PensionPro 2.0 - Tasks and Workflow

Once launched, a Project's Tasks become the main focus of the Project. The Tasks control the flow and timing of the Project, ensure it's being handled by the right Employees, and track its progress every step of the way. In short, Tasks keep a Project organized. This article discusses Tasks, how they work, and how they can be used to ensure a Project stays on-track.

 

Tier Availability: Essential, Premium, Business

Add-On Availability: PlanSponsorLink, Distributions

 

Note: Some features may not be available in all tiers.

 

Table of Contents

 

 

 

The Workflow

When a Project is launched, the first step toward completing that Project—the first Task—is activated. Once the Task is completed, the next Task activates; this pattern continues—Task after Task, in order—until the final Task is finished, at which point the Project itself is considered complete. Of course, there is much more to working with Tasks, but this is the fundamental Workflow that every Project will follow.

 

Each Task is comprised of one or more Task Items. Task Items break a Task down into smaller, individual steps that are required to complete the Task. In many cases, Task Items can be used to input and store data. For example, a Task might contain a questionnaire; each Task Item would be a question in that questionnaire, for which a data-collecting element—a text field, a checkbox, a dropdown—can be filled in with the appropriate information.

 

Task Grouping is a group of related Tasks. As an example, in any Project that requires Data Collection, each step of Data Collection is a Task; the Task Grouping for these steps represents Data Collection as a whole. Overall, Task Groupings have less utility than Tasks or Task Items, but they are still useful for organization. Additionally, Task Groupings provide the ability to perform quality control for Projects. Tasks can be designated as Review Steps; when a Review Step is reached, all prior Tasks within the Task Grouping must be reviewed for accuracy and completeness before the Project can proceed.

 

To summarize:

  • Projects have one or more Task Groupings.
  • Task Groupings contain one or more Tasks.
  • Tasks are made up of one or more Task Items.

 

 

 

Navigating Tasks

Tasks can be accessed from the Project tab of the corresponding Project, or directly from a Dashboard or Worktray.

 

The most reliable way to access a Project's Tasks is via the Project Workflow. First, open the Project in a new Project tab; then, select the Workflow view from the Views panel on the left. The Workflow view is the starting point for navigating Tasks. By default, this view shows the Task Groupings for a Project; this can be considered the Task Grouping level of the Workflow.

 

Double-clicking on any Grouping will "drill down" into the Task level. This level displays the Tasks which belong to the Task Grouping. Basic information, such as Assignee and Completion Date, can be viewed in the grid alongside the Task Name. Breadcrumb navigation appears above the grid, providing easy access back to the Task Grouping level.

 

Double-clicking on a Task drills down even further into the Task Item level. The Task Item level view contains several relevant tabs:

 

  • The Task Items tab displays each Task Item for the Task, as well as any data supplied for these items (if required). Breadcrumb navigation can also be found in this tab, providing access to both the Task and Task Grouping levels.
  • The Summary tab provides basic information about the Task, such as its Activation and Due Date, and the Employee the Task is assigned to.
  • The Time tab displays any Time Entries attributed to the Task.
  • The Review tab contains any data that needs to be reviewed if the selected Task is a Review Step.

 

If a Task is present on a Dashboard or Worktray, double-clicking the Task will open a new Project tab with the Workflow view selected. When opened this way, the Task Items tab is displayed directly.

 

 

 

Task Activity

At any time, a Task can be either inactive, active, or complete. At the start of a Project, a Task is inactive. It becomes active automatically when the prior Task in the Workflow is completed; then, when all the requirements for the Task have been satisfied, the assigned Employee can mark it as complete.

 

Tasks do not provide much functionality until they are activated. When active, the assigned Employee can perform Task Items and mark the Task as complete. An active Task will also appear on any appropriate Dashboards and Worktrays.

 

 

Completing a Task

When all the required Task Items for a Task are complete, the assigned Employee can mark the Task as Complete:

 

  1. Navigate to the Workflow view of the Project tab, then drill down to the Task Item level view.
  2. Select the Task Items view tab.
  3. Select Complete. This completes the Task and closes the Project tab.
    • Alternately, select the arrow next to the Complete button to access additional options. Complete and Next completes the Task, then opens the next Task for viewing. Complete and Stay completes the Task, but the completed Task remains open for viewing.
    • If data has been entered for Task Items, but the Task cannot yet be completed, select Savesave.png to store the entered data.

 

 

Manually Activating a Task

If desired, a Task can be activated before its preceding Task is completed:

 

  1. Navigate to the Workflow view of the Project tab, then drill down to the Task Item level view.
  2. From the Task Items view tab, select More Optionsmore_options.pngActivate.

