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Administering Your Enterprise Project Management Solution in Microsoft Project 2010

Setting Up Team Member Work Pages

Team members use Project Web App primarily to track and update their assigned tasks for one or more projects. They do this on the Tasks page.

Team members and managers also have the ability to submit timesheets that track different categories of time—for example, billable time, nonbillable time, billable overtime, and nonbillable overtime. They perform this activity on the Timesheet page.

Team members can also use the Microsoft SharePoint features built in to Project Web App to manage issues and risks that have been assigned to them for resolution. To do this, they use the Issues And Risks page in the Project SharePoint page.

These three pages are available under My Work in the Quick Launch pane.

What’s the Difference Between Tasks and Timesheets?

Your organization might choose to use just the Tasks page, or it might decide to implement the Tasks page in conjunction with the Timesheet page. To use either or both of these pages successfully, you must understand the differences between the two as well as how they work together.

Understanding the Tasks Page

The Tasks page, also referred to as the task progress page, is the page that team members work with to track and update the tasks assigned to them from one or more projects. (See Figure 23-20.) As the project server administrator, you can customize the Tasks page to suit the needs of your organization.

Figure 23-20

Figure 23-20 The Tasks updates can be approved or rejected by the team managers or project managers.

Team members use the Tasks page to see the tasks assigned to them, the scheduled start and finish dates for the tasks, and other assignment information. They also use this page to periodically report on current progress, submitting this progress information to their project manager for incorporation into the project plan.

Understanding the Timesheet Page

The Timesheet page is used in organizations that have specific time-reporting requirements. For example, use the timesheet when you want visibility into certain time categories, such as billable and nonbillable time, scheduled and actual time, overtime, and so on. Default time categories are provided, but you can set up custom time categories as needed. The timesheet is especially useful when you need to integrate information about resource time with an accounting or general ledger system, particularly for client billing purposes.

In the timesheet, team members can also set up and use the administrative time feature, in which they can identify instances of nonproject working time or nonworking time.

Similar to their work with task progress on the Tasks page, team members submit timesheets to their designated timesheet managers on a periodic basis.

Working with Task Progress and Timesheets

You do not have to use both task progress and timesheets. If you do not have specialized time-reporting needs outside the project plan, just use the task progress page to update the project plan. Use both, however, if you need to update the project plan as well as an accounting or general ledger system.

Remember that the task progress page indicates status on how complete a task assignment is, while the timesheet indicates the number of hours spent per day or per week doing various activities. The two are often, but not always, related.

For example, suppose the project team is working for a customer who is to be billed 8 hours per day (40 hours per week) for the contracted work. The timesheet would reflect this, and invoices would be generated for the customer from the timesheet showing 8 hours per day for 5 days per week. However, the resource might actually be working 10 hours per day to complete the tasks by a certain deadline. The task progress page would show this, and the information would be reflected in project actuals but would have no impact on the timesheet or the customer billing.

Working with Timesheet Single-Entry Mode

New in Project Server 2010 is the timesheet single-entry mode, which unifies the data entered in the Timesheet and Tasks pages in Project Web App.

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As the project server administrator, you can establish whether timesheet and task progress information should be unified in single-entry mode or kept separate. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. On the Quick Launch, under Settings, click Server Settings.

  2. Under Time And Task Management, click Timesheet Settings And Defaults.

  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the Single Entry Mode section.

  4. Select or clear the Single Entry Mode check box.

  5. Click the Save button.

Defining the Task Progress Page

To set up the task progress page (the Tasks page), you need to establish the update method and rules used by your organization. If you need to, you can also change the fields and the type of Gantt Chart used on the page.

Setting the Update Method and Restrictions

With your project server administrator privileges, you define the assignment progress tracking method that is reflected on the Tasks page. The tracking method can be as simple as noting whether an assignment is not started, in progress, or completed. It can be as detailed as tracking every hour devoted to each assignment.

Depending on the level of project management control that your organization needs, you can set up a number of assignment update restrictions. For example, you can:

  • Specify whether time should be reported every day or just once per week.

  • Specify whether project managers have the capability to edit updates submitted by team members.

  • Close tasks to further update by anyone after a certain period of time.

Work with the project managers, the portfolio manager, and the requirements of the organization to determine the most appropriate default tracking method. After setting the default, project managers might still be able to switch to a different tracking method for their own projects, but only if you allow that possibility in your project server configuration.

