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Working With Project Templates

Having a good project template is paramount to making sure workflows are efficient and well managed. This article explains how to add, edit, and delete project templates and provide information on how Projects breakdown to the Task level and Task Item level. Users will also find field descriptions for each level below. 

Tier Availability: Essential, Premium, Business

Security Rights Required: Maintenance

 

Users with the Maintenance Security right can access their firm's project templates by clicking Maintenance > Templates. 

Adding/Editing/Deleting a Template in PensionPro

To Add 

  1. Click the Add button to the right of the Project Templates grid.
  2. An Add/Edit Project Template popup will appear.
  3. Enter a Project Name, Project Type, select a Project Manager and Frequency.
    • Active Projects should have the box for "Template is Active" checked.
    • If the Project will require Web Collection, check the box for Require General Web Collection.
  4. Add any other field information and click Save.  
  5. To Add Task Groupings, Tasks, and Task Items, double-click on the Project Name from the grid and click the Add button on the respective level and enter the required field information.

To Edit

  1. Select a Project Template Type from the Template Type dropdown.
  2. Double-click on the Template to be modified from the Template Type List to open it.
  3. To edit the Project Level, click on the Summary tab and then the Edit button to open the add\edit screen.  
  4. Modify the fields as needed and click on the Save button.
  5. To edit a Task Grouping, Task, or Task Item, double-click to drilldown to the appropriate level, and then click the Edit button to open the add\edit screen. Modify the fields as needed and click on the Save button.

To Delete 

  1. Click once to select the Template, Task Grouping, Task, or Task Item and click on the Delete button and confirm to delete.

To Copy 

Templates may be copied and then modified.  

  1. Click once to select the Template to be copied and then click the Copy button.  
  2. Enter a unique name for the copied template (the system will default to the same name with Copy and a #) and any additional modifications and then click on the Save button.

To Import 

Users have the ability to import an excel version of their project template.

  1. Click on the Import button next to the Template Type Dropdown
  2. Browse and select the template to import, templates must be a proper excel format to import and have a unique name, and the system will import.

To Export 

Users also have the ability to export their project templates to modify in excel.

  1. Select a Project Type from the Template Type dropdown.
  2. Click on the Export button next to the Template Type Dropdown and select the Template Name from the dropdown. Enter the name of the export file and select the location to save. The system will save in excel format.

 

Project Level 

The Project Level is where the "framework" of the project template is stored.  It defines all the parameters. When a project is launched, this information is stored on the Summary Tab of the particular project. 

Fields Displayed on the Project Level:

  • Project Name | This is the name the template.  Every template must have a unique name.
  • Description | This describes the purpose and what the user is trying to accomplish with the project. | Examples include Contributions, Distributions, Annual Administration.
  • Project Type | This is the "Template Type" and is used to categorize the templates for ease of project launching.  Template Type is a List Value and can be customized.
  • Template is Active | Yes/No | When a Template is Active, it can be used to launch a project.
  • Project Manager | This is the Employee Plan Role that is ultimately responsible for this project for the plan it is associated with.
  • Project Frequency | This is the frequency for how often this project will be launched against the plan.  Frequencies of Annual and Non-recurring require launching of the project for each period through Power Tools or on the plan level. All other frequencies, the system will prompt the user upon completion of the final task to confirm launching of the project for the next period.
  • Month End | This is checkbox activated when the frequency is set to quarterly or monthly.  When this box is checked, the system will make the period end the last day of the month regardless if it is the 30th or the 31st.
  • Start Date Offset | This is a computed or a static date set in the project template. It is the date the first task in the project will become active and display on the dashboards.  The calculation is applied to the first day of the project period. The system defaults to a start date of the date the project is launched unless the user defines this date. A start date offset is not required.
  • External Deadline | This is a computed or static date set in the project template to define the project due date for completion. The calculation is applied to the last day in the project period. This is the date the project must be completed.  An external deadline is not required but recommended for processes requiring a regulatory deadline.
  • Require Web Data Collection | This is a checkbox that should be marked if this project is a web collection project. Web collection projects must be stored in the Template type their web collection represents; annual administration, document collection or general web collection.
  • Extends an existing project | This is a checkbox that should be marked if this project is associated with another project to extend is external deadline date. (For example, Form 5558 project will extend the due date of an annual administration project if it contains the Form 5500 preparations task).
  • Can this Project be extended | This is a checkbox that should be marked if this project's external deadline can be extended. 

Additional Fields on the Summary Tab of a Project:

Budget: This is a currency field and should contain the budgeted revenue to be generated from this project. It is currently for reference purposes only but will eventually be utilized in conjunction with our existing time tracking functionality. 

