Workfront Reporting Best Practices

Workfront Reporting Best Practices

Want to make the most out of Workfront’s reporting capabilities? We’ll show you how to create clear, concise reports using data that comes directly from your team. This blog covers an overview of our Workfront Reporting Best Practices webinar, available on demand here. 

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We’ll also explain key guidelines for delivering effective reports in Workfront. By the end, you’ll be able to create two dynamic reports and a personalized dashboard.

While you’re here, we want to let you know about Workfront’s Done Right tour, sponsored by Rego Consulting. Join us for a live event to learn how the best marketing and technical leaders build high-performing teams and workflows. Dates and locations are available here. 

Key Considerations

When we create reports, we want to understand what kind of information our audience values, how they work, and what metrics and goals to include. It’s important for us to use common language, so that our reports are intuitive and easy for other users to understand.

We recommend focusing on information that is regularly needed in order to avoid clutter. Special reports are provided as needed, but we should avoid including them in our daily review.

Meet Jake, Marketing Operations Director

Jake is a Marketing Operations Director who relies on project health and new request data to direct the workflow of creative and production teams.

We’ll help him create project health and new request reports using Workfront’s reporting functionality. The project health report will include the schedule, cost, and name of the person who is leading each project. Jake’s new request report will list requests that need to be assigned to a project lead and may be converted to a project.

Create a Project Health Report

First, we navigate to the reporting tab and click on new report. A drop-down list displays multiple options, allowing us to choose the rows and records we need. We select project report from the menu.

Under report settings, we name this report “Project Health.”

We click on the done button to save our selection, then save and close the window to generate the report. Our new report contains the project name, project owner, description, start date, due date, and percentage complete.

This is more information than Jake needs, so we navigate back to the edit option under report actions. We want to use common language, so we select advanced options and change the name column to “Project.”

Jake’s company has project leads instead of project owners, so we rename that as well.

A description column can be useful in some situations, but Jake doesn’t need one since he is familiar with the projects. We remove it by clicking on the x at the upper-right corner of the box. We delete any other columns that are non-essential.

Saving and closing allows us to see the new report.

There’s one problem with the report—it doesn’t tell us anything about the schedule and whether projects are late, on time, or ahead of schedule. We also need to add cost information, so we navigate back to report actions and select edit.

We want to associate the progress status column to an icon, so we add the progress status column via the add column button, navigate to progress status icon, and select it.

We save and close to see the report with new icons that are associated to on time, late, and behind.

Adding the icons has made the progress status column irrelevant, so we delete it in the edit view.

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Create a Cost Report

Workfront doesn’t provide an out-of-the-box icon field for budget, so we begin by selecting cost performance index to add the new column. Changing the field format in settings allows us to display data in a decimal dollar amount.

The cost performance index provides visibility into how we’re working against budget and cost. Below, we see a view of different cost performance values, where 1.00 indicates that we’re exactly on budget, over 1.00 means that we’re under budget, and less than 1.00 means that we’re over budget. We want to make this column more visually intuitive.

To make our changes, we click on report actions, select edit, and choose cost performance index.

“Budget” makes more sense to Jake’s team than cost performance index, so we change the name. After that, we go to the column, select advanced options, and add a column rule to set criteria.

If the cost performance index is below a certain number, we want to it display in an immediately recognizable way. Chosen metrics are selected so that we are able to add an icon and enforce the rule.

In this case, we’ve chosen a red indicator to show all projects above 0.75. Anything less than 0.9 is displayed in yellow, and anything over 1.1 is green. Workfront evaluates all of our rules in order. When it finds one that’s true, the data automatically appears with the icon we’ve selected.

We decide to add two more indicators—for anything less than or equal to 1.5 (yellow), and for anything greater than 1.5 (red). Saving the report provides us with a view of project budget and schedule statuses.

Team members who are new to Workfront may not understand our icons, so we rename them as “Schedule” in the edit view. This enables us to view and share a basic project health report with others.

