Plan a project with external clients

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  • 1. Gather information from co-workers

    Before you start working on a project with external clients, contact co-workers in your organization who can help provide information about external clients and their roles. Send an email or a quick message to someone.

    Compose an email:

    1. Open Gmail.
    2. On the left, click   Compose .
    3. (Optional) To change your window size, in the upper corner, click Maximize   or Exit full screen   .
    4. Add recipients and a subject.
    5. Enter your message.

      Email you start writing but don't send are automatically saved in Drafts on the left.

    6. (Optional) Add attachments, such as Drive files drive or photos image.
    7. Click Send.

    Tip: To cancel sending an email, at the bottom of the window, click Undo. This option appears briefly, but you can change how long it lasts. See Undo sending your mail.

    Send a direct message to someone:

    1. Open Chat.
    2. On the left, click Find people, rooms, bots.
    3. Enter a name or email address or select a contact from the suggestions.
    4. Enter your direct message and click Send  .

    Send a direct message to a group:

    1. On the left, click Find people, rooms, bots > Group Message.
    2. Enter names or email addresses or select contacts from the suggestions.
    3. After you add your contacts, click Message.
    4. Enter your DM and click Send  .
    5. (Optional) To hide a group DM, on the left, point to the direct message and click More more_vert > Hide remove_circle_outline.

  • 2. Communicate with external clients

    After you establish what clients you need to contact, send them an introduction email.

    1. Open Gmail.
    2. On the left, click   Compose .
    3. (Optional) To change your window size, in the upper corner, click Maximize   or Exit full screen   .
    4. Add recipients and a subject.
    5. Enter your message.

      Email you start writing but don't send are automatically saved in Drafts on the left.

    6. (Optional) Add attachments, such as Drive files drive or photos image.
    7. Click Send.

    Tip: To cancel sending an email, at the bottom of the window, click Undo. This option appears briefly, but you can change how long it lasts. See Undo sending your mail.

  • 1. Schedule a meeting

    You can schedule events and video meetings with people who don’t have Google Accounts. Guests will get an email invitation and can respond. Using Hangouts Meet, any guest can join your meeting by clicking the link in your invitation. If you get a meeting request that isn’t in Google Calendar, you can still respond and then add the meeting to Calendar.

    1. In Calendar, click an empty time slot in the calendar grid and click Event. You can also click   Create .
    2. Add an event title, date, and time.
    3. (Optional) To create an event using another calendar, next to your name, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down and select the calendar.
    4. Click More options or Save.

  • 2. Join the meeting

    See your scheduled meeting in Calendar and quickly join a video meeting. Use this Hangouts Meet cheat sheet.

    1. In Calendar, click the event you want to join.
    2. Click Join Hangouts Meet and in the window that opens, click Join Meeting.

  • 3. Capture requirements

    Create a document to outline the requirements from your client.

    Choose an option:

    • In Docs, scroll down and click Create new document add.
    • In Drive, click New > Google Docs > Blank document or From a template.

  • 4. Send a follow-up email to clients

    After the meeting, send a follow-up email to summarize the meeting notes and ask for any additional information.

    1. Open Gmail.
    2. On the left, click   Compose .
    3. (Optional) To change your window size, in the upper corner, click Maximize   or Exit full screen   .
    4. Add recipients and a subject.
    5. Enter your message.

      Email you start writing but don't send are automatically saved in Drafts on the left.

    6. (Optional) Add attachments, such as Drive files drive or photos image.
    7. Click Send.

    Tip: To cancel sending an email, at the bottom of the window, click Undo. This option appears briefly, but you can change how long it lasts. See Undo sending your mail.

  • 1. Review information from clients

    When you get documents and other files from your client, keep all related project information in one place. Store your project documents, images, and other files securely in Drive. Any changes people make synchronize to the cloud so everyone sees up-to-date content.

    One way to store files in Drive is to upload a copy of them using your web browser:

    1. Go to Drive.
    2. Click   New , select File upload or Folder upload, and then choose the file or folder you want to upload.
    3. Click Open.

    If you’re using the latest version of Chrome or Firefox®, you can simply drag files directly from your computer to the Drive page on your browser.

    If you upload a file that matches the name of an existing file, Drive will add it as a new version, instead of creating a duplicate. To see the previous version of that file, you can manage versions.

    When you see Upload complete, your files have uploaded successfully and can be accessed in any browser or device that has Drive installed.

  • 2. Assign tasks to co-workers

    After you establish who needs to work on an assignment, you can assign tasks to your co-workers.

    1. In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, select the text you'd like to comment on.
    2. Click Comment comment > Add comment add_comment.
    3. Enter your comment in the box.
    4. (Optional) To direct your task or comment to a specific person, enter a plus sign (+) followed by their email address. You can add as many people as you want. Each person will get an email with your comment and a link to the file.
    5. (Optional) To assign the comment to a specific person, check the Assign to box.
    6. Click Comment or Assign.

  • 3. Track updates and changes

    See how your project tasks are progressing at a glance with conditional formatting rules. For example, add colors to make completed tasks stand out from tasks that haven’t been started or are in progress.

    Set up progress trackers:

      1. Open Sheets and select the column that you want to apply the formatting rules to.
      2. Select Format > Conditional formatting.
      3. Set up the rules. In this example, you assign a different color to tasks that are Complete, Not started, or In progress:

    a On the Single color tab, under Format cells if, select Text contains.

    b In the box under Text contains, type Complete.

    c Under Formatting style, click the list to choose if you want the background or text to be colored.

    d To assign a custom text or background color, click Text color format_color_text or Fill color format_color_fill. If needed, you can specify a color for the text and a color for the background.

    e If you want to add more rules, click Add another rule and follow the same steps. For example, assign a red background to Not started tasks and an orange background to In progress tasks.

    f Click Done.

