the Gantt chart to facilitate your work.
Baseline planInstant Team allows you to save your actual project plan, planned effort and costs into an unlimited number of baseline plans that are then available for comparison to the actual plan or to each other.
Graphical comparison is available in the project window as individual dashboard that displays duration, effort and cost variance and percent incomplete of the project.
A detailed comparison is available in the form of a Gantt chart and overview report for a selected project or for the entire project portfolio.
Overview reports and dashboards are complemented by a clear color matching of actual plan compliance / mismatch with the baseline plan.
Critical pathThe application continually calculates free float and total float of individual project tasks and allows you to graphically display the critical path in the project. Therefore you never miss an opportunity to shorten the project duration. It can also help you to concentrate on the particular tasks that are critical for the success of your on-going project.
Setting working hoursYou can set up unlimited number of work calendar that control working days and working hours. Those calendars are then assigned to resources where they are used to calculate resource utilization and for task scheduling.
Notices about changesInstant Team highlights new and changed tasks, projects and other records by printing them in bold font. This highlighting applies to records that the user have never seen or were changed after the user saw them last time.
Users can also force or suppress the highlighting using the "Mark as unread/read" function.
This highlighting applies also to databases, reports and groups containing unread records what makes looking for unread records easier.
Users can be notified about new and changed records by e-mail. This email automatically includes a record shortcut attachment. In response to opening the attachment, Instant Team is displayed and the user is brought to the specific record.
Record shortcut files can also be created by users via the "Save link as …" function.
Alerts for tasks and appointmentsInstant Team automatically alerts users of their tasks that were scheduled to start already, missed planned completion or task rejection. It is also possible to set the advance notice.
The system also alerts on tasks for acceptance, tasks marked as completed and pending approval.
Project managers are alerted to the scheduling conflicts.
Participants are alerted on upcoming appointments.
All alerts can be sent by e-mail.
Statistics and analysisInstant Team includes number of reports for project status analysis, planned resource usage, project progress, reported project work analysis etc.
These reports can be filtered by a number of parameters and are fully interactive. It is thus simple to go from summary information to detail during the analysis, to change the displayed time range, to view individual records, to sort by any displayed column, to search for text in the report or eventually to modify the displayed values. For example in the resource utilization report, it is possible to change directly task assignments.
Reporting of time spent on tasksTimesheets can be entered manually or recorder automatically thanks to the built-in stop-watch. Project managers can later approve the timesheets and analyze them.
Integration CapabilitiesReports can be exported in HTML, PDF, CSV, iCalendar, Atom, SQL and imported in CSV, iCalendar, SQL and LDIF/LDAP. Predefined import from MS Project is also available.
HTML format is language for creating web pages and the output can be formated using CSS styles. It is also possible to initiate data changes using HTML exports.
CSV format is compatible with most applications, such as Microsoft Excel. It is also used for integration with enterprise and production systems.
iCalendar format can be used for automatic import of appointments and tasks to Microsoft Outlook, Gmail or other calendar applications, or for smartphones too.
Atom is a standard XML format that can be used for example for integration with PowerPivot/PowerQuery for Excel.
The SQL format ensures continuous data synchronization between Instant Team and SQL database. It is available in the dialects for MS SQL and MySQL.
LDIF/LDAP format is used to update data in a directory server (Active Directory, Open LDAP).
Imports / Exports can be run manually, in batches without user interaction or planned at predefined times.
Export results can be sent to selected users by email or can be accessible over the web.
Import inputs can also be obtained from the Web.
Project templatesIf you have more similar projects in your portfolio, you can create project templates that you can easily create new projects from. You can then modify the individual project as you wish.
One of the templates can be selected as the default template and then will be automatically used during creating new projects.
You can also easily create a project template from an existing real project and then refine it further. Knowledge and project methodology sharing between your projects is thus much simpler and you also save a lot of work this way.
Customer relationship managementWhen you turn on "Customer Relationship Management" in workgroup settings, users in the role of "Salesperson" can start to manage accounts, contacts, leads and business opportunities in Instant Team.
You can also configure business processes for opportunity management to more consistently develop, analyse and forecast business opportunities.
For e-mail communication you can use templates, in which can be used substitutions in the text of your emails, which are automatically filled in by the appropriate information from the company window, opportunity, etc.
Financial managementYou can enter hourly rates for the project resources or even individual task and/or cost of material into Instant Team and it then automatically calculates planned and actual costs for the project. Furthermore, you can display timing of the cost accrual in a handy cash-flow chart.