Definition

Phases - represent a configurable way of setting up time & materials based services.

Concepts

Time & materials services are often among the most difficult services to quote accurately. Depending on what's scoped within a particular service, it will yield different resources involved in the delivery, different milestones for project completion, and different units of measure (hours, weeks, etc.) in order to calculate a valid estimate.

Example

WorkRails solves for the complexity of time & materials based services with Phases. Let's take a quick look at the workflow for configuring Phases within WorkRails using a fictitious service called Enterprise Onboarding .

Enterprise Onboarding is a service that starts with 5 different resources spread across a 6 week delivery timeframe. Each resource has a particular hourly rate and starting estimates for how much time they will need to spend within each project phase in order to successfully deliver the service. However, the resources and project defaults within Enterprise Onboarding can quickly change, depending on how the service is scoped.

For example if Enterprise Onboarding was modeled in Excel, it would look similar to this:

Project Role

Total Hours

Pre-Plan

Kick-Off

Build

Training

Migration

Closure

Project Manager

8

0

2

2

2

1

1

Business Consultant

64

0

16

26

6

8

8

Trainer

12

0

0

0

12

0

0

Designer

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Technical Consultant

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

You'll notice that the Designer and Technical Consultant resources both have 0 hours associated by default. This is effectively because these resources only get pulled into a project if the service item is scoped in a particular manner. This sort of subtly accounts for why most organizations fail to deliver a systemic way of quoting time & material based services.

In order to setup Enterprise Onboarding in WorkRails, we'll need to take a few simple steps:

  1. Let's first create our Phase which represents the resource and milestone breakdown that we saw above. While logged into Core, click on the "Phases" navigational link on the left hand side.

  2. Click "Create Phase" and provide the following attributes:
    Label: Enterprise Onboarding
    Internal Name: Enterprise Onboarding
    Phase Type: Phase
    Phase Template: Leave blank

  3. There are two ways of creating Phase records. One is via importing from CSV, and the other method is manual creation by clicking the + arrow. For now, let's keep it simple and use CSV. WorkRails accepts Phase formats in simple project breakdown structures similar to what we saw above. Click on "Download sample CSV" for the particular format if need be.

  4. Click "Import From CSV" and select your file. The system will automatically parse your file, and will create a nested semblance of the project breakdown in % based terms. Phase configuration in Core is always based on a % based scale. This is done so that project can flexibly change depending on how it is scoped within a Catalog. More on this in a bit.

For now, your Phase structure should look like this:

Phases in WorkRails can be deeply nested to best represent even the most complicated projects, and follow a simple convention of Label + Allocation. Allocations on each sibling level must add up to 100%. This is so the "default" starting hours for a given project can be smoothed out for each milestone and resource involved. In the case of Enterprise Onboarding the default 84 hours starting point for the project is allocated to each level in the Phase configuration.

  1. After your phase record is saved, create your item template and item. For information on how to do this, please refer to the Workflow Guide. In the item template, add a field with a type of Phase and select the phase record that you created in Step 1. Save the record(s).

  2. The setup within Core is now complete. Within a Catalog, if your end user selects the Item that had the phase configuration associated with it, the Catalog will render all of the applicable hours and resources involved, taking into account any special scoping requirements. The phases Catalog screen will look similar to this:

Catalog end-users can now make adjustments to the underlying resources, weeks, and pricing for a time & materials based service item.

Usage

Clicking on the Phase option in the left-hand pane brings up a tabular view of all of the Phase records you have setup within your WorkRails instance.

Create

  • To create a new Phase, click the "Create Phase" button.

  • In the create Phase screen, populate the Label, Internal Name, Phase Type, and Optional (Phase Template) fields.

  • Click on the + sign to start adding top level phases (often known as milestones within PSA applications). Click on the + sign again to add resources underneath a particular phase. You may also click the IMPORT FROM CSV button to import your phase data automatically.

  • Click the "Save" button to finish creating your Phase.

Edit

  • To edit an existing Phase, highlight it within the table, and click on the Name.

  • This will bring you into the Phase edit screen, where you can modify the record as needed.

  • After you have finished your updates, click on the "Save" button to save the Item.

Note: If your Phase record is associated with any Items, changes will take place immediately. Be sure to properly test Phase changes in a Sandbox environment before making changes to corresponding Production items.

Delete

  • To clone an existing Phase, highlight a Phase record in the table, click the Actions pane, and select "Delete".

  • This will prompt a dialog box that asks you to confirm the deletion of that Phase.

Note: Deleting a Phase is irreversible and will be removed from any associated Items immediately. Do not delete an existing Phase unless you are certain you want it removed.