When it comes to planning assessments, Rico is often seen as a one-size-fits-all software system. However, this is far from the truth. While Rico offers standard workflows and report templates, its real value lies in the enhancements it provides to the planning assessment process.
We understand that planners have their own unique approaches to planning assessments. That's why we've made Rico completely customisable. This article will explain how you can tailor Rico to meet your specific needs and improve your planning assessment processes.
Customisation on Rico is divided into three parts: Workflows, Reports, and Styling. Each of these steps plays a crucial role in the planning assessment process, and customising them can help you tailor Rico to your specific needs.
Here's a breakdown of each step and the customisation options available:
Workflows are the process of preparing a planning assessment. Here, you can pull relevant information into projects and provide your professional opinions. Customisation options for workflows include adding or removing steps, creating custom fields, and demonstrating compliance against rules and provisions.
Reports are the outputs of a planning assessment. This is where the information entered and assessments made in workflows are output into a word document. Customisation options for reports include choosing which information to output into reports and customising report templates.
Design is how the reports look. This is where you can set up custom cover pages, headers, footers, fonts, and styles to make report outputs identical to your own. Customisation options for styling include customising fonts, colours, and logos, and creating custom cover pages and headers.
By customising these three parts of Rico, you can make the planning assessment process more efficient and tailored to your needs.
Before diving into the details, it's important to note that most planners typically think of assessments as reports rather than workflows. While laying out a workflow in a similar format to a report is a common approach, it's essential to understand the nature of workflows and reports in Rico to fully utilize its functionality and adapt it to your needs.
In Rico, workflows can be broken down into two components: the overall 'job to be done' and the steps needed to complete it.
The 'job to be done' refers to the overarching goal that the workflow aims to achieve. Examples of this could include a resource consent application assessment, certificate of compliance assessment, or planning check.
Steps are the individual parts that make up the job to be done. Rico encourages a systematic approach to planning assessments, breaking down the overall job into smaller, more manageable tasks. Examples of these steps could include providing a site description, assessing relevant rules from a plan section, or addressing a specific section under the RMA.
To help you complete each step, Rico offers a variety of components. These components can range from a simple text field for entering an assessment, to more complex tools like the Subject Site Search feature (where you search for an address and Rico automatically retrieves all the relevant planning information for that site).
Below is a complete list of the available components and their functionality. If you have access to Rico, you can see how they are used in various steps of the standard workflows.
Project Setup - Add basic information about the project
Subject Site Search - Identify the subject site and pull in relevant information from GIS
Consideration Checklists - Extensive check to identify relevant planning considerations
Considerations - Provide an overview of considerations identified in the Subject Site Search and Consideration Checklists and ability to add any planning document to the project to be assessed.
Activity adder (for added Plan Documents) - Add relevant activities from a planning document to your project and provide a description for why they are triggered.
Standards assessment (for added Plan Documents) - Add, assess and comment on relevant standards to be included in your project.
Provisions assessment (for added Plan Documents) - Add and comment on relevant provisions such as objectives, policies, matters, assessment criteria etc.
Assessment field - Allows you to provide a response or assessment in relation to a specific requirement or consideration or ‘exclude’ that step where irrelevant.
Ultimately, a workflow creates a process to work through completing a given planning assessment. Each time you create a new project, you’ll start with a fresh workflow that you can start working through, completing and populating the various steps.
A project on Rico can be exported as a report anytime. This report will take all the assessments you've made and turn them into a Word document that’s downloaded from Rico.
It’s good to familiarise yourself with how information and assessments flow from workflows to reports. Using the Review tab helps with this and you can see this in action with the standard workflows and reports set up in Rico. In addition to seeing what reports look like, the preview updates in real-time so you can see how the work you’re completing in steps of the workflow translates to sections of your report.
When customizing reports on Rico, you need to set the structure of the report. This includes the title and table of contents.
The title is simply the name of the report. This appears in the dropdown at the top of the review tab which is next to the ‘download’ button you click to download a report.
Think of the structure of the report as a table of contents, where you list the headings in the report in order. Each section in a report is populated with assessments you've made at each step of the workflow. Each step creates information to output, which can then be piped into report sections.
You set the structure of a report by listing out the headings and which information is to be output under each of those headings.
You can have more than one report option. For instance, for the same workflow, you could have a main report like an assessment of environmental effects and a secondary report to use as an appendix like an application checklist. However, it's worth noting that it’s best to keep the number of reports to a minimum and have these line up as closely as possible with workflows to keep things simple.
So far, we've discussed how to create assessments in a workflow and export them into a report. By default, reports in Rico have a basic design that can be customized to your liking.
Currently, changes require assistance on the Rico side to be made. We typically use an example report in Word format to configure the following:
Fonts, paragraph spacing, indents, and more.
Headers and Footers
+ other report sections (such as a document control record or disclaimer)
Get in touch with us to discuss any of the above changes further. We'd be happy to help.