Solution Guides

Getting started in Flow

In this guide, you'll get familiar with the most basic (but powerful) features Flow has to offer and some tips for ensuring that your team gets off on the right foot. 

How everything fits together

To understand all the moving parts before you use them it’s helpful to think of Flow like an office. The office itself is your Flow account, or organization, where your colleagues come together to get work done. 

And to keep track of all that work and the information relevant to it you need a place to store it, like a filing cabinet. In Flow, this is a Team. Within it you’ll find drawers and folders, which in Flow are called groups and projects, that organize and categorize your work.

Finally, within those folders you can keep related files. These are your tasks and subtasks, those essential, workable items that need to be completed to bring each project to an end. Let’s go through each feature in a bit more detail now so you can see not only how they work but how they work together. 

Bring your team onboard

The first step is to invite your teammates. Though you might be tempted to hold off until you’ve explored Flow it’s the best way to determine if it works for your team. While Flow helps a ton of solo users manage their tasks, it was built with teams in mind so most of its features really shine when users collaborate.

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While you can create multiple organizations to separate billing and teammates for different businesses most companies operate well with just the one that's created for you when you sign up. When you purchase a subscription (or start a trial) your teammates’ accounts are tied to it, meaning that if it’s active so are their accounts and vice versa. You can quickly add or remove people from your Organization on the People page where you can also view the teams they belong to, see any shared tasks they’re working on and adjust their permissions. 

Give them a space to work in

Once your organization is set up the next step is to create a team, which is where your projects and tasks will live. If you have lots of different departments working within your team, having a team for each can keep everything organized and ensures that your teammates only see what’s relevant to them. You can also control who has access to a team by locking it and inviting only certain team members; this is a great option if you have a department that handles sensitive information, like Human Resources or Accounting

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You can create, view, and edit teams at any time on the Teams page, which you access by clicking the v next to the organization name in the blue navigation bar. Flow supplies you with one team called “General” when you first sign up that you can easily rename and use as one of your departments.

Outline initiatives with projects

Now that your team is ready, start creating projects related to the department that your team is named for. A project is where you’ll store related action items and upload any relevant files and documents your team might need while working through them. Essentially, it’s an overview of every task that needs to be finished to wrap up what your team is working on, large or small. You can create a project by clicking the ‘+’ beside “Projects” in the sidebar and selecting New Project.

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Not sure whether something should be a task or a project? A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself what you need to do to complete it and whether more than one person will be responsible for those actions. Drafting a blog post on a new feature is something that one person could be responsible for and is pretty specific, so it’d likely work best as a task. If you also needed to prepare graphics for the post, set up analytics, and coordinate the post across social media, it might make sense to set up a Feature Blog Posts project, create the various steps as tasks, and then delegate to your respective teammates. 

Create processes and milestones or categorize at a glance

Within your project, you might consider adding sections (or using Kanban) to divvy up your tasks as a further level of organization. A section can represent a step in a process, such as “Planning”, “In Progress”, and “Complete"; it can also indicate a level of priority, such as “High,” “Medium” and “Low”. 

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They are completely customizable, so you’re able to choose a system that works best for your team. To add a section, click the “Add section” link at the bottom of the project view. When you’ve added your sections, you can then drag and drop any existing tasks as needed or create the task within the appropriate section. This allows your team to see where your tasks stand within a project with one look.

Link similar projects together

Within your team, you’ll need a way to quickly locate projects in the sidebar and make it easy to navigate. That’s where groups come in. They allow you to bundle related projects together and then collapse or expand them so you only see what you need to. 

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For example, a marketing team might have distinct projects for the campaigns they’re running and could link them together by adding them to a “Campaigns” group. This helps clarify the joint purpose of the projects for everyone. Once you’ve created a few projects, you can add them to a group by clicking + beside "Projects" in the sidebar and selecting "New Group". This will open a dialog where you can name your group and choose the projects you want to live in it. 

Creating and delegating tasks

Break your work into manageable pieces

Tasks are the workable items within your projects that your team needs to get done, and we’ve made them powerful and flexible. 

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Assign them to other teammates or create them for yourself, add subscribers to keep people in the loop, and add custom tags to categorize or prioritize them. You can even create subtasks within a task if you want to break it into smaller pieces and then assign and schedule those pieces in different ways than the parent task. Task notes allow you to upload any relevant documents or files needed to complete the task, and you can add a description for further direction. Finally, when your task is created, you and your teammates can add comments to localize discussions about specific initiatives and share files. 

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Since tasks are at the core of Flow, we’ve made it easy to create them no matter where you are in the app. You can click the ever-present “+ New Task” button in the top right corner of the blue navigation bar to open a new task pane; or you can click the "+ New Task" link that appears at the bottom of every project to use the Quick Task bar and hit TAB on your keyboard to fill in the details. You can also use the Quick Task bar for those rapid-fire brainstorming sessions or to capture action items on the fly.

That's it!

You now know all the basics of Flow. Most of the other features you’ll encounter are just variations on what we covered here. Now that you’ve got a solid foundation to build on, it’s time to dive into the app and start collaborating with your team. If you want a more in-depth look at some of the features we mentioned and many others that we didn’t, dig into our video guide or take a spin through our support centre. And if you ever need a hand don't hesitate to reach out to our support team

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