It is the responsibility of Account Managers to book developers for known client work, however anyone can book a developer, including the developer themselves.
To book a developer:
Prerequisite: Install the 2 CRM Addins.
- Figure: Using the Service Calendar, you can see who is and is not available at a given time
There are a few different ways of booking developers for project work, either via Outlook or the browser.
Option 1: Use the Outlook Calendar and "Set Regarding" (recommended)
This is generally the easiest way for developers to book themselves in as they don't need to leave outlook and 90% of the steps will already be familiar to them.
- Create a new Outlook appointment and give it a relevant subject
- Select required resources if there are other people working with you or if you're booking for someone else
- Note: if you're booking for someone else, just have them in the To box of the appointment. If you're booking yourself AND someone else, have both of you in the To box.
- Set the time and location for your appointment
- Set the recurrence if it’s more than 1 day of work
- Click "Set Regarding" on the ribbon and select the company that you want to book the developers to work on (this is the step that syncs it with CRM)
- Figure: A complete appointment booking Mark to work for Westlink for 5 days
Option 2: CRM Activity Appointments
This is a backup option for anyone who doesn't have access to Outlook with the CRM addin.
- Create new appointment from the CRM 2016 web interface (also works in CRM 2013)
- Figure: Click Appointment to create a new appointment in CRM
- Set the Subject
- Select the resources that you want to book
- Select the client that you want to book the developers to work on
- Set the location
- Set the Start and End times
- If the booking is for more than 1 day, click “Recurrence” and set the frequency
- Figure: A complete CRM Appointment for a 1-day booking
Option 3: CRM Service Activities (bad example)
- Figure: Bad Example - Don't use Service Activities as they don't map as gracefully with Outlook Appointments
If you do not know who can do the work, but you know the type of resource required, you can use Service Activities.
The downside of Service Activities is that they do not sync gracefully with outlook calendars.
Back in CRM4, the only way to make recurring appointments was to use Service activities, but this is no longer the case so Service Activities are not recommended for resource scheduling if you know who you want to schedule.
(for options 1 and 2) Adding Tentative Bookings
Sometimes you may want to reserve a consultant for an appointment but are not able to confirm with the client immediately. In this case, create a Tentative Booking which reserves the consultant for the period of the booking without assigning them to the client account. The purpose of a Tentative Booking is to reserve a consultant and trigger a conversation between Account Managers if the consultant is required on confirmed client work over the same period.
To create a Tentative Booking:
- Follow the same steps above to create the Appointment
- Instead of choosing a client account for 'Set Regarding', choose the company (E.g. "ssw.pencilledin").
Tip: Create a "Booked In Days" Report and make the Tentative Bookings display obviously (E.g. A grey color), so Account Managers can easily see it if they need to use that time.
(for options 1 and 2) Adding Internal Bookings
If a developer is needed for non-billable work (E.g. Urgent internal work), or travelling to teach public training events, their time should be blocked out so it shows as unavailable for client work.
To book someone for internal work:
- Follow the same steps as above to create the Appointment
- Instead of choosing a client account for "Set Regarding", choose your own company (E.g. "SSW").
Figure: Internally Booked days show as black and Pencilled In days show as grey