Copper’s Pipeline can be used for any process that follows milestones or stages. In this article, we’ll cover how to use Pipelines to track projects and deliverables.
Using Copper’s Pipelines to track projects
Pipelines have two components:
- Pipeline Stages: steps or milestones in a process
- Opportunities: items that move through the Pipeline Stages.
In this context, an Opportunity represents a project or deliverable that your team is working on. The Pipeline Stages represent the process that it needs to move through to reach completion.
The example below shows a Pipeline called Project Management. The Stages of that Pipeline are New, In Progress, and Done. We also have an Opportunity, Set up Mailchimp integration, that will move along the Pipeline Stages.
Before you create your Pipeline, decide on the Pipeline Stages based on the type of work your team is doing. Here are some examples:
- New → In Progress → Done
- Research → Strategy → Execution → Delivery → Reporting
- Received → Backlog → In Development → QA → Delivered
- Assign → Kickoff → Implement → Review → Sign off
As a best practice, we recommend creating 3-8 stages. Each stage should represent a distinct phase or set of actions in the work process.
Once you’ve decided on your stages, create your new Pipeline by opening an existing Pipeline, clicking on its name to reveal more options, and selecting “+ Create New Pipeline.” This will take you to the Pipeline builder.
Select “Start from Scratch” and enter the name of the Pipeline and its Stages.
Once you’ve created the Pipeline, add Opportunities one-by-one or do a bulk import. Then, you can:
- Move Opportunities through different Pipeline Stages by dragging and dropping them
- Enter more information about each Opportunity, such as its Close Date
- Log additional Notes and Activities
- Create Tasks within each Opportunity
Pipeline management best practices
You can further optimize your project management Pipeline with these best practices:
Deactivate the Value field: If your projects aren’t tied to a particular monetary amount, you can hide the Value field from the Pipeline to streamline your view. To do this, go to Settings > Customize > Manage Fields on Records > Opportunities and select the Pipeline. Then, click the minus icon beside the Value field to hide it.
Further customize the Pipeline fields: For example, you could create a new dropdown for Priority Level or a date field for Start Date. To do this, go to Settings > Customize > Manage Fields on Records > Opportunities and select your project management Pipeline. From there, click “Create Field” to add a new field, or use the minus icon beside an existing field to hide it from view.
Use Opportunity statuses: This can help you keep track of the outcomes. For example, mark an Opportunity as Won if your team has completed all the work within it. Or mark it as Lost if they were not able to complete it. You can change an Opportunity’s status by dragging the Opportunity card towards the bottom of the screen in Pipeline view, or by editing the Status dropdown when you’re viewing its details.
Assign an Owner to each Opportunity: Each project should have someone assigned to it in order to maintain accountability and to keep it moving along. You can assign an Owner by opening up an Opportunity and filling out the Owner field.
Associate People with each Opportunity: This allows our Google Workspace integration to surface emails and calendar events directly in the Opportunity’s activity log. You can add People by going to the Related section of an Opportunity and clicking “Add Person.”
Use Tasks within Opportunities: This will allow you to break up each project Opportunity into smaller to-dos. You can also assign different Tasks to different teammates and set different due dates for each one. The easiest way to create a Task within an Opportunity is to open it, go to the Related section, and click the “+” under the Tasks section.
Integrating with project management tools
Depending on your use case, you might want to track your projects in a dedicated project management software instead of using Copper Pipelines. This will give you access to that tool’s purpose-built features. But this also means that you’ll have to track your projects and their associated tasks in a separate system.
You can avoid much of the inconvenience of using two separate tools by integrating your project management solution with Copper. We integrate with tools like Asana, Airtable, and Trello via Zapier — check out our Integration Marketplace for the full list of project management tools in the “Productivity” category. As you build out your integration, consider what kind of information needs to be passed back and forth between Copper, and when you would like that to happen.
We’re happy to talk over your Pipeline or integration setup with you. Feel free to reach out to our team through the Copper Community forum, join our live weekly Q&A, or start a chat by clicking the chat icon in-app.