Join Typical Project Workflow

This article walks through our recommendations for the steps of a typical project in Join. There are links to supporting articles if you have questions about any topics covered.

Table of Contents

Start by creating a Project in Join

To start a project, navigate to the sign-in page at After logging in you can create a new project by clicking the + New Project button in the upper right corner of the project screen (for steps on how to create a project, see the Creating a New Project article, this is only available for paying General Contractors).

Tip: You can use Join before the project is awarded. For tips check out Join for Pursuit

Set up the Project

After the project is generated, navigate to the Settings tab. Here you can add more detail about the project in the Description, edit your Notification preferences, upload a Print Header, and tailor the Display settings. If there are ways you want to pivot your data, add a custom categorization. Set up your Items Default Template and Units of Measure that will be used on the project. Categories are fundamental to your ability to pivot, sort, and filter lists and reports in Join. They help communicate priorities, track reasons for change, cost confidence, and much more. We recommend setting these up early, but you can also generate categories later on in the project. 

The first Milestone

This will take place under the Milestones tab in the first Milestone (this Milestone is created and named when you generate the project). Here you will create or import the Milestone Estimate in the Estimate tab, set milestone-specific metrics under the metrics tab, and populate key details such as a description, meetings, and any supporting documents (such as specifications or a model) in their respective tabs. 

Tip: Naming a Milestone is configurable. You can use the design phase, date issued, or any other convention needed for the project. 

Along with the Milestone Estimate, you can set the target for the project by entering or uploading a Milestone Budget. Budgets allow for reflection in real time between where the project starts and the goal you’re working towards. The more detail the better, but if needed it can be as high level as a single-line lump sum. For more information read The Importance of a Milestone Budget in Join.

Start generating Items

Items are the ideas you want to communicate, collaborate on, and ultimately make decisions about in the project. These ideas have a variety of properties that can be leveraged in reports like assignee, due date, Milestone, Meeting, and any Categorizations. Items can be generated both before inviting external collaborators and after. We encourage adding a few before inviting other team members to help prime the pump for collaboration.

Tip: Learn how to use Join to run a TVD project by using categorizations.

Invite the Team

One of the most important things in Join is to involve all the vital stakeholders on your project team. There are no limits on the number of teammates you can invite to a project, nor are there any additional fees for doing so. Inviting the team allows decisions to be better informed and the impact of a decision better understood by all participants. 

You can send invitations under the Teams tab with assigned roles for each teammate. The Roles will apply specific permission sets that limit what can be seen or edited, allowing you to collaborate confidently.  

Note: Depending on the project you might need to tailor the role permissions to a specific workflow. This can be accomplished under the Roles tab where you can set and preview permission sets (access is limited to project administrators).

Once you have sent out the invitations to the project it is important to communicate the expectations around teammate involvement in Join. The workflow may vary depending on the project and contract type but we encourage explaining expectations for Item Assignments, @Mentions, and Status Transitions.  If you have questions about these functions check out our Items Overview. If it is their first time seeing/using Join, we also have some role-specific video series to share that cover what Join is and how to use the application.

Tip: Use our Project Messaging Plan template as part of your project kickoff to help get everyone on the same page.

Use Join to make Decisions

Join allows you to leverage the information from the Estimate with the Budget value overlaid and the potential for change highlighted by the Items. With this contextual information, the Team can make data-driven decisions with a greater understanding of cost impact. As an Item is transitioned from Pending to Accepted, the impact is reflected in the Running total on the Project Sidebar, in reports such as the Milestone Summary Report, and can be used to compare to previous points in the project with a Variance Report. Reports are an important way to present information in Join and can be created, shared, and maintained in real time with decisions as they happen. 

Note: Learn the tips and tricks of Running an OAC meeting in Join.

Add a new Milestone

When the next line in the sand is ready to be drawn you will walk through the same import process to bring in the Estimate detail as before, but this time you will generate a new milestone on the Milestones tab. From here you can either create the Milestone as a draft or publish it. A draft Milestone will limit visibility based on role permissions until the Milestone is ready to be published to the rest of the team. Along with the Milestone Estimate, you can set a new Budget by following the same process as before. If your Milestone Budget is going to remain the same you can use the Copy from feature to roll either the previous Milestone Estimate or Budget forward as your new Milestone Budget. 

Once the Milestone is published there are two more steps that need to be taken. 

  • Transition Items- For each new milestone, you should transition the applicable Items forward. This process would include updating their status (such as transitioning from accepted to incorporated), value, categorizations, assignments and other details to reflect the opportunities and ideas pertaining to the new Milestone. 
  • Set the Active Milestone- The Dashboards and built-in Reports will always use the active milestone, so after transitioning the Items and updating them set the new milestone as active. 

Add more Items and make decisions

Continue to add Items as you develop more Milestones. New Items will default to the active Milestone and can be rolled forward with status updates as you progress through the project, adding more Milestones. 


This concludes the walkthrough of a typical project workflow. If you have questions about specific functions in Join that haven't been covered here

 you can search for them in the Success Hub or reach out to us at