The three tracking methods are as follows:

  • Percentage of work complete This is the least restrictive and least timeconsuming tracking method. The Tasks page includes a field that team members use to update how far along they are with their assignments.

  • Actual work done and remaining work This tracking method provides a medium level of detail. With this method, the Tasks page includes fields for total actual work and remaining work for each assignment. Team members enter these total amounts for each progress update requested.

  • Hours of work done per time period This is the most detailed tracking method.

The Tasks page includes a field for each time period, either days or weeks, for the duration of the project. Team members enter the number of hours worked per day or per week and submit this information with each progress update.

In addition to the default tracking method, you can also control when actuals are accepted and whether they can be changed after they’ve been submitted to the project server.

To set the default tracking method and certain update restrictions, follow these steps:

  1. On the Server Settings page, under Time And Task Management, click Task Settings And Display.

    The Task Settings And Display page appears, as shown in Figure 23-21.

    Figure 23-21

    Figure 23-21 Use the Task Settings And Display page to set the default work-tracking method for the team member task progress page.

  2. In the Tracking Method section, select the option for the tracking method that represents the default for your organization: Percent Of Work Complete, Actual Work Done And Work Remaining, or Hours Of Work Done Per Period, or Free Form.

  3. Select or clear the check box labeled Force Project Managers To Use The Progress Reporting Method Specified Above For All Projects.

    If this check box is cleared, project managers are allowed to change the tracking method in their individual projects. If this check box is selected, project managers must always use the default method selected on this page.

  4. Work through the other options on this page, reading the information in the left pane of each section for additional guidance.

    Options include whether team members should report their hours each day or at the end of the week, and whether the project manager is permitted to change actual time worked as reported by the team members.

  5. When you have finished, click the Save button.

Closing Tasks Against Further Reporting

Another restriction you can apply to protect actual progress information is to close completed tasks to prevent any further updates from being submitted on them. This is also known as locking down the tasks.

To do this from the Server Settings page, follow these steps:

  1. On the Server Settings page, under Time And Task Management, click Close Tasks To Update.

  2. In the Select A Project box, click the name of the project that contains the tasks you want to lock down.

    The tasks in that project are listed in the Select Tasks section.

  3. Select the Lock check box next to the task(s) for which you want to close further reporting.

    If you want to select all tasks, click Select All below the table.

  4. Click the Publish or Submit button.

To lock down the tasks from within a project detail page, follow these steps:

  1. On the Quick Launch, under Projects, click Project Center.

  2. Click the name of the project that contains the tasks you want to lock down.

  3. At the top of the Quick Launch, under the project name, click Schedule.

  4. On the Options tab, in the Tasks group, click Close To Updates.

  5. In the Close Tasks To Update page that appears, be sure that the current project is selected in the Select A Project box.

  6. Select the Lock check box next to the tasks(s) for which you want to close further reporting.

  7. Click the Publish or Submit button.

Setting the Fields

The Tasks page is set up with a standard set of task and assignment fields. That set of fields changes according to the tracking method chosen. You can change the fields that team members see on their task progress page. As the project server administrator, you can choose from the full set of Project 2010 fields to establish the set of available timesheet fields.

If you have defined any custom enterprise fields, including custom fields with a drop-down “pick list” or lookup table, you can include them in the set of default task progress fields, as well.

To modify the set of default task progress fields, follow these steps:

  1. On the Server Settings page, under Look And Feel, click Manage Views.

    The Manage Views page appears, as shown in Figure 23-22.

    Figure 23-22

    Figure 23-22 Use the Manage Views page to modify, add, or remove views in Project Web App.

  2. Scroll about halfway down the table and click the My Assignments view under the My Work category.

    The Edit View: My Assignments page appears, as shown in Figure 23-23.

    Figure 23-23

    Figure 23-23 Details for the selected view appear on the Edit View page.

  3. In the Table And Fields section, select one or more fields in the Available Fields box, and then click Add to move them to the Displayed Fields box on the right.

    This process specified which fields should show on the task progress page. If you have defined any custom enterprise fields, they are also part of the list of available fields.

  4. If you need to delete any fields from the view, select those in the Displayed Fields box on the right, and then click Remove to delete them from the set of fields shown in the task progress page.

  5. Use the Up and Down buttons to arrange the fields in the order you want them displayed in the view.

  6. When you have finished, click the Save button.

Your changes are saved to the project server. The next time team members click their Tasks page, they will see your new version of the page.