  • 4. Save deliverables in a shared folder

    Store project documents, images, and other files in Drive and then share them instantly (and securely) with co-workers or clients. Any changes made to files sync to the cloud so everyone sees up-to-date content.

    To store and share files in a Team Drive, see Get started with Team Drives.

    Create a folder:

    In Drive, click New > Folder.

    Share a file or folder with specific people:

    You can only share files that you own or have edit access to.

    1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select Share person_add.
    2. Under People, enter the email address of the person or group you want to share with.

      Note: If you can't add people outside of your company or organization, contact your G Suite administrator.

    3. Click Edit edit and choose the access level:
        • Can edit—Collaborators can add and edit content as well as add comments.
        • Can comment (Select files only)—Collaborators can add comments, but can't edit content.
        • Can view—People can view the file, but not edit or add comments.

      Everyone you share with receives an email with a link to the file or folder.

    4. (Optional) To add a note to the email, enter your note. To skip sending an email, uncheck the Notify people box.
    5. Click Send.

    Share a link to a file or folder:

    You can send other people a link to a file or folder so that anyone with the link can open it. When you share a link, your name appears as the owner.

    You can only share files that you own or have edit access to.

    1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select Share person_add.
    2. At the top right, click Get shareable link.
    3. Click Anyone at your organization with the link can view and choose an access level:
      • Can edit—Collaborators can add and edit content as well as add comments.
      • Can comment (Select files only)—Collaborators can add comments, but can't edit content.
      • Can view—People can view the file, but not edit or add comments.
    4. Click Copy link.
    5. Click Done.
    6. Paste the link in an email or any place you want to share it.

  • 5. Send work to clients for review and feedback

    You can share Google Drive files with external clients, whether they have a Google Account or not*. Just share the file with their email address. They’ll get a link to your file and can view it on the web. If they want to edit or comment in your file, they can sign up for a Google Account right from the file.

    *If your client doesn’t have a Google Account, your organization needs to allow sharing of Drive files with people outside of your organization (with or without a Google Account) and external people to view files without signing in.

    1. In Google Drive, select a file and click Share person_add.
    2. Enter the names of the people you want to share the file with.

      Note: If you can't add people outside of your company, ask your G Suite administrator for help.

    3. Click Edit mode_edit and select Can edit, Can comment, or Can view, depending on what access you want to give.
    4. Make sure the Notify people box is checked and click Send.

  • 6. Target comments and assign tasks

    1. In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, select the text you'd like to comment on.
    2. Click Comment comment > Add comment add_comment.
    3. Enter your comment in the box.
    4. (Optional) To direct your task or comment to a specific person, enter a plus sign (+) followed by their email address. You can add as many people as you want. Each person will get an email with your comment and a link to the file.
    5. (Optional) To assign the comment to a specific person, check the Assign to box.
    6. Click Comment or Assign.

  • 1. Schedule a final meeting with clients

    When all assignments are complete, schedule a final meeting with your clients.

    1. In Calendar, click an empty time slot in the calendar grid and click Event. You can also click   Create .
    2. Add an event title, date, and time.
    3. (Optional) To create an event using another calendar, next to your name, click the Down arrow arrow_drop_down and select the calendar.
    4. Click More options or Save.

  • 2. Join the meeting

    See your scheduled meeting in Calendar and quickly join a video meeting. Use this Hangouts Meet cheat sheet.

    1. In Calendar, click the event you want to join.
    2. Click Join Hangouts Meet and in the window that opens, click Join Meeting.

  • 3. Share and present during a video meeting

    In the video meeting, share your screen to present the final documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more.

    1. In Google Drive, open the Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Google Slides file you want to share or present.
    2. (Optional) To edit a document, spreadsheet, or presentation simultaneously with your guests:
      1. In the upper-right corner, click Share.
      2. Add a title to your document and click Save.
      3. Add your meeting guests and give everyone Can edit access.
      4. Click Send.
    3. Open Hangouts Meet and join the meeting.
    4. Click Present now and choose what to share:
      • Your entire screen
      • A window
    5. Click Share.

      Now people can follow along as you present. To stop sharing your screen at any time, at the bottom of your screen, click Stop sharing.

  • 4. Send final deliverables to clients

    When you’re sharing sensitive Drive files with external clients, you can prevent people from downloading, printing, or copying them. You can also set an expiration date on files so external partners and agencies can’t access them after a project ends.

    1. In Drive, select a file or folder that you own.
    2. At the top, click Share person_add.
    3. At the bottom, click Advanced.
    4. Check the Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people box. 

      People with Can comment or Can view access already can’t add new people or change access permissions. Now people with Can edit access also can’t do these things either.

    5. Click Save changes.
    6. Click Done.

    When someone with Can edit access tries to re-share a restricted file or folder, they get an option to email you for permission to share the file. You can decide whether to share the file. If you do, the user still can’t change access permissions. They’re grayed out and not available.

  • 5. Send a follow-up email to clients

    Send a follow-up email to summarize the finalized deliverables and get feedback.

    1. Open Gmail.
    2. On the left, click   Compose .
    3. (Optional) To change your window size, in the upper corner, click Maximize   or Exit full screen   .
    4. Add recipients and a subject.
    5. Enter your message.

      Email you start writing but don't send are automatically saved in Drafts on the left.

    6. (Optional) Add attachments, such as Drive files drive or photos image.
    7. Click Send.

    Tip: To cancel sending an email, at the bottom of the window, click Undo. This option appears briefly, but you can change how long it lasts. See Undo sending your mail.