 

While a Task activated in this manner will appear on Dashboards and Worktrays and can be worked normally, it cannot be marked as complete until all the Tasks preceding it have been completed.

 

 

Returning a Task

During a Review Step, previously-completed Tasks within the Task Grouping can be returned to their assigned Employee for rework:

 

  1. Navigate to the Workflow view of the Project tab, then drill down to the Task Item level view.
  2. From the Task Items view tab, select More Optionsmore_options.pngReturn.
  3. In the Return Task window, select the desired Task from the dropdown, then select Return Task.

 

The returned Task will be reactivated and must be completed again; additionally, any Dashboards or Worktrays containing the Task will display it with a Returned status.

 

 

Reopening a Task

Security Rights Required: Manager

 

If a Task is completed in error, or if changes need to be made after completion, it can be returned to an active state for further editing:

 

  1. Navigate to the Workflow view of the Project tab, then drill down to the Task Item level view.
  2. From the Task Items view tab, select More Optionsmore_options.pngRemove Completion.

 

This action removes the completion from the selected Task, as well as every following Task within the Task Grouping. Additionally, the selected Task will return to an active state.

If the Project as a whole was also completed, reopening a Task will also reopen the Project.

 

 

Overriding a Task

Security Rights Required: Task Override

 

In certain cases, it can be useful to "skip" one or more Tasks. In PensionPro, this is called a Task Override:

 

  1. Navigate to the Workflow view of the Project tab, then drill down into the Task level view.
    • In the Overridden On column, an Override button will display for any active Tasks.
  2. Select Override for the desired Task.

 

An Overridden Task will display an Overridden Date—as opposed to a Completed Date—but will be considered complete for the purposes of Project completion.

 

 

 

Task Assignments

A Task represents a step of a process. Many people might take part in the process, but only one person can perform each step. Likewise, a Task must be performed by an Employee. To do this, the Task must first be assigned to that Employee.

 

 

What is an Assigned Task?

A Task assignment denotes who is responsible for completing the Task. Ultimately, this needs to be an Employee.

 

When a Task is active, the Employee assigned to the Task can do the following:

 

  • View the Task on their My Tasks Dashboard
  • Fill in Task Item entry fields for the Task
  • Complete the Task

 

While a Task can also be assigned to a Team Worktray for tracking purposes, it must be assigned to an Employee to be completed.

 

 

Managing Task Assignments

Tasks can be assigned to an Employee in a number of different ways. This list suggests methods to manage how Tasks are assigned; specific instructions for reassigning Tasks will follow.

 

  • An Employee can be assigned a Task automatically upon Project launch. This assignment is established in the Project Template using Employee Plan Roles. For example, say a Task is created to review data submitted by a client, and this Task must be performed by the Plan Administrator to ensure compatibility with the Plan. When launched, the Project Template will reference the Employee Plan Roles to determine which of the firm's Employees is the Administrator for the Plan, and assign the Task to them.
  • Rather than assigning a Task to a specific Employee, a Project Template may instead add the Task to a designated Team Worktray. Anybody with access to the Worktray can assign the Task to themselves. In keeping with the previous example, the Task could be assigned to the Administrator Worktray, where anybody who was qualified to administer a Plan could accept the Task and review the supplied data.
  • If the Project Template specifies an Employee Plan Role to act as the Project Manager, the Employee assigned to this role can view the Project and assign Tasks as appropriate, so long as they have the relevant Security Rights.
  • Any user with the appropriate Security Rights can access the Workflow view and assign Tasks as necessary.

 

 

Reassigning Tasks from the Workflow View

Security Rights Required: Reassign Projects

 

Any Task can be assigned or reassigned to an Employee from the Workflow view of the Project tab:

  1. Navigate to the Workflow view, then drill down into either the Task level or Task Item level.
  2. Open the Reassignment menu:
    • On the Task level, the Employee column contains buttons for each Task. These buttons show either the name of the current Assignee, or the word Unassigned. Select a button to open the Reassignment menu for that Task.
    • On the Task Item level, open the Task Items tab. Select Assigneeassignee.png to open the Reassignment menu.
      • The Assigneeassignee.png icon displays the initials of the current Assignee, or "U" if the Task is unassigned.
  3. Select either Assign to Me, or Reassign.
    • Assign to Me immediately assigns the Task to the user.
    • Selecting Reassign opens the Reassign Task popup window. From here, the Task can be reassigned to any Employee, or the assignment can be removed. Alternatively, the Task can also be assigned to a Worktray.

