Overview of timesheets and task status

Before team members can record timesheet hours or their task status, you need to set up timesheets or task status, or both. Timesheets record the actual hours worked on tasks, projects, and other items, and are important if you track utilization, billable time, and so on. Team members can enter the task status by using the Task Center, which enables you to accurately track the status or progress toward the completion of tasks in projects.

In this article


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Do I need to create a timesheet or set up task status?

You will want to create a timesheet if:

  • Your organization wants to track billable and nonbillable hours.
  • You need to integrate with an accounting system for payroll or billing purposes.
  • Management wants to see the details about the number of hours that resources are spending and how those hours are being spent (overtime billable versus standard billable versus nonbillable).

If your organization has project managers and they will track progress for the projects they created in Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007, you will want to track the task status.

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How do the two types of tracking work together?

If you are using timesheets and task status, when a user enters data in one area, that data can be used by the other.

  • Typically, users enter progress on tasks daily via the Task Center under My Work. At the end of the week, the team member creates a timesheet. The timesheet is prepopulated based on the planned work from the schedule or from the actual work reported by the team member through task status, by clicking Import Task Progress on the My Timesheet page.

Team members can adjust the hours in the timesheet, as needed. The task status reported through the Task Center does not change to reflect changes in actual hours, though. Often, the actual hours worked and the progress on tasks vary, because a task takes more or less time than planned or because the work does not progress at an even pace. Thus, the two sets of data are not synchronized.

  • In other cases, a team member fills out the timesheet and then wants to enter the task status. The team member can click Import Timesheet in the Task Center to import the actual hours entered in the timesheet, convert it to percent complete if necessary, and prepopulate the task status grid with the data.

 Warning   Any data already entered in the Task Center will be overwritten.

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How should I categorize time?

One of the most critical decisions you will make is how to categorize time. You can report and export time only in the categories that you define. Although you can always roll up data to summarize it, you cannot view any more detail or granularity than you track through Microsoft Office Project Web Access.

Use the information in the following sections to help you decide how to categorize time.



I plan to use timesheets

By default, when you use timesheets, there are four billing types:

  • Billable     Billable (or standard) time is regular working time billed at the regular rate.
  • Overtime billable     Overtime billable is overtime hours billed at the regular rate.
  • Nonbillable     Nonbillable is regular working time that cannot be billed to the client.
  • Overtime nonbillable     Overtime nonbillable is overtime hours that cannot be billed to the client.

First, evaluate the types of time that you need to track. Keep in mind the categories of time that you need to export to your accounting system, the categories of time that you need to bill clients for, and how management wants to see time broken down in reports. You may want to talk with your accounting department and management team to determine the types of reports that they want to see.

Next, decide if:

  • The types of work that your resources work on fall into one of the four default categories and you need to export and report on only these four categories of time.

ShowYes, the default categories meet our billing needs

On the Quick Launch, click Server Settings, and then click Timesheet Settings and Defaults. On the Timesheet Settings and Defaults page, in the Project Web Access Display section, select the The timesheet will display the following time types check box. You do not have to enter any information on the Timesheet Classifications page, because you don't need to create any classifications.

  • The types of work that your resources work on fall into one of the four default categories, but you need to export and report time with more granularity. For example, you might need to report billable travel time versus billable on-site time, or possibly to track utilization categories.

ShowWe need more granularity within the default categories

On the Quick Launch, click Server Settings, and then click Timesheet Settings and Defaults. On the Timesheet Settings and Defaults page, in the Project Web Access Display section, select the The timesheet will display the following time types check box. On the Timesheet Classifications page, create classifications to accommodate the granularity that you need. Each classification can be applied to any of the four billing categories. For example, you might create the classifications training and travel so that team members can track billable training time and billable travel time versus overtime nonbillable training time or overtime billable travel time.

  • The types of work that your resources work on cannot be accommodated by just four categories. For example, if you have more billable rates than just a regular billing rate and an overtime rate, the default categories will not meet your needs.

ShowWe need more billing types to accommodate additional billing rates

On the Quick Launch, click Server Settings, and then click Timesheet Settings and Defaults. On the Timesheet Settings and Defaults page, in the Project Web Access Display section, clear the The timesheet will display the following time types check box. Then, on the Timesheet Classifications page, create classifications to accommodate all of the billing types that you need. Team members will select a classification for each timesheet entry to specify the billing type for that time.

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I don't plan to use timesheets

You cannot disable the Timesheet feature in Office Project Web Access. Simply instruct your teams not to use the Timesheet page.

I need to track the task progress on my enterprise projects

If you use task status, you must decide which method you will use to allow users to report the progress on tasks. Progress can be reported in one of three ways:

  • Hours of work done per day or week
  • Actual work done and work remaining
  • Percent of work complete

Progress on tasks reflects the status of the task's movement toward completion versus the hours that have been worked, which is tracked on the timesheet. These two values do not always directly correlate.

 Tip   To decide which task status method to use, balance your reporting needs against the data entry impact on team members. Hours worked per day or per week offers the reporting information, because you are tracking detailed information about status and comparing it frequently with planned status. On the other hand, it requires detailed and frequent data entry by team members. If your organization doesn't currently track hours, this can be a big cultural change for your organization and may meet with some resistance. The other methods offer progressively less detail, but they offer comparably less cultural impact and overhead for team members.

ShowWhy can't I perform some actions in Microsoft Office Project Web Access?

Depending on the permissions settings you used to log on to Project Web Access, you may not be able to see or use certain features. Also, what you see on some pages may differ from what is documented if your server administrator customized Project Web Access and did not customize the Help to match.

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Applies to:
Project Server 2007