To edit, click on the edit button and enter the amount and save.  It can also be edited through the Power Tool > Field Update > Projects be accessed by opening the project and clicking on the Summary Tab.  

 

Task Grouping Level

The Task Grouping Level is used to organize tasks into groups for reporting and quality control purposes. PensionPro requires a minimum of one task grouping in project templates.

When determining the number and order of task groupings to be used, consider the following:

Reporting 

  • Task groupings are used consolidated reporting based on when stages or benchmarks are reached in a project.
  • Examples of Task Groupings include Data Collection, Eligibility and Testing, Allocations, Forms Preparation, etc.

Quality Control and Review Steps

  • Tasks using the review step functionality allow the user completing that Task the ability to reverse the project direction back to any Task completed prior to it in the Task Grouping the review step Task resides.
  • Users cannot return to tasks in a preceding task group. 

Therefore, when building projects, it is best to determine “When are the review/quality control task(s) completed in the process and how far back should the reviewer to be able to return tasks?”  If the review is only done when everything is complete, a user may only want one task group so they can return to the start.  If reviews are done periodically in a process, users may elect to group the tasks based on their task reviewing responsibility

 

Task Level

The Task Level in the template\project is where Tasks that make up a Task Grouping are located. When a project is launched, Tasks display on the dashboard of the individual or on a Worktray to be completed. Please note: if a Project Start Date is after the current date, the Task will not appear in the dashboard or Worktray until the Project Start Date is current or before the current date.

Tasks are the steps to be performed in the project.  They do have required elements to make them functional and must be identified in the project template.

Tasks must contain detail on “who” will be doing the Task, “how long” they will have to complete the Task, and what “time code” to apply to the Task for time/billing purposes. 

Keep in mind that the “who” determines which dashboard(s) the Task will be displayed on when the Task is activated.  A Task can be assigned to an employee plan role and it will display on the dashboard of the person assigned to that role for the plan.  It can as be assigned to a Worktray and assigned to someone on that Worktray team when it is activated or a combination of the two. 

The "how long" will be contained in the days to complete.  Days to complete is based on business days and it is computed date.  The system will add this number to the date the Task becomes active to compute the Task Due Date on the dashboard(s).

The "time code" is used when time to complete is recorded for the task. The user will click on the clock button at the top right of an open task and a time slip will appear pre-populated with all of the information for the Task so the user only need enter their time worked on this Task.  The time slip can be viewed within the project or on the time slip tab. 

When a Task becomes active in an open project, the user will be required to complete the Task by working through the required task items contained in it (if any), saving the response and then completing the Task by clicking on the Complete Task button before the next task in the project will automatically become active. 

The Complete Task Button is a dropdown with three options.  The user can elect to do one of the following:

  • "Complete Task" and the Task will be recorded as completed on the said date and time and the user will be returned to the dashboard for the next Task selection.
  • "Complete & Next" and the Task will be recorded as completed on the said date and time and the user and the next Task in the project will open and appear for processing.
  • "Complete & Stay" and the Task will be recorded as completed on the said date and time and the user will remain on the current screen.

Override Tasks

Security Rights Required: Task Override

If the user has the Task Override Security Right, the user has the ability to override Tasks within a project. This can be important if a Project was abandoned or if a Task needs to be overridden to move forward in the Project.

To override a Task from the My Tasks Dashboard:

  1. Double-click a Task from the My Task Dashboard to open the Project Task.
  2. Click the Up arrow from the blue Task Detail banner at the top of the screen.
  3. In the Project Tasks Grid, click the Override button. This will complete the Task overridden and activate the following Task.  

Fields Displayed:

  • Name | Enter the name of the Task. | The name is what will be displayed on the dashboard(s) for the user. | For example, ADP/ACP Testing or Contributions Review or Document Draft.
  • Time Codes | Enter the time codes for this Task. | If time is not to be tracked, simply enter code 999 in this area.
  • Assigned to | Enter the “Employee Plan Role” that is responsible for completing this Task in the project. If this Task is being assigned to a Worktray choose "Unassigned" or leave blank. | For example, if it is preliminary data review Task, this might be assigned to an administrative support person, or possibly an administrator or analyst.  Users will be able to pick from the roles that have been set up in their system. 
    • If a Task is assigned to an Employee Plan Role, the Plan must have an employee assigned to this role before the project can be launched against the Plan. If the Plan does not have the role referenced in the project template assigned, users will get an error message that the Plans has not assigned the role referenced by the template. Users must add the Employee Plan Role before attempting to relaunch the project. 
  • Review Step | Check this box if this Task is a “Review” Task.  This will enable the functionality for the user to return to project back to completed tasks within this Task grouping for modification. The assigned user can also view the answers to previous Task Items within this Task Grouping. The user cannot view Task Item answers in another Task Grouping or send the project back to a Task in another Task Grouping.
  • Days to Complete | Enter the number of business days to give the user to complete this Task. This will be based on the user's internal firm performance standards. 
  • Worktray | Enter the Worktray (Team) this Task should be assigned to. Tasks can be assigned through a Worktray to a member of the team to complete it. Tasks are also assigned to Worktray for monitoring of project progress in "real time" versus a report. If this Task is being assigned to an "Employee Plan Role" choose "Unassigned" or leave blank.
  • Event | Enter the Name of an Event if the Task should be included in the Event tracking for Complete and Remaining Task Counts for the selected Event. Please note that the other business rules outlined in the Event Configuration. This field is only available for Business Tier users.

