full_mailboxIt’s the New Year and we’ve been tweeting a lot lately about getting organized.  With organization in mind, we want to make sure that everyone knows about the Inbox feature we introduced last fall and how helpful it can be – so please read on!

You’ll find the Inbox at the top of your plan. It’s a container, similar to a package, created to facilitate process flow. Tasks in the Inbox do not get scheduled, so this is a great place to add new work that needs to be reviewed before placing it into your schedule.

A while back, Alison said that she felt a sense of dread at hearing the word “inbox”:

“Whether it’s my personal or work email, I always expect to open it and find a gazillion emails waiting for me, ranging from my mother writing to tell me that the Red Sox lost, or a thread discussing the new company logo dimensions. Throw in bills, emails from my boss, documents, event information, and it’s a big hot mess.”

Nobody wants a big hot mess, right? So do yourself a favor and eliminate the chaos in your email inbox. Reduce clutter in seconds by forwarding items to your LiquidPlanner Inbox. This way you can keep everything related to project work in one place.

How to Manage Your Emails

1. Double-click on your Inbox to open up the edit panel.

get_inbox_address

2. Copy the unique Inbox address.

3. Start emailing tasks into LiquidPlanner.

email_task

It’s that easy!  You can see that I put the Inbox email address into the “To” field (I recommend saving it as a Contact for ease in use again and again).  The subject line is going to become my task name. By putting a comma, followed by Charles’ name, I’m assigning the task to him (since he’s already a member in my workspace). The body of the email and the attachment will be saved in the task as well.

How to Optimize Your Inbox (and What’s New in LP4)

Now that you know how to do this, it’s time to think about the best way to use your Inbox. How can you incorporate it into your business processes? Will it be the responsibility of one person to process it? Or will you review the contents of your Inbox in a team meeting? Here are a few suggestions based on how we do things here, as well as ideas from our customers:

  • Issue, Feature Request, and Idea Collector: At LiquidPlanner, we email all new work, feature requests, bugs, and design ideas to our Inbox. Twice a week, we meet as a team to triage the Inbox, discussing each task briefly.  During the meeting, each Inbox task gets assigned, estimated, and moved into a sprint package, an active project, or a project in our backlog.
  • New Project List: If you’re a team that serves clients, whether they’re internal or external, you can provide them with your Inbox address, and instructions on how you wish them to use it to request new projects. Your team can then process the requests on an established basis and make sure the new work is put into the proper place in your workflow.
  • Landing Zone for Integrated Systems: If you’re using multiple tools to manage your business, you might want to use the Inbox to collect new items created from those other systems. For instance, if you’re using an issue tracking tool, certain tickets might trigger new tasks that should be managed in LiquidPlanner.

Don’t forget, each and every plan item has an email address, so if you need more than one Inbox to handle different types of requests, you can always add packages. Put the packages on hold if you don’t want the items you’re sending into them scheduled right away, and treat them the same way as the Inbox.  Here’s a link to the blog post where we told you how to do this before we had introduced the dedicated Inbox feature.

Alison also wisely said, “The Inbox in LiquidPlanner is a place where everyone on your team can not only see everything in one place, but they can access these tasks and collaborate on them as well. Can your regular email client do that?”

Inbox Update: How to Manage Your Emails and Optimize the Feature was last modified: October 29th, 2015 by Liz Rosen