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Automated feed of actual project hours from 3rd party timesheeting tool into specific task on project server schedule RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi folks, I was discussing following scenario with one of my clients lately:
    1. They plan to implement Project Server 2016 for project planning purposes
    2. Their resources are already using 3rd party timesheeting tool to enter project time on a daily basis
    3. They do not want to replace their timesheeting tool with Project Server, yet they want total project actual work to be shown in Project Server for each project. They don't care who submitted the hours because they have those reports in their timesheeting tool. This is solely for purposes of tracking % of work complete.

    I was researching lots of on-line resources, without much luck to find solution to this. Here are my thoughts on how this could work:
    1. Their timesheeting tool will generate nightly data feed, featuring list of project IDs from their timesheeting system and total actual project work (in hours).
    2. Each project on their project server will have unique matching ID and specific task (let's call it ActualHoursFeed) somewhere at the top level with no resources assigned. Project Managers will be instructed to leave this task alone.
    3. The interface will process each timesheeting entry by looking up each project in project server and write actual work against the "ActualHoursFeed" task.

    Has anyone ever faced such problem and/or even better - found a solution? The simpler the better :) Thanks for all your replies!
    Risiak
    Thursday, September 21, 2017 5:28 PM

Answers

  • Hello Risiak

    I have run into this many times and the simplest process is to enter hours into PWA and extract the hours and push into the 3rd party tool.  Custom fields may be required, such as contract number, cost number or some number to link it back to the 3rd part time sheet lines.  Basically, a batch job pulls data from timesheet and save as XML file.   Many 3rd party timesheet tools can handle importing XML data.

    Sync from a 3rd party tool is going to be much more complex and limits the ease of updating and adding tasks in project client.    Same kind of syncing fields are need to be setup in project schedule and 3rd party timesheet, however it probably will be many more, because there may be many tasks for one timesheet line.   Then you got to deal with recalling timesheets, resubmitting, tasks vs timesheet updates, etc, etc, etc.

    PS.  I have implemented the PWA timesheet to 3rd party timesheets many times.   No one has even attempted to go the other way.  Its too much code and to much burden on the project managers. 


    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

    Friday, September 22, 2017 3:31 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hello Risiak

    I have run into this many times and the simplest process is to enter hours into PWA and extract the hours and push into the 3rd party tool.  Custom fields may be required, such as contract number, cost number or some number to link it back to the 3rd part time sheet lines.  Basically, a batch job pulls data from timesheet and save as XML file.   Many 3rd party timesheet tools can handle importing XML data.

    Sync from a 3rd party tool is going to be much more complex and limits the ease of updating and adding tasks in project client.    Same kind of syncing fields are need to be setup in project schedule and 3rd party timesheet, however it probably will be many more, because there may be many tasks for one timesheet line.   Then you got to deal with recalling timesheets, resubmitting, tasks vs timesheet updates, etc, etc, etc.

    PS.  I have implemented the PWA timesheet to 3rd party timesheets many times.   No one has even attempted to go the other way.  Its too much code and to much burden on the project managers. 


    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

    Friday, September 22, 2017 3:31 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks a lot Michael, I was a bit worried this would be the answer :) and you are right, not an easy task. I will convince the client that this is not a desirable practice.
    Monday, October 2, 2017 8:02 PM
  • So I convinced my client to walk away from writing actuals against project tasks. We will be writing values (Actual Hours and Actual Cost) into new project custom fields instead. This data will increase incrementally, based on transactional data, received from their ERP system.

    My approach would be to create SharePoint external data list, pulling data such as Project ID / Actual Hours / Actual Cost from ERP and then PSI call to incrementally update relevant Project Custom Fields (Actual Hours / Actual Cost) into the particular project schedules.

    Am I on the right track / is here anyone who has solved similar problem in the past and wants to participate on this one? Thanks a lot!

    Thursday, October 26, 2017 6:39 PM
  • Hi Risiak,

    Going back to the 1st question on interfacing from a 3rd party time reporting app into MS Project:

     What about those 3rd party tools called "Integration Hub" from Sensei, FluentPro, Wicresoft, etc..

    They take time entered in MS Visual Studio, MS Planner (kind of), or other and then push this into MS Project somehow.  Couldn't you utilize their infrastructure and write to their API to feed their system, and use their already written code to MS Project?

    Also, I stumbled upon "QuickProject" iPhone Timesheet app from Advaiya.  They figured out how to interface to MS Project Timesheet (by not using MS Project timesheet).    Could you release this app to your team, or could you partner with Advaiya to write your custom interface?    They already have the To & From MS Project portion complete and working. 

    Just a thought

    - John


    - John


    • Edited by JohnH4 Thursday, October 26, 2017 8:20 PM sentence
    Thursday, October 26, 2017 8:19 PM