Articles on: Getting started

Getting Started in Leantime: An Introduction to Setting Structure to the Work

Onboarding Leantime

The Getting Started Guide


Created by: Gloria Folaron
Last Date of Update: May 25 2024


Leantime's My Work Dashboard View

Welcome to Leantime! Getting started in Leantime will be a little different than what you’ve likely experienced in other tools. There’s a few reasons for this:

Leantime focuses on your mission and your goals. You can’t work on the right tasks without knowing where you want to go. That’d be like going to the airport with an unmarked ticket and trying to find your gate.
Accomplishing epic things usually means you have a team to work with but not everyone has the experience or training to manage the tools. That’s why we focus on easy to use and intuitive flows.
We focus on people; on our experiences as humans and the uniqueness in how our brains work. We use psychology and cognitive science to support the details. Managing your work should be inspiring. You are doing amazing things.

The First Steps – Setting Structure

Setting structure comes from creating a hierarchy of information – going from the high level big picture down to the details of the everyday.

Project Hierarchies in Leantime

In this picture here, you can see that the project drop down starts with Strategy of VisionTech Solutions BU 1. It then drops down into two related Plans – Plan Customer Experience Enhancement Program and under that sits two Projects: Omni-Channel Customer Support & Personalized Customer Onboarding.
When you set the structure, think through the Big Picture of what you and your team are trying to accomplish.

When you log into Leantime, you’ll already have a first project set up and access to the My Work Dashboard. To start with a strategy, you’ll “Start Something New”

Click Start Something New

Create a Strategy in Leantime

Describe the Big Picture (Start with Strategy)

More than likely, you have a list of items already in front of you that you know you need to do. They might be for you, might be for the team, but there’s a list of tasks and every second you sit with it in front of you, it seems to grow another item.

The first step will feel counterintuitive but it’s the most important.

You need to decide -- With all the tasks on my list:

What are we trying to accomplish?
How does the world look different when we accomplish it?
What 3-5 areas are we focusing on to get there?
What are the metrics (goals) that help us know we’re on our way or have made it?

Describing the Big Picture

When you select, “Create a Strategy,” the screen will update to this view.

From there, you’ll answer the questions above and fill in the information. You’ll be able to create your focus areas and goals in the next area so don’t worry about that here just yet. Focus on #1 and #2 and then a summary of it in the executive summary.

Creating Focus Areas & Goals

Questions #3 and #4 will go into the Focus Areas & Goals sections. Focus areas will come pre-populated with 4 focus areas: Customer, Financial, Internal Processes & Learning and Growth. You can edit these, add more, and create the goals that go into them.

Click into “Customer” to get started on your focus area.

Updating the Focus Area

Now that you know what you’re focusing on, it’s time to define what metric lets you know you’re getting there.

Time to Create a Goal

Click Save & Close and your screen will look like this:

Focus Area & Goal View in Leantime

Once complete, the Strategy Overview should look something like this:

Strategy Focus Area Overview

*NOTE: Emojis are currently manually added under the “Focus Areas.” We highly recommend adding them for contrast and quick visualization as it helps make the text easier to understand. To add the emojis, you will need to copy and paste them with your text. In the future, we will add this as a feature.

Moving from the Big Picture: Naming Your Plans

Creating Plans is your opportunity to think through the next phases of accomplishing your goals. Plans offer a way to see across multiple projects and visualize the progress. In the future, this area will also better support resource management and improve the overall planning experience.

Another way to look at Plans is as Program Management.

Creating a Program Plan in Leantime

To get started you’ll go back to “Start Something New” - like you did to create your strategy. Then select “Create a Plan.”

Adding Plan to Strategy

Add a description and be sure to Select the Strategy that this program should be a part of – in our case this should be Strategy // Empower Education Fundraising Campaign.

Once you save, your Plan Dashboard will show the description. This part is intended to help you think through the stages and size of what you are working towards. In this scenario, we have three projects that this work will break down into and so from here, we’ll move to planning at the Project Level.

This step is important for helping you break down the work structure in a systematic way and to set up the information in a way that shows both the connections between the work to the big picture and for scale as your program grows.

Creating a Project from Plans

Plans to Execution: Working in Projects

During onboarding, you created a first project. If this project belongs in this program, you can update that in the Project Settings area. If not, you can take the flow from the Start Something New or go from the New Project button from the Plan Dashboard.

Add the Project to the right Plan

Once you fill in the details, you’ll select Save. The screen will update and show you several new options for settings. Be sure to select the proper Plan this aligns with.

By doing so, you create the hierarchy that you see here in the Navigation bar. It makes communication easier and it easier to see across the structure of how the work is connected.

Project Dashboard

From there, you can move on to getting your project ready. Move over to the Project Dashboard for a checklist breakdown that highlights the steps to establishing a project.


You’ve set up the structure necessary to start putting the work in and are well on your way to accomplishing your goals! We find deciding the breakdown of the work and knowing where to start can be one of the hardest parts – so don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers while you’re doing it.

The goal here is to set you and your team up for growing success.

This is the first part of getting familiar with the system. Coming up will be a guide on utilizing all the features at the Project level. It gets it’s own guide as you’ll be spend most of your time in the Projects and in the My Work Dashboard.

Updated on: 28/05/2024

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