Sending and Receiving Workgroup Messages Project Management Help

With Project’s work group features, a project manager can do the following:

• Send task assignments to team members via email.
• Receive confirmation that the team member has accepted the task.
• Update the project to reflect acceptance of assignments:
• Send updates to team members when task parameters, such as duration, change,
• Request and receive status reports that show how much work the team member has completed on the task

Based on the content of each communication, Project automatically updates the project data to reflect any changes made.

Assigning Tasks to Workgroup Members

The first step in communicating with resources about project tasks is to send Team- Assign messages to the project team. You can send TeamAssign messages from Project as long as you have made email addresses accessible to Project and have installed Project’s workgroup features. For more about installing Project’s workgroup tools, see the Mastering Troubleshooting sidebar. If you have not yet set up address books. see “Accessing Email Address Books,” earlier

Responding to Task Assignments

When a team member receives a task assignment, the message appears in their em all inbox. If the message arrives through the Internet, the Tearnxssign message appears as an attachment to a standard message. The team member opens the message and doubleclicks the attachment to open the Team Assign message. If the:essage arrives through a network connection, the Team Assign message app~}lrs automatically when the team member opens the message.

The TeamAssign message, like the one shown in Figure 15.4, shows standard message information such as To, Date, From, Subject, and Message and also contains: a table at the bottom that lists the tasks that are being assigned. If the team member accepts all the assignments (yes, they can say nol), all they have to do is click the Reply button at the top of the message form. If the team member does not accept one of the assignments, they can click In the Accept? column to change the Yes to No .

when the Team Member clicks Reply, a new message form opens in which they can enter a message, if desired, or merely click the Send button to send the reply. If the team member is using Outlook, the Project task is added to the Outlook Task list.

Uplating Responses to Task Assignments

As the project manager, you can open the team member’s reply, shown in Figure 15.5, and review the team member’S responses to each task assignment.

If you are satisfied with the response, you can click the Update Project button to confirm the team member’S acceptance of the task assignments.

If you click the Reply button to reply to the team member before c.licking Update Project, Project displays a  asking you whether you want to update the project before replying

the Project manegment

the Project manegment

You may decide, however, that you’d rather send another message to the team member who declined an assignment before updating the project information. That’s your prerogative at this step if you click Reply without updating the project first.

Tracking Team Member Responses

Every project contains two fields that are useful for tracking the status of team members’ responses to assignments. These fields, Confirmed and Response Pending, are not displayed by default in any view. However, these are valuable fields to add to a task sheet view after you have made team assignments as a way to track the status of those assignments

Tracking Team Member Responses

Tracking Team Member Responses


To add the fields to the Gantt Chart view, for example, right-click on the column heading where you what the Confirmed field to appear (columns are inserted to the left of the selected field), and choose Insert Column. Choose the Confirmed field from the Field Name drop-down list Repeat this process to add the Response Pending field.

Aftera task is accepted by a team member and the project manager updates the project. the Response Pending field changes to No. Ifa task is declined, the Confirmed field displays No and the Response Pending field also displays No.

The Confirmed field displays Yes to all tasks that have been accepted and to all unassigned tasks. The Response Pending field displays No to all tasks that have been declined and to all unassigned tasks. We advise not to insert the Confirmed and Response Pending fields until you have assigned every task

Sending Task Updates

As project manager, when you change the start or finish date or duration of tasks you’ve assigned to project team members, YOli can send assignment updates to the appropriate team members. Project notifies that you need to send an update by placing an icon in the Indicator column.

Tn end a Team Update message, such as the one shown in Figure 15.6, do the following:

1.make the desired changes to the affected tasks.
2. Choose Tools > workgroup and select TeamUpdate.
3. Click the Subject field text box if you want to enter a different subject for the Tearnl.’pdate message
4. Select the text in the message box to enter a different message to accompany the update. Even if you are sending different tasks to different team members, each team member receives the same message.
S. Click the Send button to send the update

Sending and Receiving Status Reports

Status reports from the team members keep the project information up-to-date. Status reports can be initiated by the team members who use Outlook or solicited by the project manager. In a status report, a team member can record the following:

• A message to the project manager
• The actual date they started work on the task
The amount of work remaining
• The actual work completed on the project task, including dates and number of hours they worked on the task
• The amount of overtime hours they have worked on a task
• Comments about the task

You can include additional fields if you customize workgroup messages before sending the original TeamAssign. For more about how to customize workgroup messages, see “Customizing Workgroup Messages,” later

Soliciting Status Reports

As project manager, you can send a request for a status repo.rt rather than waiting for \ team members to submit reports. To request a status report, follow these steps:

1 Select the tasks about which you want to receive status reports; otherwise, you can choose to receive reports on all the tasks in the project.
2. Click Tools >- Workgroup and choose TeamStatus.
3. Choose whether you want to send messages for all tasks or only the selected tasks.
4. When the TeamStatus message shown in Figure IS.7 opens. change the subject and the message in the message box, if desired:
5. Enter the start and finish dates of the reporting period in the Ask for Actual Work From drop-down boxes.
6. Click Send to send the TeamStatus message.