 

Employee and Worktray assignments can also be edited at the Task Item level from the Summary view tab.

 

 

Reassigning Tasks from a Dashboard or Worktray

Security Rights Required: Reassign Projects (Dashboard only)

 

When a Task appears on a Dashboard or Worktray, it can be quickly reassigned. There are two ways to accomplish this:

 

  • Hover over the Task, then select Editedit.png on the right. This opens the Edit Task window, where the assigned Employee and/or Worktray can be changed.
  • Alternatively, select the Task, then select More Optionsmore_options.pngReassign Tasks. This opens the Reassign Task window, where the assigned Employee can be changed.
    • If this option is selected from a Worktray, an additional checkbox will appear in the Reassign Task window. When selected, all of the Project's Tasks that are currently assigned to that Worktray will also be assigned to the Employee.

 

For more information on how Tasks can be used in conjunction with Dashboards and Worktrays, refer to the articles Using the Dashboard and Using Worktrays.

 

 

 

Task Summary

A Task's Summary view tab offers a place to store and edit information that may be necessary for tracking the Task. Reassignments can be made, dates can be altered, and categories and statuses can be set from the Summary view tab. Much of this information can then be displayed on Dashboards and Worktrays—quite useful when due dates are pushed back, or when clients prove unresponsive.

 

The Summary view tab can be accessed by navigating to the Workflow view of the Project tab, then drilling down to the Task Item level view.

 

 

Editing the Summary

This section details the Summary fields available for a Task; select Editedit.png to make any necessary changes.

 

Note: During the process of managing Task Summary information, some input fields populate their dropdown options by pulling in List Values. More information on List Values can be found in the article Maintaining List Values.

 

  • Assigned To: The Employee the Task is assigned to.
  • Worktray: The Team Worktray the Task is assigned to.
  • Due Date: The date the Task should be completed by.
    • This date cannot be set beyond the Project's due date.
  • Follow-up Date: A date that a Task on standby should be followed up on.
  • Category: A field to categorize the Task.
    • This field is a List Value located under Core > Project.
  • Task Status: A status to aid others in tracking the Task.
    • This field is a List Value located under Core > Project.
  • Event: Attaches an Event to the Task.

 

 

Using Summary Fields

Many of the fields on the Summary view tab can be referenced elsewhere in PensionPro. For example, Summary fields can be shown on Dashboards and Worktrays, to provide a quick look at Summary information for a Task. To enable this:

 

  1. Open the desired Dashboard or Worktray.
  2. Select Columnscolumns.png at the top-right of the grid.
  3. Select any Task Summary fields that should be displayed.
  4. Select Apply.

 

Additionally, Summary details are available in Blast Email, where they can be used as Merge Fields within the body of the email, or as Column Selections to assist in filtering recipients. For more information on using Blast Email, refer to the article Blast Email Overview.

 

 

 

Task History

PensionPro tracks the history of a Task, creating a log every time the Task changes state. A Task is considered to have changed state whenever it is Activated, Completed, Overridden, or Returned. Each record of a Task's history log tracks the state of the Task, the Employee who changed it, and the date it was changed. While this data is not available for normal viewing, it can be accessed via PensionPro Fetch.

 

For more information on accessing and using the Fetch reporting service, refer to the article PensionPro Fetch.

 

Task History fields can be found within the Column Selections card in Fetch by expanding the following nodes: FirmsLocationsClientsPlansProjects > Task GroupingsTasksTask History.

 

The following fields are available for queries:

  • Created By Name: The name of the Employee who altered the Task state (i.e., the creator of the history record).
    • This data was not tracked until PensionPro version 1.33.1.5, released 6/11/2020. For Tasks created prior to this date, or in any other event that a name cannot be determined, Fetch will return the first name Pension and the last name Pro.
  • Created On: The date of activity.
  • Current State: Used in conjunction with Task State; displays True if the history record is the most recent record for that Task, indicating that the Task is currently in this state. Displays False otherwise.
  • Task State: The new state of the Task at the time of the state change. Values are ActivatedCompletedOverridden, or Returned.

 

Tip: Create a filter using the Current State column, where Current State is equal to Yes, to return a unique list of Tasks with no additional Task history records.
Note: Additional Task information, such as Name, Status, and Date Completed can be found one level up in the node tree, under Tasks.



 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I have multiple Project Tasks active simultaneously so employees can work on those Tasks at the same time? Yes; refer to the instructions in the section Manually Activating a Task. Keep in mind that an Employee will not be able to mark a Task as complete until all Tasks that come before it in the Workflow are completed first.