The Master Board workflow. How to manage all your projects from one board (with template)

Hello everyone,

I’m Pedro, I am a monday.com referral partner and project manager who supports companies implementing advanced workflows within monday.com and providing consultation and training.

In this article I’m going to describe the Master board workflow that I created to help companies to obtain insights from an unlimited number of projects at the same time, being able to show all of them in one dashboard and one portfolio board.

This approach also facilitates the team members to work in dozens of projects at the same time using only one board to work and communicate.

The master board approach is best suitable for the following uses cases:

  • You have dozens of standard projects or clients (20+) that you want to manage and report from one place.
  • You want your team to work from one board instead of going to different client or project boards.

I will explain here below the main concepts of the master board if you want to build it yourself but I’m also providing more details about how to use it and configure it in the following link.
You will also be able to get the template will all the boards ready to use in your account thanks to the new ability to share workspaces provided by monday.com.


Get the Master board workfload

How to set up the Master Board
The Master Board is a many to one connection , where many boards are connected to a principal one using the Connect boards and Mirror columns.

This workflow can be extended incorporating previous steps like a CRM where the leads are managed before becoming clients.


The process starts in a Portfolio board where the project/client boards are set up and automatically created when desired using a pre-built project template.

This template contains the standard activities for that type of project within the required columns to manage it. The template is using mirror columns because the main information will be hosted in the Master board. The projects can be managed both from the Master board and the project board at the same time thanks to the features provided by the mirrored columns.

How to set up your project board
Once the individual project board is created, the new project board can be configured. The configuration will depend on the specific needs but I like to add the project name and project number so they can be incorporated in the activity when it’s connected to the Master board for a better traceability.


The connection between the project board and the Master board is performed using the following automation.

How to manage the work using the Master Board
After the automation has been launched, the activities are connected to the Master board, the work can then be managed at the same time both from the Master board or from the individual project board depending on the needs. A good use of the Master board is to create a dashboard for each employee where the can manage the tasks and communicate using only the Master board.


The Master board can also show different views for each department aggregating the information from all the connected boards.

Reporting with the Master Board
Having one board with all the projects makes very easy to create a Management dashboard where all the work and financial information can be retrieved from an unlimited number of projects.


Finally, you can also connect the Master board to the Portfolio board so different layers of information can be obtained.

I hope it may serve you as inspiration how to create a Master board workflow. If you want the full workflow template or you need more information about the process you will find it in this link.

5 Likes

Hi Pedro, this is a very helpful example, thanks for sharing.

Another way to look at every item across boards is via Combined Board View in the App Marketplace. It doesn’t necessarily show all stats and graphs of Master Board, but you can filter or sort by any item by clicking on the column and choosing from the options.

Hi TuesdaysTools ,

Yes, I understand they serve different purposes. The Master Board approach is self-contained package of boards and dashboards to manage the work and get reports. Using the built-in filtering options of the dashboards is possible to display different views for all the widgets.

@PedroM can you have multiple Project templates? We essentially have three types of project templates - Flows (design and CRM) and Phased Projects (where pulses don’t move between groups). The main thing I’m worried about is that the column structures are not exactly the same between the groups.

Hi @jdw,

Yes if course, I’ve already implemented that approach. You can create different templates and launch them from the portfolio. Depending on your needs you can synchronize all the different projects in the same Master board or create one specific Master board for each type of project.
Hope it helps.

@TuesdaysTools I see that the Combined Board View allows bulk updates, but can you update an individual item one at a time (e.g. just by clicking on and changing the status column for that item)? Or would you still have to use the “bulk update” tool in order to update a single item?

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@jdw Some columns have the ability to edit in-line like name, status, and a few others. We’re currently working on being able to edit date in-line. For example, if you hover over name you’ll see a little pencil appear and if you click on that, you’ll be able to edit.

After days of being confused and trying to figure out whether this program will work for me, I think this post might show me something I can use. My question has to do with archiving. I want the master board to be for approximately 60 individual cases in a family law firm. I would have 60 projects, with each project being an individual case. When the individual case (project) is over, can I archive the individual project to get it out of the master board, or does the entire master board need to be archived?

Hi @CAMajewski and welcome to the community! In the awesome solution made by @PedroM you can use a status trigger automation to move an item to an archive board which is a duplicate of the Master board. Within the Archive board, I have made a similar column to send the record back in case of error. You could also do this with a date automation, etc.

Hope this helps,
Mark

This is potentially very cool but also very useless as long as they don’t allow automations for mirorred columns…

@edoaber - That’s coming this year. You can already automate some notifications off of mirror status columns. Others to follow, it’s a very popular request.

Hi @CAMajewski , yes you can archive one individual project in the Master board. It already contains one automation to be able to do that. You have just to filter by the project name, select all the activities and select Archive. They will be moved to the “Master Board - Archive” board.
After that you can archive the board of the project since the information is contained in the “Master Board - Archive” board.
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Hi @edoaber , the Master Board was conceived to host all the automations. You can incorporate there all the notifications or other type of automations and they will work in the projects as well.
If you needed to incorporate any specific automations in the mirrored board you can use the automation “When status changes to something, change another status to something”, that already works with mirrored columns, to trigger a second automation.

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Great! This solves a lot of issues… but not all of them… eg. “when an item is moved to group change master status to something”

Hi @edoaber , I would need to know a little more about the use case. May you please describe what you would like to achieve?

Thank you, Pedro @PedroM ! I submitted a request for the board/workflow/template (I do not know terminology yet) yesterday. Will I receive it via email, or will it appear in my account? Thanks, Christine.

Hi @PedroM here’s my use case:

I work for an architectural firm where we manage many different project at once. Different designers work on different project and each project has its own board.

What I’m trying to accomplish is to create a master board where all my task are collected so that the firm managers can have a bird’s-eye view on who is doing what and when.

So far I managed to do something quite similar to what I want but there are some limitations due to the fact that mirrored column don’t have the same features the “normal” one have.

I solved some issues thanks to your previous suggestion, but not all of them.

  1. On the project board I can’t use some automation such as “when an item is moved to group change mirrored status to something”;
  2. The messages written in the parent item inside the master board won’t transfer to the item in the project board and viceversa;
  3. The item results assigned to the assignee as in the master board and not in the project board as I would like it to be.

The firs issue is not that crucial right now, but the other two are very much so.

Regarding the third issue I managed to create a very dull workaround: on the project board I assign the item from a not-linked column and on the master board I add a drop-down menu where I write the assignee initials, and I link it to the project board.
So the assignee is directed to the project board and not to the master and also he doesn’t get a double assignment.
I don’t know it this is clear enough…

Hi @CAMajewski , yes you will receive an email with the installation link.

Hi @edoaber , I see that you have some ad-hoc needs. I provide here below some comments:

  1. Yes, currently the automations with mirrored columns only work in one way, from mirror to standard. When the other way is available you will be able to create that workflow.
  2. One benefit of having all the activities in the Master board is that you can use it as the only place to communicate. The personal dashboards are the way to work in several projects from the same place without a need to go to the dedicated projects boards.
  3. The concept of the current Master board is that the assignee is the same like in the Master board and the projects. I think that for your use case it will work well the approach that you have implemented.
    Hope it helps,