Action Plans or Activity Sets in Outlook?

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Brentg

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Outlook version
Outlook 2013 64 bit
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Exchange Server
I am looking for a way to use Action Plans, sometimes called Activity Sets (or other names), in Outlook. Here's what I mean:

I would like to be able to launch a series of individual tasks, calls or appointments that are the same each time. For example, if I were hiring a new staff member, I'd like to launch ONE Action Plan that sets up all of the tasks and meetings associated with the hiring process, and I'd like to be able to assign the tasks or appointments to any member of my team.

The Action Plan would automatically generate those tasks or appointments all in one step, saving the user from having to repeatedly creating them one by one.

Does anyone know of an add-on or other third-party app that would sync with Outlook that would do this?

- Brent
 
That's pretty easy set up via a macro. This one creates one task item, and one appointment:
Code:
Sub CreateActionPlan()
  dim Task as taskitem
  dim Appt as appointmentitem
  dim Start as string
  start=inputbox("Enter start date")
  if isdate(start)=false then exit sub
 
  set task=application.createitem(oltaskitem)
  task.subject="First Step"
  task.startdate=start
  task.display true
 
  set appt=application.createitem(olappointmentitem)
  appt.subject="SecondStep"
  'schedule one day after the previous task item
  appt.start=dateadd("d",1,task.startdate)
  appt.display true
end sub

Each window is displayed modal so you can adjust some properties. You can extend this to as many items as you like.
 
Thanks Michael, except that our admin staff (who are responsible for building and launching these Action Plans) have zero experience with macros. Our Action Plans include 30-40 tasks & appointments assigned to 5-10 people, and I'm afraid it would be doomed to disaster to expect them to build Action Plans that (to them) look like gibberish.

I'd like to find a solution that "average" people could use with a low possibility for error.

- Brent
 
Michael,

Nice post! This could be immensely helpful to be able to do in Outlook (current version 2010-32bit on a Windows 7 64 machine).

I gave it a try and I did come across a little glitch.

Enabled developer tab
Created VB module
Copied and pasted your macro
Ran macro
Received error: calling the callback: "Ribbon_GetIMEXImage"
But did get the tasks auto scheduled, am just not sure what would cause the error.

I want to learn more about creating advanced functionality, but I am wondering if it would be a huge feat to create additional automation with Outlook that would allow series of activities to auto schedule based on content of a field in a custom form.

Example custom field "Contact Status" in new record is entered as "Lead", series of activities are auto scheduled. Tasks are undertaken until "Contact Status" is upgraded to "Prospect" where an additional series of events is created and undertaken and when "Contact Status" becomes "Client" additional activities auto populate the contacts scheduled activities.

Thanks for the macro, hopefully there is a way to add this additional functionality.

Dana
 
Example custom field "Contact Status" in new record is entered as "Lead", series of activities are auto scheduled. Tasks are undertaken until "Contact Status" is upgraded to "Prospect" where an additional series of events is created and undertaken and when "Contact Status" becomes "Client" additional activities auto populate the contacts scheduled activities.

It might be complicated, but is possible. You need to watch for a change then trigger the macro to create the events. Plus, if you make the switch before all tasks are complete, changing the existing tasks could be complicated.

This macro shows one way to create a series of macros: http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/tasks/create-series-tasks/ - this will get unwieldy if you need a lot of tasks in the series though. (I updated it so it should handle the creation of a lot of tasks better.)
 
BTW, on the "Ribbon_GetIMEXImage" error, are you using Access? I know that has been known to trigger this message if you use outlook data in access.
 
BTW, on the "Ribbon_GetIMEXImage" error, are you using Access? I know that has been known to trigger this message if you use outlook data in access.

I do have Access on this machine, as well as SQL 2008 R8, the error stopped without taking any action. Not even a reboot - not sure what to make of it, would be nice if it doesn't come back, but would still like to know what the cause was.
 
Thank Diane,

There is a lot of into on that page. Installed BCM just before the error stopped. Am now running BCM for the first time since an attempt to run the 06-07 version that just didn't seem stable enough on my system at the time to get running properly. Seems to be working now and I am liking what I see. Have tried 3rd party solutions, cloud, desktop, personal Access builds, canned parallel solutions, etc... this could be it.

One thing I noticed within BCM | Business Records | Business Projects | Project Detail | General, "Related accounts and business contacts" there is a subform that shows these related entities. It seems this subform is just populating linked records and there does not seem to be a way to define the role of the linked record to the master entity (which happens to be Project in this case). Since it is a subform, with a lookup to another record, where that record may play various roles with various projects, it seems the role should be defined in a relationship (junction type table, stored in sql). This type of functionality would be of use in defining roles of contact relationships throughout BCM. With your experience in Outlook, is there a solution that could be implemented, such as a cross tab lookup that populates the subform within BCM?

Also, do you know of any way tools that would allow for import or UI update / revisions of task series? There are a number of task series (as many as 30) containing in excess of 1000 unique tasks. Putting the steps into macros could work, but managing these macros and making revisions will be time consuming and prone to error, as workflow revisions are ongoing.

Dana
 
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