Planning and Delivery of PSA
In Part 1 of this series, we posted a brief introduction to the Project Service Automation solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. This is Part 2 of a four-part series on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Project Service Automation, or PSA, as it is more easily referred to. This part will dive a little more deeply into the solution and also provide a step-by-step guide for this powerful module.
Let’s focus on the first of the three main areas you'll be working with to use the project service automation tools within CRM: Planning and Delivery. This section includes links to four different entities: “Projects”, “Project Templates”, “Project Contracts”, and “Project Contract Milestones.” See below.
"Projects" is where you can create new projects and edit existing projects. The majority of this post will focus on creating and configuring your first project.
Creating a new project involves nothing more than clicking New on the Projects page, and completing (at the very least) the few required fields that don't auto-populate, which are "Name" and “Contracting Unit.” Calendar template, currency, and project manager will automatically be populated based on your settings but can be changed if desired. Click Save, and you've successfully created a project!
Now, clearly, you're going to want to build that project out quite a bit more to get the most value out of it. This is going to be done by adding tasks to the project in the work breakdown structure. To get there, click the down arrow to the right of the project name in the navy blue bar across the top of the page, and choose "Work breakdown structure."
Here, you'll add as many tasks as are needed to complete the project. This is pretty simple, so I'm going to give you just a quick rundown of the buttons and features you'll want to focus on here:
- Add Task - self explanatory
- Indent/Out-dent - click to select a task, then click indent or out-dent to change the task hierarchy
- Edit task - double-click an existing task to open a window to edit the task details
- Move Up/Move Down - click to select a task, then click move up/move down to change where it falls in the list of tasks.
- Gantt - The Gantt chart displays tasks, the time required for them, and when they must be done, in a visual manner. You can click Hide/Show Gantt at any time to hide or show it, and you can click and drag a task within the Gantt chart to change the duration of tasks.
- Delete - to remove a task, click to select the task, click Delete, and click Yes to confirm.
- Choose Columns - click here and check the boxes for the attributes you wish to display about each task in the list.
- Time Scale - choose to display by day, week, month, or year.
- Generate Project Team - pull in available, appropriate resources to work on the project (we'll give more detail on this in a future post.)
Now that you're on track to create a project, let's go over the other pages in the Planning and Delivery section.
The Project Template
Remember earlier how I said that when you create a project, the auto-populated fields were based on your settings? What I meant by that is that it's determined by the “Project Template” you are using. When you navigate to the project templates page, you'll see a list of templates, as well as have the opportunity to create new ones. Templates save you time if your company regularly gets similar types of projects. You can create a template for each project type, with standard roles and hour estimates. Then, when creating a project, you'll be given an additional field in which you can select the project template before starting.
The Project Contract
Once you've landed a project and wish to record it in Project Service Automation, you can use the solution to create the contract with your client for it. On the Project Contracts page, click New, and complete all the required information. (Interestingly, the Project Contract is actually the Order entity in CRM, which allows for a nice transition into Invoicing.) Since this will serve as an actual contract between you and your client, you'll need to enter all details of the contract exactly as you've agreed upon. For instance, this similar to the CRM Contract entity, this solution can support more than one “Contract Line” with different methods of billing. For instance, if part of the project would be billed on Time and Materials and another part of the project would be billed on a Fixed Fee basis, you can specify those contract lines in the Project Contract as shown below.
If, at this point, the details are well defined, you can click Run Report, then Order. You can edit the document, if necessary, in the Word version that's created. Send to the client. Once the client reviews it, these are your options:
- Confirm contract: If the client approves the contract, click Confirm on the project contract page
- Change contract: If the client wants to change something about the contract, draft a new contract in CRM
- Cancel contract: If the client does not agree to the contract and will not be utilizing your company's services, click Close as Lost on the project contract page
For larger projects, the Project Contract Milestones feature will be useful. This allows you to send invoices for major milestones within a project, rather than bill all at once at the end.
That’s it for this overview of the Planning and Delivery section of the Project Service Automation trial solution in CRM. Next up, Billing! Stay tuned.