Getting Started With Coordinate
What is Coordinate
Coordinate is a new way for you to manage projects when you need to collaborate with people outside of your own organization (e.g. clients, other departments, vendors, etc.). For you, it’s much like any other project management software you might be familiar with. For your collaborators it’s lightweight, intuitive, and feels like an extension of your business.
Creating your first project plan
After signing up, the first thing most users do is create a project. Since you’ll be collaborating with others that may not be as familiar with your processes or terms, it’s always good to keep the audience in mind when setting up your plans. Note that Projects may also be associated with one or more Customer organizations. If you're working with customers/clients you might want to create a Customer first by going to the "Customers" page.
Projects in Coordinate consist of the following:
- Project Name
This is typically the name of the customer or client and may be more specific if you run multiple projects with the same orgs. For example, when working with client “ABC Law” you can make the name simply that or you might want to have “ABC Law - Q2 Consulting Engagement”. The name is always in the header of the page for stakeholders.
Tasks are individual items that need to be completed in the overall plan. Tasks can be assigned to specific people to complete, so be sure to include all details the assignee might need to be able to understand and complete the task.
- Task Groups
Think of these as folders to organize and categorize tasks. Task Groups might represent higher level milestones in the project or might divide tasks up by type of activity or who needs to address them. Groups can be assigned colors to help distinguish them in the various views.
Goals are meant to capture the desired end result of the overall plan. What is it that you or the collaborators are looking to accomplish when the project is completed? Tracking goals is a great way to keep everyone motivated as well as keep a history of when targets change. Once a goal is completed you can notify stakeholders to collect their feedback!
Stakeholders are anyone that should have access to the plan whether they will be assigned tasks or just need to keep tabs on the progress. All Coordinate plans come with unlimited external stakeholders, so feel free to invite as many as you need to.
Setting up your branding
Once you’ve created your first project plan, you probably want to set up your branding before inviting Stakeholders. The branding options in Coordinate let you make the project plan pages feel like an extension of your own business with your logo and colors.
To get started with branding, you can click on your company name in the header of any project plan or go to Settings > Branding. The options for branding are as follows:
- Company Name
This is the name of your organization as you want it to appear to Stakeholders.
Upload your logo. Logos can either be a graphical logo only or a logo that also has your company name. If your logo has the company name in it, you will want to use the Hide company name setting so the name isn't listed twice.
- Background color
This is the background color in the header area for all pages and emails from Coordinate.
- Text color
This is the text color in the header area for all pages and emails from Coordinate.
Once you have things set up, click “Apply Changes” to save. You should now see your branding reflected on your projects!
Also note that when Stakeholders access your projects, they will not see the “Coordinate” toolbar at the top of the page so they will just see your branded header!
Working with Stakeholders
Stakeholder on a project is anyone that you want to keep informed of the project details and progress, someone you need to assign tasks to, or someone that you want to communicate and collaborate with. All Coordinate plans come with unlimited Stakeholders, so you should feel free to give access to anyone who needs it!
Stakeholders differ from licensed Coordinate users in a few key ways:
- Stakeholder access is granted per project, but users may access all projects
- Stakeholders may not edit the project plan (e.g. due dates, descriptions, or adding new tasks)
- Stakeholders do not need to log in - Stakeholders always get a unique token link in all communications so they can easily access the plan without logging in.
So what can Stakeholders do? They can:
- Update Task statuses and complete Tasks
- Mark Goals as achieved
- Invite other Stakeholders
- Comment on Tasks and Goals including attaching files
To invite stakeholders, click “+ Add Stakeholder” on the right side of your project plan under the appropriate organization. When adding, an email address and name are required. Some options are presented while adding a stakeholder:
- Enable Access to the Plan Page (on by default)
This option determines whether the Stakeholder will be able to see the entire project plan or only those tasks you have assigned to them. Most often Stakeholders are given full plan access, but if you have internal information or are working with a 3rd party that doesn’t need all of the details, you can keep them focused on their assigned tasks by disabling plan access.
- Optional Message
By default Coordinate will send an invitation to the Stakeholder with a stock message for example “Jon Allen from Coordinate has invited you to Collaborate”. If you want to include your own invitation message, you can specify that here.
Collaboration is key in Coordinate, and there are a number of ways to engage with Stakeholders on your projects. The main collaboration features are:
- Discussion threads
Any user or Stakeholder can leave a comment on any Task or Goal in a Coordinate project. By default, the assigned manager of the project gets notified by email of all comments. Similarly, the assignee on a task will be notified of all comments on that task. Beyond the defaults, you may choose to notify other Stakeholders in your comment by using the @ symbol and selecting the Stakeholder from the menu that appears.
When you or a Stakeholder get notified of a comment by email, there is a link to view the full discussion thread and respond, or you can simply respond to the email to post your response!
- Task assignment & reminders
When you assign a task to a Stakeholder, they will be able to see those tasks on the Your Tasks page. This makes it easy for them to review what they need to do and complete tasks quickly. In addition, you can using Coordinate to send reminder emails for outstanding tasks - either by manually clicking on “Send a reminder” or by setting up automatic reminders for each Stakeholder.