Use the TeamStatus

Use the TeamStatus

Replying to Status Report Requests

When a team member opens a TeamStatus message, such as the one shown in Figure 16.8. they can click the Reply button and enter actual work completed on the task in the reply form.

Initiating Status Reports by Team Members

A team member who uses Outlook may initiate sending a status report to the project manager at any point in the project. To initiate a status report, the team member follows these steps:

1 Switch to Outlook Tasks and choose Actions >Team Status Report from the menu.

Initiating Status Reports by Team Members

Initiating Status Reports by Team Members

2. The New TeamStatus Report dialog box shown in Figure 15.9 lists the projects for which there are active tasks in the Task list-choose the project or projects to report on.

The New TeamStatus

The New TeamStatus

3. Enter-a-start and finish date for the report in the From and To boxes.
4. Choose how you want to report the work. You can choose Broken Down by Day,
As a Total for the Entire Period, or Broken Down by week.
5: Select the Track Overtime Work checkbox if you want to report overtime hours.
6. Click OK.
7. Open the New’Iearn Status Report that Outlook creates in your Inbox.
8. Complete the form by entering the actual start date in the Start column; the amount of work remaining in the Remaining Work column; and, depending on the choice made in Step 4, the actual time spent on the project task. If the team member chose to include Overtime in Step 5, they should enter overtime hours in the Overtime columns and not mix it in with regular time.
9. When all the data is entered, click Reply and then click Send; or click Save and Send Later to have the opportunity to make additional changes.

Updating Project Tasks in Outlook

If a team member makes changes to assigned tasks directly in Outlook, these changes are reflected on the Team Status reports about those tasks. Likewise, changes made to tasks in the time sheet grid of the Team Status message are reflected on Outlook’s Task form. Table 15.1 shows he mappings between Project and Outlook fields.



Other Outlook fields (Status, % Complete, Total Work, and Actual Work) are used by Project to calculate work on tasks. For example, a team member can open a Project task form, shown in Figure 15.10, in Outlook’s Tasks module and make changes to any of the work-related fields in the task. The work-related fields are found on the Details tab, shown in Figure IS.11. The next time the team member opens the TeamStatus form, it resynchronizes the work with Outlook so all of these changes are reflected on a task’s status report for Project

If a team member

If a team member

A team member can

A team member can

Because Outlook doesn’t have a way to record work done” by day or week, it evenly distributes the value entered in the Actual Work field on the Task form across the time period for the purposes of the time sheet grid on the Team status message. It you want I to record actual work completed on a given day, you must edit the values directly in the TeamStatus message

Adding and Deleting Tasks

team member cannot add or delete Project tasks. If a team member adds or deletes an Outlook task, it has no bearing on the project. The project manager must add or delete tasks directly within Project

Resending All Messages

If you want to resend all workgroup messages related to a task or a project, choose Tools > Workgroup and click Resend All Messages

Setting Task Reminders

If you are a project manager who is running Outlook, you can have Project attach a reminder to a task. Project copies the tasks to your Outlook task list and activates the reminder. This reminder does not accompany the TeamAssign message-it is for your personal use only. Team members can set their own task reminders within Outlook.

You can set a reminder to appear before the start of the task or before the scheduled finish of a task. You may want to use this option, for example, to remind you to request a status report from team members.

To set a reminder, follow these steps:

1. Select the task or tasks for which you want to send the reminder.
2. Choose Tools > Wor ‘group and click Set Reminder to open the Set Reminder dialog box.
3. Click the drop-down list to change the time period from minutes to hours, days, weeks, or months.
4. Enter a Set Reminders For value based on the selected time period.
5. Select whether you want the reminder Before the Start of the Selected Tasks or Before the Finish of the Selected Tasks.
6. Click OK to set the reminder. When the task is.sent to a team member who has Outlook, the reminder is set when the taskIs added to the team member’s Outlook task list

Posted on November 25, 2015 in Communicating Project Information

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