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Discussion About The Use Of Project Server 2013 Timesheet Custom Billing Categories (Post SP1 and April 2014 CU Install) RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • In support of a consulting company using timesheet custom billing categories to designate project time as billable onsite, billable offsite, and non-billable, I've encountered a series of issues which appear to be associated with the custom billing category timesheet lines.  These issues cause timesheet users to get frustrated, and contribute to misalignment between project actuals and timesheet actuals.  We're in Single Entry Mode, no pre-population, SP1 and April 2014 CU Installed.

    I'll enumerate the issues here and pose the question to the community as to whether others are experiencing any/all of these things, and if so,  ask if any workarounds have been discovered.  We're working with Microsoft to validate these independently, but I am posing the questions to the community to gather additional information, and hopefully save some folks time in troubleshooting similar issues.

    1.When time is entered on an assignment into timesheet lines of multiple billing categories, only time entered since the last save is getting saved and ultimately sent, on timesheet submit, to the approval center.  Although the previously entered and saved time appears in the application interface when the timesheet is re-opened, only data since last save is actually saving to the server or processing through the approval center.  We believe this is the primary cause for timesheet and project actuals being out of alignment.

    2."_ Error Loading".  When assignments are added, deleted, or changed after a timesheet has been created, standard timesheet lines are added, deleted or changed (i.e. synchronize) with the assignments. However, for custom billing category timesheet lines, they do not change when the assignments change, and they aren’t removed if the assignment is removed.  We believe this causes secondary errors, like the "_Error Loading"  (and others as will be described below).

    3.When a timesheet with time in a non-standard billing category is deleted and recreated, time is arbitrarily moved to standard timesheet lines for the same assignment. If the task assignment is subsequently removed, the timesheet line causes the timesheet to break.

    4."Error Communicating with Server". When trying to submit a timesheet, a pop-up box appears indicating that there is an error communicating with the server.  This error appears because a timesheet line is no longer associated with a project. In order to submit the timesheet the orphaned timesheet line must be identified and manually removed. One technique we found which helps to identify an orphaned timesheet line is to select a task and submit task progress. Repeat for all timesheet lines until you get an error.  The timesheet line(s) with the error can be manually removed from the timesheet, fixing the error.

    5. Unable to Open Specific Timesheets without Error. There are certain scenarios when the "Remove Task" feature is used or an assignment is otherwise removed after creation of a timesheet with custom billing category lines, which causes orphaned timesheet lines. These orphaned lines can cause issues when trying to open a timesheet. The issue can appear when timesheets are in progress in multiple periods. In the problematic scenario, time is entered and submitted in one period and subsequently the task is 'removed' from another period before the PM processes the first approval request. Process governance can certainly help here, but improvement in the way synchronization occurs between project assignments and custom billing category timesheet lines would be great. The error can often be resolved by re-adding the assignment for the problematic timesheet user to the project (which creates a new assignment), and then allows you to open the timesheet.  Then time can be moved from the old timesheet line to the new timesheet line, and the old one can be removed.

    In 4 and 5, sometimes we can't open a timesheet without error, and other times we can open it but not submit it. We are not 100% clear on all the different causes for each. Each of these issues are suspected to be contributing the the misalignment of data between project actuals and timesheets, which can be a real problem for external projects for which time collected through timesheets are being used to generate invoices.

    Although these may seem like separate issues, warranting separate questions, I decided to post them together because they all seem to be related to synchronization of project assignments and timesheet lines for custom billing categories.

    Any thoughts or suggestions from the community would be appreciated.

    Best regards,

    Justin


    Justin Naughton


    • Edited by Justin Naughton Tuesday, May 20, 2014 1:06 PM Change title and clarified version.
    Tuesday, May 20, 2014 1:01 PM

All replies

  • There are many causes for each of the errors mention.  It would be best to put one issue to the forum at a time.  For example, some of these issues occur then tasks are deleted from projects but a timesheet has been submitted.   Depending on the scenario, some of these issues have been fixed with the latest service pack.

    Other issues are due to bad scheduling habits with the project managers and so first determining what they have done can help resolve some the issues.

    _error Loading, is because something is NULL in the data and the jave is choking when it build the form. Again, these may be because of delete tasks, resources, projects  or someone doing copying and pasting of rows.

    cheers!

    PS.  Train your PM to not COPY and PASTE rows in project schedules.  It can be done, but it can create problems.  There are over 500 fields and some have unique data and the copy paste creates havic.


    Michael Wharton, MVP, MBA, PMP, MCT, MCTS, MCSD, MCSE+I, MCDBA
    Website http://www.WhartonComputer.com
    Blog http://MyProjectExpert.com contains my field notes and SQL queries

    Thursday, June 12, 2014 3:55 AM
    Moderator