Defining the Timesheet Page

To set up the Timesheet page, you establish the fiscal year and reporting periods for your organization. You set up the categories of time to be reported and set any necessary timesheet update rules.

Identifying the Reporting Periods

Because team members use the timesheet to report on their progress, you can be sure that the time periods for which they report map not only to your organization’s fiscal year but also to the reporting periods you need—whether that’s weekly, biweekly, or monthly.

The first step is to set up your fiscal year and define your monthly periods within that year—for example, calendar months, four-week periods, or four-week periods with a five-week adjustment period. To set up your organization’s fiscal year and the reporting periods within that year, follow these steps:

  1. On the Quick Launch, under Settings, click Server Settings.

  2. Under Time And Task Management, click Fiscal Periods.

  3. In the Manage Fiscal Period section, click the year you are defining, and then click Define.

    The Define Fiscal Year Parameters page appears.

  4. Follow the instructions in the left pane to complete this page and define the fiscal year start date, the fiscal period model, and the fiscal period naming conventions.

  5. Click the Create And Save button.

    The Fiscal Periods page appears again, this time showing the table of fiscal periods you have just specified.

  6. If you need to make any adjustments, click in the End Date field for a period. Using the date picker icon that appears, click the date for the fiscal period.

    Repeat this for any other fiscal periods you want to adjust.

  7. Click the Save button.

Setting Timesheet Defaults and Update Restrictions

As the project server administrator, you are responsible for defining defaults and updating rules for the timesheets used by resources.

To set timesheet defaults and additional update restrictions, follow these steps:

  1. On the Server Settings page, under Time And Task Management, click Timesheet Settings And Defaults.

  2. Work through the options on this page, reading the information in the left pane of each section for additional guidance.

    Options include what information can be displayed in the Microsoft Outlook timesheet, whether the Project Web App timesheet should include fields for overtime and nonbillable time, how timesheets are created, whether tracking units are days or weeks, and whether future time reporting is allowable.

  3. When you have finished, click the Save button.

Setting Categories for Administrative Time

Each team member is associated with a working times calendar. However, team members can also designate administrative time to schedule vacation or nonbillable working time—that is, time spent not working directly on project tasks. Project managers and resource managers can then approve and incorporate administrative time into project scheduling.

As the project server administrator, you can set up categories for administrative time—for example, vacation, company meetings, and training. You specify whether the administrative time is a working or nonworking time and whether it requires approval by the team member’s manager.

To add a new administrative time category, follow these steps:

  1. On the Server Settings page, under Time And Task Management, click Administrative Time.

    The Edit Or Create Administrative Time page shows the list of categories. Default categories are Administrative, Jury Duty, Sick Time, and Vacation.

  2. In the toolbar above the table, click New Category.

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  3. In the new row that’s added to the table, type a name for the new category.

  4. In the Status field, specify whether the category is open or closed.

    With an open category, team members can record time against the category. A closed category is not shown in the team member’s Administrative Time dialog box.

  5. In the Work Type field, specify whether the category is Working or Non Work.

    For example, a category called Nonproject Meeting would be a Working type, while the Personal Time Off category would be Non Work.

  6. In the Approve field, specify whether the category requires approval by the team member’s manager.

  7. In the Always Display field, select the check box if the category should appear in the team member’s Administrative Time dialog box. Clear the check box if it should not appear.

    Turning the Always Display field on or off can be useful if your organization wants to make a category available only during a certain period of the year.

  8. When you have finished, click the Save button.

To edit an existing category, simply click in the field and make the changes you want. To delete an existing category, click the name of the category, and then in the toolbar above the table, click Delete Category.

Setting the Billing Categories

Built in to Project Server is a standard billing category for project work as well as four billing categories for administrative work (Administrative, Jury Duty, Sick Time, and Vacation).

You can add different billing categories as needed. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. On the Server Settings page, under Time And Task Management, click Line Classifications.

  2. Click New Classification.

  3. In the row that’s added to the table, type a name for the new billing category.

  4. In the Description field, type an explanation for the use of the category.

  5. Click the Save button.

The new line classification becomes available in the timesheet. When a resource working in the timesheet clicks Timesheet, Tasks, Insert Row to add an existing assignment or other item, the new category is listed in the Line Classification box. The category then appears in the Billing Category field for the new row.