Chapter 1 - Introduction
In this chapter:
This detailed user’s guide will help you become more efficient in taking advantage of all the options provided by the Heaven Industries’ Instant Team application.
Instant Team enables project teams, both small and large, to improve their performance thanks to its efficient support of scheduling, tracking, measuring, and analyzing project activities. This book covers everything you need to know about working with the Instant Team application: from user administration, to using the application when you schedule and later track projects, to customizing the application to your specific needs.
The guide is primarily meant for users of the Instant Team Hosted service provided by the Heaven Industries Company via the Internet. However, it will serve equally well also companies that run Instant Team themselves using their own technical facilities.
This book describes the Instant Team options available on the Standard license level and some of the options of the Professional license level. Nevertheless, as regards customers using the Instant Team Hosted service, which offers the Architect license level, or running their own systems on higher levels, all information contained in the guide is fully applicable. However, they will not learn here about Instant Team functions that are only enabled on their corresponding higher levels.
Instant Team is being continuously improved. New functions appear and some also expire occasionally. This guide describes the functionality according to Version 6.1.2.
In the text below, we use several special conventions that should help you find your way through the book more quickly.
Tips will give you a quick advice on how to use the application more efficiently.
Notes will provide you with more technically oriented tips on using Instant Team. You do not have to read these texts but the detailed information presented there can help some users.
Instant Team is a so-called client/server application based on the Fat Client Technology.
On the one hand, this means that working with the application is very similar to working with common Windows applications and it is thus much more user friendly and comfortable than normal Internet applications. On the other hand, however, this means that we first need to install an Instant Team client on users’ computers.
The installation is performed by a self-installation file, which you can download at any time from the Instant Team service web pages. You will find detailed instructions in our confirmation of your registration.
Warnings will explain to you the potentially negative effects of an operation or action particularly if it can have serious or outright disastrous consequences, such as loss of data or their inconsistency.
You can read the entire guide sequentially from the beginning to the end or choose only chapters that are important to you. The following brief chapter description could help you with your selection:
You have almost finished reading the first chapter, Introduction, already. It showed you what you can expect from the guide and how to find your way through it.
In the second chapter, Let’s start, you will become familiar with the detailed principles of Instant Team operation. You will learn how to navigate Instant Team, where to get help within the system, and how to work with databases, records, and reports.
In the next chapter, Administration, we describe how to add other users to your workgroup, how access rights work in Instant Team and how to work with resources. You will also learn here how to import data from MS Project into Instant Team and how to prepare templates for your projects. Workgroup and resource administration in Instant Team is reserved for users that have been assigned the “Administrator” role and hence this chapter is mainly meant for them.
In the fourth chapter, Projects, you will learn how to start a project and how to use Instant Team to share project documents, status meeting minutes, etc.
The following chapter, Task scheduling, will show you how to create the work breakdown structure for a project and how to use manual or automatic resource utilization for this purpose. This chapter describes how to work with task predecessors and successors as well as how to analyze the critical path in a project. It is aimed at users in the “Manager” role because other users do not have the right to create the work breakdown structure.
The sixth chapter, Task tracking, then describes how project team members find out about their tasks, how they can inform project managers about progress of work on these tasks, and, vice versa, how project managers can best analyze the advancement of work. You will also learn how to keep the project plan always up-to-date and how project managers can approve completion of the individual tasks. And last but not least, this chapter describes how to work with baseline plans.
The seventh chapter, Timesheets, contains a description of timesheet processing. You will learn how to use Instant Team for retrospective or continuous reporting of work on the tasks and how project managers can analyze and approve these reports.
Chapter Appointments will explain to project leaders how to schedule appointments for members of their teams, and it will explain to team members how to proceed when translating the appointments scheduled in Instant Team to other applications or devices they are accustomed to use when creating their time schedule.
In the ninth chapter, Costs, you will learn about project financial planning in Instant Team.
In the tenth chapter, Report customization, you will find out how you can customize reports defined in Instant Team already on the Standard license level and how to share the customization within your workgroup.
Chapters eleven to sixteen focus on the Professional license level users. The functionalities described there are not available to the Standard license level users.
The eleventh chapter, Advanced report customization, describes the ways of creating your own reports and features of full report customization. You will learn how to adjust the content of a report, how to group records according to individual fields and also how to define filters, parameters, and layout of the individual reports.
Chapter twelve, Customizing fields and records, deals with customization of windows displaying the details of individual records. It describes methods of creating new user fields and arrangement possibilities of detailed views of individual records.
The brief chapter thirteen, Color customization, explains how administrators can set conditional color-coding of records depending on individual field values.
Chapters fourteen and fifteen, Custom imports and Data exports, deal with data exchange options between Instant Team and other systems and applications. You will learn there how to import data into Instant Team from external structured sources, including creating of your own import formulas, and how to export data from Instant Team.
The last chapter sixteen, Customization administration, summarizes advanced settings that make it possible for workgroup administrators to turn on and off specific parametrization functions of Instant Team.