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New Behavior in Timesheets with Project Server 2007 SP2: Timesheet Pre-population Goodness

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Brian Smith writes here about a new behavior added in SP2 around timesheet pre-population and some reports of some customer dissatisfaction.

The ‘Gist’ is that with SP2 if you have the ‘Current task assignments’ option in the Default Timesheet Creation Mode then even after a user creates their timesheet new tasks assigned to them that fall within that timesheet period will still be added to the timesheet. Pre SP2 these new task assignments would NOT show up in the timesheet. The user would have had to delete the timesheet and recreate it. That was a HUGE bummer and the new functionality is VERY cool.

As Brian states there are a few customers that have users that want to delete a line from their timesheet but now, with SP2, if the line was a task from a Project the timesheet line comes back the next time the user opens their timesheet. The timesheet will now ALWAYS contain all tasks to which the user is assigned (that fall into that timesheet period.) These customers are unhappy with this behavior.

I think this is the best thing that could happen for these users. Basically, we have a situation here where a team member has been assigned a task by a project manager so it shows up on their timesheet. Then for whatever reason the team member feels that the task should not be on their timesheet. Either they feel that the task should be done by someone else or they feel that it should be done next week or some other reason. So they delete the line but then it comes back. So the good part of this is that it will encourage this user to talk to their project manager and explain why they think the task should not be on their timesheet. If the PM agrees then they can remove the assignment or move the task to a later week and it will drop from the users timesheet.

This feature not only makes timesheet task population dynamic but will now also encourage team member-project manager communications! Now THAT is a good feature. :-)

 

UPDATE (on 6/30/2009):

Here is the KB on this issue. Funny…it actually links back here and to Brian Smith’s blog. :-)

Comments
  • So it's not a bug, it's a feature someone forgot to put in the documentation ?

    So instead of asking the user to get approval from the manager, you just re-populate the task behind his back.

    So, what about the case where the user has a lot of long-running tasks on his timesheet that he hasn't worked this week?

  • It is neither a bug nor a feature. It is just the way the product works and i happen to think it is a very good thing. The timesheet always includes tasks that are scheduled to occur in the timesheet period.

    The project manager has already stated that the intention is to have this task worked during 'this' week.

    If the user has a set of long running tasks that he has not worked this week then the user should just not enter anything for those tasks. if the user thinks they should not happen during this week then they should contact the project manager.

  • You forget that the user no longer has the option to "just not enter anything" because the timesheet webpart fills the deleted lines with the original values instead of leaving them empty.

    It would be better to disable the Delete action for those lines instead of filling hours behind the user's back.

  • I just tested this to make sure but Im not seeing what you state above. When I delete a line, leave the timesheet and come back in the line I deleted is back but no hours are entered for it. The planned hours are still showing on the 'Planned" section of that timesheet line but nothing has been entered for actual work.

    If you hav a situation where the deleted line is coming back with actual work that was not entered by the team member then you should open a ticket with support.

  • Hi Brian,

    Which tasks should be automatically pre populate in a users timehsheet? We have the Default Timesheet Creation Mode set to Current task assignments. I was under the assumption from reading http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=2000267, that any tasks under My Tasks area(with the option to show only current tasks) should be automatically pre populated in the timesheet. What I have found is that the if a current tasks has an end date which doesn't fall within the timesheet period, the task will not be pre populated. If I go to the My Tasks area the tasks is listed there.

    If this is by design - Maybe an enhancement could be to allow the Administration\User the option to pre populate "All Current Task". So there is consistency between My Tasks and Timesheet.

    Michael

  • If this option to 'Delete Lines' doesn't delete lines then why is it there?  Surely most people filling in timesheets are adults and we should respect their decision if they so wish to delete timesheet lines.

    We too have projects with many long running tasks and resources are often members of many projects.  Being able to delete lines where work won't be performed in the timesheet period is a useful way for users to keep their timesheets manageable.

    My users are going to love me for this new feature...

  • AndyS,

    The team was getting lots of feedback from the field to the effect that the deletion was not what the project manager wanted. This behavior is a complimise between the two positions: team members wanting to have complete control over every line and project managers wanting control.

    My position is that such interactions between team member and project manager should be done in a more personal way than a delete button. If there is a line on a timesheet that the team member feels is incorrect then they should be talking to the project manager to let them know. Once the project manager removes it from that week (reschedules the task for another week) then it will drop from the timesheet.

    I will pass on your feelings.

  • Michael,

    Timesheets are a little bit different. They prepopulate with tasks that are scheduled to occur during the timesheet period.

    So those tasks that are scheduled to occur in the past should be rescheduled to be current (which is good process anyway) then they will appear in this weeks timesheet.

  • I've got a problem where I have a task assigned to a Team resource but the timesheet entry is not automatically generated for anyone who's in that team.  The task is a large, long running task that everyone in the team should be able to put time against.  Any suggestions?  

  • dbuckle,

    Team Resources do not behave quite the way you are expecting here. for it to show up one of the team would need to go  into My Tasks and add it to 'take ownership' of the task. then it should show up on their timesheet.

    if you need it to show up on the timesheet (via prepopulation) you would need to assign the task to each member of th team.

  • My preference:  Add a Timesheet Setting to allow/disallow deletion of timesheet lines when auto-populate is turned on.  Even better , allow the setting to be selected by user.

    To use this functionality to "fioce" project team communication is the wrong approach.  There are cases where certain users are assigned to long running tasks that unnecessarily crowd the timesheet.

    If deleting is not permitted (as today) gray the button.

    Many thanks!

  • I think the above answers my question, but I thought I should ask it to make sure.  If a team member creates a timesheet for a future time period (our teams do this to indicate upcoming vacation or training days), the timesheet is created with tasks/projects currently scheduled for this time period.  If the project schedule changes and the work is no longer necessary, will the timesheet that has been created be automatically updated and the tasks removed?  

    I understand the above discussion seems to indicate the timesheet will be updated to add tasks if they are added to the schedule.  I wanted to know if the inverse happened as well.

  • Hi Bill,

    yes, those tasks would drop off of the future timesheet if they were rescheduled unless they had entered and saved time for those tasks in that future period.

  • Our current project plan is projecting not only the TASKS in people's timesheets, but also the hours allocated to each individual in the given week in our resource usage view.

    While this may seem helpful, in many cases I have team members working on 5-10 minor activities per week, which essentially forces them to zero out or replace all hours in the timesheet.  It can be extremely frustrating and take an extra 5-10min to complete timesheeting because of this.

    Is there a solution that will keep the tasks in the timesheet but NOT pre-populate the hours?

    Thanks -

    BL

  • Brett,

    is it prepopulating the actual hours or the planned hours?

    You can reach me at briank AT deltabahn.com

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