Consultant's Corner: There's No Place like Home ... View
Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Gregg Hinchman
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Posted: 27 Jun 2006
"Well I've been a prisoner all my life" - to the usual GroupWise view. Then one day in August of 2005 I was freed from my GroupWise interface cage with GroupWise 7 and its Home view. Since that time, I have increased my efficiency and been able to juggle a tremendously busy schedule while running my own consulting business.
In this article I will take a moment to show you my favorite Home View and explain some of the benefits I get from the GroupWise 7 client. With GroupWise 7 Service Pack 1 now available, I know many of you will be rushing to upgrade your GroupWise systems and showing users the new features. Make sure you show them the Home View and all it can do for them.
My Calendar View
In the little world I live in I have many things to juggle all at the same time. As a self-employed person, I have to make sure I work - or I do not eat. This means doing projects. A second hat I wear is that of project manager for projects I have received, that are serviced by my most excellent associates. I believe in high-quality customer service, so I oversee their projects. Then there is the bookkeeper role; I do all the accounts payable/accounts receivable. I also do Sales and project contract scoping. Lastly, I actually do have a personal life, so I have to track it as well.
All of roles could send me screaming mad if not for GroupWise 7 and the multi-calendar feature. Now an end user can have multiple personal calendars for various reasons such as:
- A Project Calendar
- A Personal Calendar
- A Departmental Calendar
Each of these calendars can be color-coded so that appointments placed on the calendar will be displayed differently. The advantage of color coding? Well, you can see the appointments better and see where they collide - and they make your master calendar look pretty. When you select the master Calendar on the left side, all checked personal calendars will roll up to the master.
Figure 1: A "rolled up" view of my day
Note: You will see blanks in my pictures for this article because, of course, I want to "protect the innocent" - so I have covered up names and other such details. Please ignore the blanks and just enjoy the view.
This one new feature saves me more time and suffering than I can explain. You see, I have a calendar for Business where the projects I am doing are scheduled. Then I have a calendar each for two of my associates so I can see what projects they are working on and see their availability for new projects. Next, I have a calendar for all Statement Of Work contracts and their Purchase Orders so I can track the hours and expense dollars. I have a calendar for my Accounts Receivable and one for my Accounts Payable so I can track my in/out flow of cash. Lastly, I have a calendar for my personal life. All rolled up, it's a rainbow of activity.
As you can see, I use my GroupWise client as an accounting system of sorts (I just cannot bear the thought of doing "true" accounting), a project management application, and the usual time management. Without the GroupWise 7 client, I would have to go to multiple sources or run multiple GroupWise accounts. And the color-coding makes looking at my calendar a more pleasing experience. Instead of the harsh black/white, I have color and lots of it.
Figure 2: Gregg's master calendar -A rainbow of activity
My Check List View
Next up is the Check List. The Check List has been in GroupWise but has been difficult to use. Mainly, you had to go to the Check List to see what you had to do. I like Check Lists; it keeps me on target for my day. But I would have to retrain myself to go to my Check List to see what to do, then back to my Mailbox to read mail and so on. Now with the new Home View, I can have my Check List show up right next to my Unread items. This means I can keep close track of my day while keeping an eye on my email.
Figure 3: Gregg's Check List
My Unread Items View
I mentioned Unread Items; well, it's a selection in my Home view. I have mine set to show me up to three days in the past. Most of the time I can respond to emails within a hour or two. But once in a while some emails require thought and detailed replies. Unread Items lets me keep track.
Figure 4: A few unread items
My Contacts View
As you all know, you can have personal address books. Well, with GroupWise 7 you no longer have to launch the Address Book and dig for a phone number. You can have the Address Book (Contacts) of your choice or choices available right inside the Home view. I love this feature as well. I have always disliked the idea of having to launch anything so I can get information - it takes up too much time!
Figure 5: Gregg's Contacts View
My Folder View
There is also the option to view different folders that are within your GroupWise mailbox. For me, the Clients folder is the perfect fit for this. Much of my work is for clients, so it stands that many emails and tasks will be for my clients. With the Clients folder in my Home view I can drag and drop from Unread Items or Check List right into a clients folder. No more clicking around in my cabinet ...
Figure 6: Gregg's Client Folder View
My Summary Calendar View
I told you about my many calendars, but with the Home View there is a Summary calendar window that can be set up. There are many parameters to be displayed, such as date, subject, and name. I prefer to use just the subject and date. I also set it to display five days forward from the current date. This allows me to see my schedule at a glance without opening the full calendar.
Figure 7: Greggs Summary Calendar
My Home View
Now that I have given you the detail of each pane in my Home view, let me consolidate all the pieces into the final finished work of art. I choose the Two Column Home view so I can see everything at one time. And since I am still in need of access to other parts of my mailbox, I leave the old-style GroupWise look on the left side.
Figure 8: Gregg's Two Column Home View
As you can see, if just one look, I have complete access to my:
- Check List
- Summary Calendar
- Unread Items
- Clients Folder
This saves me so much time and effort and keeps me focused on my work, rather than on finding my appointments, contacts, and email. Next up, I modify the color of my GroupWise client scheme using one of the standards available in GroupWise 7 - Sky Blue. Spring Green is also a good scheme, but you'll want to change the Header Text color to a dark blue - much easier on the eyes!
My next step is to add a bit more color. While blue is a nice color, it is usually a bit harsh and actually can make you feel ... well, a bit "blue." So I add a nice earthy green to my Header and change the Header Text to a dark yellow, which offsets well with the green. It's easier on the eyes, and given the time I spend staring at my screen, my eyes need all the help they can get.
A final modification for me is the addition of two folders at the very top Header. The first one is my Travel Confirms folder. I use this folder almost daily for all my travel-related confirmations, so it's nice to have this close by. The second is my NGWList (www.NGWList.com) folder. This is where all the wonderful information, questions, and all around great GroupWise networking list server email flows. In this position, I can take a moment to see what is happening in the community and once in a while, as time allows, I lend a hand to a person in need. The final result is my living, breathing GroupWise 7 Home view.
Figure 9: Gregg's GroupWise 7 Home View
All right - let me wrap this up by saying this: take a look at the Home view and think about how you can customize it to work for you and for your end users. Remember, the easiest way to keep your users happy is to give them toys. A customized Home view is a toy they can play with for quite some time. Now that Service Pack 1 is available, if you have not upgraded to GroupWise 7 - now is the time! And thus I come to the end of a 10-article run. I am going to take a summer break and focus on the many projects before me as well as see what customers are doing in the GroupWise space, which always helps me generate new, fresh articles. I hope my articles have helped you. And I especially hope this one finds you singing "take, take me home" view.
As always, I can be reached at: Gregg@HinchmanConsulting.com, if you have any comments, article ideas or just want to help a quirky consultant support his GroupWise habit.
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