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Collaborative Inbox for Managing Tasks Between Employees

Google Group Collaborative Inbox is a way to track and manage workflow of tasks between all members within your group and useful in support teams, where you can assign a topic to an individual, mark topics as resolved, add tags to topics, and filter topics. Email notifications are automatically generated to all concerned through every step of the workflow process.

This is the desired solution meant to replace a Delegated in-box for each member of your work group, that is based on assigned GMail labels and manually generating email notifications.

First, request that the LBL Google team create a new Google Group via a ticket (help.lbl.gov).

Initial Setup

As a Manager, to change the group type to the "Collaborative inbox", navigate to: the "Manage" link..."Information" tab, "Advanced" menu option. Under "Reset Group", click the "Reset this group" button to change the roles accordingly for this type of Google group:

Note, if you do not have the privileges to do this, please contact the Help Desk.


Adding Members to your Collaborative Group

You can use "Direct add members" to your group by navigating to “Manage" link, "Members" tab, and click "Direct add Members” menu option. You may Copy-Paste multiple email addresses or type emails in individually.

 


Manage your Group members

You can assign roles to your members by navigating to: "Manage" link, "Members" tab, "All Members" menu option. Select the checkbox left of the member name, then under "Actions" dropdown menu button, you can configure the user's profile.


Setup Categories or Tags

Categories or Tags are additional options to manage your workflow. For this setup, navigate to: "Settings" menu option, click "Tags".



Adding your first “New Topic”

The following ICON is viewable if you are Manager while in the “Manage” mode:

(Note, the hover text says, "Back," but this is misleading and may be ignored.)

By selecting this, you will toggle to the “New Topic” collection inbox. This is the interface where all group members will add new topics and respond to existing topics (via Post Reply option) to build your customized workflow. You will have further options to assign a topic to any member of the group, filter on Tags, and also put topics in a “completed” status.

Within each Topic, your group will eventually build several reply conversations by selecting the “Post reply” button:


Additional Options to Inbox Topics

For each Topic you can assign a Topic to yourself (Take) or assign to another member of your Group (Assign).

 

Note, the "Take" button is displayed only if "Take Topic" is set (located by clicking on Manage link from your Google Groups home screen>Permissions>Moderation permissions. Under "Take Topic", at least one group type must be chosen (Owners, Managers, All members).


Completing Topics

The Inbox Topic section has a feature to set individual reply conversations into a “completed” status, although this option is not immediately apparent - it is only viewable after the second reply conversation is added by either the Manager or Member only. Topics marked as Complete can be toggled on and off as needed. Also Completed topics can be filtered separately in the “Filter” drop down button (discussed below).

 



Filters

Besides the built-in filter capability with Tags, you can additionally filter on Topics by status of Completed, “Assigned To”, “No Action Needed”, along with desired posting date-range:



Email Notifications

Whenever a new topic is created, or an existing topic is replied to by a member, an email notification will be sent automatically to all or selected members. Members may reply to the emails from their own in-box that will create additional reply conversations directly to the Topics section. Too much email? - no problem, with your Group settings you can request only one email daily to include all email traffic, or simply opt out of email notifications altogether.


Recommendations for use as a mini-ticketing system
  • Change “Post Replies” setting "To the entire group" choice. This selection is located under navigation to: "Manage" link, "Settings" menu option, "Email Options" choice as follows:

  • Decide if you would like only Managers to create new Topics. This option is found by navigating to: Permissions>Posting Permissions>Post (set your preferred permissions)

  • Use Tags to optimize visibility within your inbox workflow. To set this up, navigate to: "Manage" link, "Settings" drop-down menu option, and select "Tags". Select number of tags per topic (usually between 3 and 5). Then enter your tags with comma-delimited (ie, NEW,ON-HOLD,IN-PROCESS, COMPLETE, etc). Also select the “Post Rule” option (mandatory for topic owners to select at least one tag per topic).

  • For completed Topics, create and use a Tag that you may title as “Complete” rather than the built-in mechanism use to “Mark Complete.”

  • Decide who will manage the inbox and assign that person as “Manager.” Note, the “Mark Complete” built-in mechanism may not be available for New Topics created by the group “Owner.”

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