To import Timesheets or NOT to import Timesheets - that is the question... RRS feed

  • Question

  • I probably have asked this before, but things are coming full circle here in our shop.   We have a good 200+ staff here all of whom are reporting time against projects.  We chose to have everyone create a business rule that auto-accepts the updates so that PMs aren't a "bottleneck" each week.

    The common complaint is that "importing timesheets throws our dates off".   I know part of that is the auto-accept piece which results in all sorts of surprises.   The other piece is that its just darn difficult to get 200+ people to go about reporting progress in EXACTLY the right fashion so that the correct results are obained in the end.

    A few months ago, I proposed that we just use timesheets to collect time spent on projects (maybe or maybe not at the top-level), report off the timesheets and keep the project schedules updated manually.  At first this seemed to be too much to chew, so we backed off of that. 

    Now folks are so bewildered about shifting dates that this method may be our only "sane" solution.  To say "educate the people" is easier said than done when you are talking 200+ resources in addition to having many many many small projects rather than several dozen large ones.  Turning off the auto-accept rules would keep things from shifting unexpectedly but it is perceived to be more of a pain to deal with that process (going back forth between resources when updates aren't submitted correctly) than just keeping the schedules updated manually.

    What I'm seeking here is any evidence that other organizations successfully use this method (report time in timesheets but update schedules manually).   A Microsoft rep told me at one time that this is one of the reasons they decided to separate the project data from the timesheet data - so that organizations may choose to use this approach I'm suggesting we seriously consider here.

    Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.

    Andy Novak, PMP, MBA
    University of North Texas 

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011 8:26 PM

All replies

  • HI Andy,

    i hear and understand your dillema. As a Partner we also initailly did the whole Import thing and it was time consuming and confusing toi say the least. I think thats why we have SEM (Single entry Mode) in Project Server 2010. So users enter their time in their timesheets and then Project Time goes to the PM's for Approval and the timesheets goes to the Timesheet manager for approval. On the other hand Project Server 2010 also have the "Split" options like 2007.

    We have developed software for Project Server 2007 that does exactly that. Integrates the Timesheet with tasks so that time is completed and submitted only once. At the end of it all its a difficult call to make. Sometimes one has to put foot down on what the bussiness wants and not always whats teh "Least" amount of work involved.

    Hope my 2cents worth means something.



    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 8:28 AM
  • We bought an add-in product from another vendor that takes care of the time-consuming part.  Its the where dates are shifted in the schedule unexpectedly where there is a problem - and that doesn't matter if you end up with a 2-step process or a 1-step process.


    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 10:36 PM
  • IDK, given your situation I think you have the right approach.  Either they have to go through the step of approving the updates before they're applied to the plan, or they have to review them once they've been applied to the plan and adjust.  That's the one benefit I see of the "publish" feature, that you can get all the updates, validate and adjust, and then put the official update out.

    We use only My Tasks but also take the auto-approve approach.

    Do you have indicators/reporting/filtering to help PM's spot obviously wrong updates?  For instance I have a "work completed in the future" report.  Could you maybe adjust some of the auto approve rules so that they can reject obviously bad data?

    Terrie T - MCTS - PMP - MBA****PMO & Project Server Admin
    Thursday, November 10, 2011 8:22 PM