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Project Management on Autopilot

Project Management on Autopilot
August 2020

Imagine you could put your project management on autopilot with one click. As long as the autopilot doesn’t warn you, you would know that everything is on track, and you could relax and take care of other issues. A cool idea, isn’t it? We thought so too, and have been working on a feature that makes this idea a reality.

The awork Autopilot (Beta)

The first version of the awork Autopilot consists of a series of smart mailings that keep the project manager and the project team informed about the project’s progress. The mails that the project manager receives differ from those that are sent to the team. While the team is mainly informed about their own upcoming and most urgent to-dos, the awork autopilot supports the project manager in his main task: project management.

Is the project going well?

Is the project going as planned? Are we on schedule? Are you on schedule with the planned resources? Instead of constantly racking your brains about these questions yourself, the answer can now be safely handed over to the autopilot. As long as the autopilot doesn’t sound the alarm, everything is fine. If the time budget or one deadline after the other is exceeded, the autopilot intervenes and informs with appropriate mailings.

Agile project management or waterfall method?

As soon as you create a project in awork from now on, you will be asked if you want to use the awork autopilot. In autopilot mode, you have the option to choose between an agile project or the waterfall method.

You have the power to choose: agile project or waterfall method?

Agile project management is characterized by a project (or product) being developed step by step. The team focuses on the next most important steps and works together in a self-organized and interdisciplinary way. By dividing the project into several stages, it is also possible to react flexibly to changes during the project.

The waterfall method is, in principle, the opposite of the agile approach. Already at the beginning of the project, the entire project scope is defined. In addition, it is assumed that a completed project phase initiates the next one and that each phase builds on the other. Although this approach has less flexibility than with an agile method, the planning reliability is much higher. Therefore, the waterfall method is best suited for projects in which, for example, precise guidelines or high-quality standards must be adhered to. Originally, the model originates from the construction and production industries. Especially in these industries, highly structured processes have to be followed to avoid expensive changes (sometimes these changes become impossible at the end).

IIn autopilot, you should choose the agile mode for all projects that don’t have a fixed schedule. So for these projects, you are more oriented to the available working hours than to fixed deadlines (e.g., Kanban or Scrum). The waterfall method is best suited if you already know deadlines and fixed responsibilities. So if you work with milestones and a Gantt chart and the time factor is critical, the waterfall method is the better choice.

Read now: 5 Project management methods everyone should know

Checklist: Which project management method suits my project?

  • In agile mode, the autopilot makes sure that all tasks are completed at the end of the project. The number of closed tasks and the burn-down of the tasks are relevant for the progress (planning of the task is linear).
  • In waterfall mode, the autopilot makes sure that all tasks are completed according to the deadline. Autopilot will also alert individual users that their tasks are due or overdue.
  • For permanent projects without an end date or projects with constant new to-dos (e.g., team orga projects), you can also turn off the autopilot if needed.

How does the awork Autopilot work?

You will receive a first mailing with a checklist as soon as you have created a project in autopilot mode.

Attention: The autopilot will only start when the project has been set from In Planning to Running.

All further mailings are based on a sophisticated system. Which emails you or one of your team members receives depends on various factors. Autopilot sends only the emails and information that are most relevant to that person.

Basically, smart mailings distinguish between notices and alerts. Notices can contain announcements about upcoming to-dos or info about project progress. Warnings are sent whenever the project could get out of hand. In this case, for example, a deadline was not met or the time budget was exceeded. You can always recognize these important warnings by the red alert symbol in the email header.

Important settings

The project manager receives most of the emails. He will be informed about the progress, timing, and time budget of the project. The project owner can be selected in the project team.

This is how the task details look like in awork.

You can further adjust autopilot settings via the project details. For example, if you click on the awork bot in the project, you can activate or deactivate the autopilot at any time. You can also switch between agile and waterfall projects.

You can also decide in the project details which notifications the autopilot should trigger or which emails you no longer want to receive.

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About the author
Talent Acquisition Lead
The bear-strong Panda update is here, bringing one of the most frequently requested features to life: a new task level, or more precisely, real subtasks.

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