This is the home-organization stage called "elbows-deep in knick-knacks." It took lots of communication as we moved around, got rid of, repurposed and added things to improve the functionality of CKB's workflow.
Cassandra and I talked through all the specific scenarios that can happen with a project, especially complicated situations that might move a project backward in a pipeline. We wanted a series of stages that would work for the majority of projects but still be able to handle edge cases.
Then we specified labels and defined the parameters of the stages. What are we talking about when we say a client is in this stage? What things need to happen in what order and what specifically triggers the move to the next stage?
We met with an automations expert to learn the capabilities of the CMS, and then adjusted the number and order of steps to meet the limitations. It also helped us plan our auto-response templates.
I wanted Cassandra and her admin to be able to see a project's stages from a bird's-eye-view, so I set up a Google sheet to order the basic interactions between the CMS, owner or admin, clients, and independent contractors.
I didn't include details or if-thens, but did add color coding to highlight important junctures in the project's lifespan that would require special attention to push through to the next stage.
I used the high-level workflow to create a more detailed step-by-step checklist that can be used for each project. This included if-thens for more complicated situations, so that Cassandra and her admin could see history and circumstances that might be affecting the progress of a project.
I also specified when and how an admin needs to communicate with Cassandra throughout the project's lifespan, whether sending direct emails, texts and calls, or writing notes and To-Do tasks in the CMS.
For the time being, we chose the third option because it was the least terrible, but I hoped to find a better solution with a noticeable location and easy interactions.
During a follow-up meeting, Cassandra conveyed that she hated using Google drive and wanted everything in one workspace, so we brainstormed around how to add it to the CMS.
It seemed our only options were:
Adding it as a document file to a project-related team workspace, which has a great location, but it would be uneditable.
Placing it in the main message area so it could be edited by responding like an email thread, but then we risked having it buried beneath other messages and forgotten.
Copy/pasting the text into the editable project file notes, but the reformatting and interactive options were limited, and all notes are tucked behind a button on the side of the project page, so it might be forgotten.
After mapping out the workflow, I was able to mark occasions in each stage where CKB would need both automated emails and various templates to fit different situations.
I created a document for her to reference while creating templates in the CMS, and wrote some sample copy as a jumping-off point.