ALL TASKS MUST BE ASSIGNED TO EITHER AN EMPLOYEE PLAN ROLE OR A WORKTRAY FOR COMPLETION.

 

Task Item Level

The Task Items in a Project contain the steps or instructions to complete a task. 

Task Items are part of a Task and detail the “hows” of the process.  Many times these are the items users previously outlined on an internal checklist.  They include instructions such as: “Verify compensation definition in the plan and compare to compensation received” or "Download Statements from the Vendor(s) holding assets".  Task items allow users to visualize the instructions in the system versus through external sources.  Details are given in text form and can require a response. They also can contain a hyperlink(s) allowing for direct file access, links to mapped drive to retrieve or store documents, links to applications to launch programs or a URL address on the web. These links are viewable internally and on plansponsorlink.com as part of a questionnaire.

Task Items can require a response such as a checkbox, date, text and dropdown lists from which to select. These are called template data types and are customized in Maintenance > List Values > Template > Template Data Types. The system is designed with a number of different response types and users may create their own customized list values.

Project Fields are tags that are associated with the response to give access to the info provided. They allow for viewing of the data from the plan details and project details screens as well as being available for reports and queries.  Project Fields are created through Maintenance > List Values > Core > Projects > Project Fields.  Select the Project Field Name to tie to the Task Item responses.  A Project Field can only be used once within a project template.

Marking a task item as “required” mandates that when the user is completing this task they MUST provide a response to this item or they will not be able to proceed in the project by completing this task.  It is a level of control that ensures tasks are being completed as designed and not being skipped or looked over. 

Task Items are not required in a task for the project template to function. Each question in a Questionnaire of a Web Collection Project is a Task Item.  All the same rules apply. 

Fields Displayed:

  • Item | Add steps in the text box shown. Be sure to ask good questions with valid answers. Ask, “Does the plan pass 410(b)?”  The answer really can’t be no.  A better question might be, “Verify that the plan passes 410(b) and attach the worksheet to the project”.  The answer is then a checkbox.  If the Task Item should be really detailed, users could embed all their steps here.  Good questions are the key to good projects.  Ideally, the project should eliminate any other paper notes or spreadsheets in the user's process.  To build a hyperlink into the item use the following syntax:  To open a folder:  [S:\Sample Documents]; To open a document:  [S:\Sample Documents\Sample Basic Plan Document.pdf]; or To open a URL address: [http://www.pensionpro.com]. Be sure to always enclose the link address in "[]" brackets!
  • Data Type | The scope of answers to Task Item questions is nearly unlimited as PensionPro allows users to create their own answer types if they do not exist in the system. Answers can be as simple as a Checkbox or Yes/No, or can ask for dates or text entry. Additionally, users can create dropdown answers to match virtually anything they would like to ask in a template.  If a Data Type isn't available on the list, users can add a new Data Type List Value. 
  • Answer Required | If this box is checked, the user working on the task must answer the question. So if the user has a task item in their template that might be left blank, do not make the answer required. For example, if users have a question that says, “If yes, please answer the amount of your desired contribution,”  it is possible that a client might not want a contribution, so this question should be able to be passed by with no answer.
  • Project field | Project fields are PensionPro's way of allowing our users to report on fields within their projects. These field names are created by the user in the Maintenance > List Values > Project fields list and can be called anything that is helpful to the reporting, monitoring or maintenance of the user's client base. For example, if a template asked the question “what percentage is the plan top heavy” and “was the plan top heavy last year”?  These two fields could be tagged with a created project field so that this information could be pulled into a report.  It is possible that your firm would like to offer consulting to plan sponsors who are approaching the top heavy limit.  Keeping the end game in mind is an important part of template development.
  • Show on Project Summary | if selected, the answers will reflect on the Project Summary.
  • Show on Plan Summary | If selected, the answers will reflect on the Plan Summary. 

 

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