Next, we want to add some filters. Currently, the report contains projects that have already been completed, and projects that haven’t started and aren’t needed. We want to see projects that are active and ongoing only. Under the filters tab, we perform a search for status.

After we find and select it, we set a filter for active projects.

Workfront supports custom statuses, so if another user creates a custom project status that is equivalent to current, the project will not be included in future reports. We eliminate this potential issue by changing the project status to equate with current.

There are a number of groups Jake isn’t involved with that appear in the report right now. He wants to see just the creative team’s projects, so we use wildcards to narrow down the items we’re reporting on.

We select a group for Jake’s report with group ID, and set it equal to the wildcard: $$USER.home.GroupID. Now, we have configured the report to show projects associated only with the individual viewing the report.

We are able to avoid extra reports by providing a single source of information. Saving and closing yields a substantial reduction in the number of projects included.

Sometimes users want to add a field after we distribute the report. We encourage them to take advantage of drop-down fields to find the data they need.

We can change our view to milestones to see where each project stands.

The milestones view provides information about direct mail and unassigned projects below.

Other reporting view options include the revenue view, where we find information about revenue and billing. Customizing the view allows us to find any field we need.

Using views allows us to reduce the number of reports we have to create and maintain, and enables Workfront to act as our single source of truth.

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Create a New Request Report

Jake wants to create another report to show only new requests, so we navigate to the reporting tab, add a new report, and select issue report from the drop-down menu.

We want to rename this report “New Creative Requests,” so we make the edit under report settings.

After we save, we can view the report.

The result contains 429 issues or requests, which is more than Jake needs. We eliminate results that aren’t relevant by updating the filter to show only new requests.

Under the filters tab, we set the team ID equal to creative and add the filter rule. Currently, all new requests at Jake’s company are assigned to a project lead as they come in.

Jake needs to see new requests that haven’t been assigned, so we make a filter rule that the assigned to ID is empty.

To ensure that the status is equal to new and in progress, we add one more filter rule.

Only five results remain after we set the filters. They include all the work that has come in and needs to be completed by the creative team.

Jake needs more information, so we navigate to report actions and edit the report. From there, we add a primary contact column called name and call it “Requester” for simple understanding. We also change the name column to “Request.”

If columns in the report need to be re-ordered, a click-and-drag does the trick.

We can easily assign change requests to team members by typing their name and selecting it. In the view below, we’ve added David White to a change request.

Create a Dashboard to Display Reports

Our final step is to bring our reports together into a single source of information. We do this by going into the reporting tab, dashboards, and selecting add new dashboard.

In the search bar, we find the reports we want to include and add them to the layout screen with click-and-drag.

After we add the project health and new creative request reports, we have the ability to select from a variety of layouts. We choose one and save to see Jake’s new dashboard.

We order reports by most frequently used, which helps us quickly respond to changes. Now, Jake’s dashboard is a one-stop shop for finding everything he needs to stay on top of projects and new requests.

We’d like to thank Rego expert guide Daniel Cooley for this helpful demo.

Daniel Cooley is a Workfront specialist with over 10 years of experience. Daniel is PMP and Lean Six Sigma Certified, and holds a degree in Management Information Systems from Baylor University. His 20 years of IT experience has covered sectors including health care, manufacturing, new product development, software development, and education. Daniel currently resides in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

If you’d like to watch the full presentation, you can access it below

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Learn from Rego

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If you’re looking for Workfront implementation guidance, training, or support, reach out to our Workfront consultants today. We’ll help you gain measurable ROI from your investment while driving down the cost of implementation, development, and support.

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About the Author:

Rego Consulting
As the leading PPM, ITBM, Agile and Work Management services provider, Rego Consulting has helped hundreds of organizations achieve a higher return on their software investment, including 60% of Fortune 100 and 70% of Fortune 20 companies.
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