Tag Archives: Microsoft Project

Linking TimeControl with desktop project management software

 When we talk project management systems around HMS it’s most common to hear about Enterprise Project Management systems like Oracle-Primavera’s P6 or Microsoft’s Project Server or Project Server Online.  But we still have an enormous number of clients and prospective clients who are using desktop project systems like Primavera Pro, Microsoft Project Standard  or even Open Plan.  Perhaps it’s not avant garde to talk about stand-alone desktop systems but that should be more of a surprise.  These indivdual tools haven’t lost any of their value and TimeControl has had links to all these systems since it was first conceived.  We’ll be putting together a few posts on this subject in the coming weeks leading up to some collaterals that will appear on the TimeControl website in the coming months.

When clients call to talk about linking TimeControl to their project management system the first question we’re asked is if it even possible and immediately after that how does it work.  It’s not a complicated concept but it’s easiest to think about if you can rewind the clock 15 years and think about computing as you-centric.  Think about linking a corporate timesheet system to your personal on-your-desktop project management system and for a moment, don’t worry about anyone else.

Every version of TimeControl includes bi-directional linking to several desktop project management systems.  Let’s say you’re using the ubiquitous Microsoft Project and you are thinking how awesome it would be if you could just automatically upload all the tasks in your project along with the expected dates and individual assignments to your corporate timesheet system and then, thinking it’s probably too much to hope for, get back from the timesheet system not only the hours each of your team members worked but also the estimate to complete from each of them for the tasks they’re assigned to.

TimeControl does that.

While at your PC, you set up a link in TimeControl to the Microsoft Project file located on your hard drive on your desktop.  You transfer to TimeControl from Project and to Project from TimeControl at the moment of your choosing.  You can do the same thing every week whenever it is convenient for you.

But what if you’re out of town on the top of a mountain where there’s no internet most of the week?  That’s fine.  When you get back off the mountain, do your connection then.  TimeControl’s data will still be standing by for you.

Now, if that works just fine for you, could it work for other project managers in your organization doing the same thing?

Of course.

Now envision a number of project managers, each using the desktop project management tool and version of their choice, using the exact process we’ve described above.  You’d end up with a hub-and-spoke kind of diagram and that’s exactly how TimeControl works.

From the timesheet user perspective, they don’t even know and probably don’t care where the definitions of those tasks they work on came from.  An individual might actually have lines on their timesheet that began in 3, 4 or 5 different desktop project management systems.  Should they care what system the project manager is using when they’re doing their timesheet?  Why?  It’s enough that they enter the time that they worked on each tasks and the estimate to complete to finish that task.

Linking TimeControl with your desktop project management tool means you can be centralized for functionality that is important for you to manage and collect centrally and decentralized for functionality that would be better for you to allow to be managed by individuals.

You can find out more about the project systems that TimeControl already has links to at: www.timecontrol.com/use-cases/project-tracking.

FAQ: Do we need to standardize on a single project management system before integrating TimeControl?

RubicStandardize_300x225No you do not and TimeControl is ideally suited for this type of challenge.  The pre-defined links to project management tools can link a TimeControl Project and associated charge codes to project information in Microsoft Project 1995 and up Microsoft Project Server 2002 and up, Oracle Primavera P3 through P6, Deltek’s Open Plan, InEight’s Hard Dollar HD and VersionOne.  And, it can link to all of those systems simultaneously.  TimeControl is designed to make as many project system connections as you wish and then each project can be linked through that connection to a project in that system.  This allows TimeControl to not only link some projects to Microsoft Project and some to Primavera P6 but TimeControl can link to multiple versions at the same time.  Imagine a situation where some projects are being managed in Microsoft Project Server 2010 and some are being managed in a separate instance of Microsoft Project Server 2013.  TimeControl could link to both systems at the same time and a TimeControl user wouldn’t have to worry about it.  They would just enter their complete timesheet in TimeControl and the data will go to the right project system and the right tasks in the background!

Find out more about TimeControl and Project Management tools on the Project Links page.