Some additional features I find useful are:
- the ability to add multiple tasks (line separated)
- you can automatically generate a list of tasks ordered by urgency and priority (can be customized)
- you can easily nest tasks into folders
- you can easily edit many tasks at once (priority, dates etc.)
- folders flagged as "projects" display a progress bar overlay
- you don't need to go through any menus to add/view task-related notes; notes appear in the sidebar depending on what's selected
- great for multi-tasking because it dynamically combines all your task lists into one
"This is particularly useful in government, because we need to complete quite a few training sessions and pieces of paperwork."
I can see the value in building a tool to track all of the moving pieces in what appears to be a bureaucratic, inefficient system ... but I would love to see more work put into resolving those inefficiencies.
Can any of those tasks be automated?
Is there any way to reduce the amount of paperwork required?
Can the training sessions be replaced with online tutorials?
But a lot of the tasks are training related i.e. "You have to learn about this or that."
You can see the work we've put into onboarding here: https://18f.gsa.gov/2015/12/01/how-we-dramatically-improved-...
The biggest efficiency, I think, is creating a Slackbot that trickles out a lot of this information to new hires: https://18f.gsa.gov/2015/12/15/how-bot-named-dolores-landing...
We've also rolled out a handbook and classes — the checklist is basically to make sure people have seen what they need to and so they're not overwhelmed the first day. (Something like learning how to travel is something you need to learn, but maybe not until week two...)
In many cases they have. And generally speaking, I doubt they communicate with any central checklist system, likely because one didn't exist. Until now. And pretty much every department has its own checklist. Hell, I worked for a university and I'm pretty sure the automation processes I wrote for new account creation didn't absolve departmental IT from additional work for hires specific to their department.
The other fun thing is the process that constructed the current system. Something bad happens, and another annual training is added to the list. Over time, a lot of bad stuff happens. This leads to scenarios where military officers literally have more training requirements than hours, and cut all kinds of corners and lie about it: http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/careers/army/2015/02...
The problem isn't moving paperwork or tutorials online that's already happened. The problem is one arm of the administration imposing requirements on another without regard any sort of budgetary analysis.
It's unfortunate how this kind of to-do list is something I've almost never seen considered in an enterprise workflow for UX design because it shows a great deal of integration points that are weak and could use improvement, potentially with minimal resourcing. In my limited practice, I've only ever seen the Fortune 500 basically write pie-in-the-sky Visual Studio sticks and boxes or the equivalent of a nasty nested asynchronous call stack.
- This seemed really cool since we have various processes and this would let us both document and operationalize the processes. Things like: add/change user permissions or create a new vm/container, etc. We could make it easy to show where documentation is and what should be updated.
- Installation is simple, but it is hardcoded to authenticate against Github and look and see if you are a member of the 18F group. If not, you are refused access. Changing the group is just a simple edit to the app.js file, but changing authentication from Github to another source would require adding another passport config file into api/ (as far as I can tell), and possibly additional dev.
- The checklists are all json files, there's no UI for creating the checklist. In fact, there's no CRUD for checklists at all, they are flatfile managed with a text editor. This is not ideal, but building an editor might not be too rough. The main thing is that checklist creation is a developer operation.
- There is no UI for associating checklists with role/users or grouping the checklists. Everyone sees all of the checklists and then self-selects which checklist they want to add to their plate. It looks like the tasks are all user-specific, so you couldn't have a checklist that was divided up amongst a team, it is all single-user focused. I suppose you could create a dummy team user that multiple people had access to, but that seems icky. Similarly, while you can see other user's tasks, you can't take one of their tasks and help them out by doing it.
- There's no context for the tasks. If you had two new employees or two VMs to provision, you would have to do them one at a time. Adding a second checklist while you have a first in progress just gives you a pile of duplicated tasks that have no context as to which initial action they are related to. You can add a note to the initial checklist assignment like "SE3: Jane Doe" which will give some context for that assignment, but I don't see where that is related to the tasks. If the tasklist showed "Checklist Name - Checklist Note" in the table, then at least you could keep them separate.
Otherwise, I would love for this to work. I am in academia where we have two problems that this impacts: 1) we have lots of bureaucracy 2) we have lots of turnover in IT staff because we pay poorly. For both of these reasons, having a checklist tool would be fantastic.
Devs: please comment!
As the person who converted the tasks to JSON, I can say IT TOOK A LONG TIME. If there was a front end or an easier way to do this, it would be much easier to use. An editor would be my #1 feature request.
- We wanted everyone to see every checklist, but the idea of having checklists shared by a team would be REALLY USEFUL for us too. Think about a team who shares onboarding tasks for a user. I would love to add that functionality.
- If you feel comfortable, you could create these as issues in the repo so that we could share them and see if folks want to tackle them. We saw this as a first step to meet a need, and would love to see it improve.
I see it as the beginning of a platform to change how individuals (or mankind) manage knowledge overall. Future features involve exploiting the internals for collaboration (linking instances, sharing data, subscribing to each others' data, mobile, etc)
Feedback or participation are appreciated. If one has any interest at all, I suggest signing up for the (~monthly?) announcements list at least.
They sound down right proud of their bureaucracy.
so you can see exactly what's required. The checklist program has made it easier for new employees to keep track of the tasks (and is easier for many people to follow.)
Many, many mature organizations probably have more than 60 tasks to complete to fully onboard a new employee. If you really want to see what inefficiency looks like, put your head in the sand on those 60 items and wait to perform each of them when they become urgent.
Furthermore, 18F doesn't control the onboarding process of (other) government agencies.
1. Ask employee to bring in a blank check.
2. [+1 day] Use check to complete direct deposit form.
3. [+2 weeks] Check with employee to make sure direct deposit went through.
We're 10% of the way there and we haven't done any sort of actual orientation, set up any accounts, or done any training.
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