Projects are similar
Most project plans are similar. You may have elaboration phase, a planning / prototyping phase, actual execution of the project and then project completion / handover phase. You would also want that your projects follow a defined process of execution. You would want to follow the same design brief, same categories and structure of the project plan. You may also have 3-4 variations on the process based on the project type.
How do you manage this?
Creating same kind of structure for every new project is a waste of time. So how do you cut it short? Well, use templates!
activeCollab allows you to create new projects from a template project. You choose a project group as “template group” and all projects under it can then be used as a template while creating a new project. Creating a new project like this copies milestones, tickets and checklists. activeCollab will even reschedule your milestones based on start date of the new project.
What’s the catch?
The process of creating new projects from templates does not copy over pages and discussions. Pages and Discussions are very important part of a project – we use pages to gather initial design brief / project requirements. We even want that our discussions are structured similarly across projects. E.g. a discussion for project progress updates, another for clarifications on requirements etc. Not being able to import discussions and pages was a limitation.
acHack – Copy Pages and Discussions while creating a new project from template
This hack adds that missing feature. Creating a new project using a template project will now also copy pages and discussions from your template project to the newly created projects.
Once you install the hack (just unzip and copy files to server), creating a new project from a template will now:
- Copy project Team
- Copy Milestones and schedule their dates from new project’s start date
- Copy Tickets, Ticket Categories, Tasks and Checklists
- Copy Pages, Page Categories, Sub Pages, Tasks and attached Files
- Copy Discussions, Discussion Categories and attached Files
- Associate Tickets, Checklists, Discussions and Pages with appropriate milestones
- Leave out comments, page revisions
Imagine how much time this can save you! You don’t have to manually setup the project structure now. Create it once and use it everywhere.
Create as many template projects as you want
You can create as many template projects as you want. Just place them all under the template projects group. When you create a new project, you will be able to select one of these projects to use a the template.
We use this extensively – saved us more time in training than project planning
We’ve been using template projects and this hack for a while and have found them extremely helpful. More than the time in creating the project plan, it saved us immense hours in client and employee training. We simply had to explain the overall structure and since every project followed it, people could quickly get started.
Checkout the video tutorial
We created a video tutorial to explain every step in using project templates. I believe you may even find nuggets of other useful strategies as you view this tutorial! We crafted it with a lot of love. Go ahead, view the video tutorial on top and give us comments.