Linking to Primavera Financial Periods

When linking with Primavera’s P6, TimeControl can now optionally send actuals to be posted directly to Primavera’s financial period table. This is the same destination supported by P6 when “Period to date Actuals” are activated and then posted into a particular financial period.

Using this feature will update both the Actuals which are already updated by previous versions of TimeControl and the period records so that financial and earned value reports in Primavera will report the data in the appropriate financial areas.

In order to activate this function, the Primavera Administrator must first define the financial periods and ensure that the Financial periods completely cover any period for which actuals might be sent from TimeControl. This is done in the Primavera Administration menu.

Primavera Periods

If data from TimeControl is transferred while this option is on and the appropriate financial period for the TimeControl “Date Work Performed is not located, the transferred data will be rejected and this will be reflected in the PM Links log.

In the TimeControl Project Transfer options, the “Transfer to Primavera Periods” option must be selected.
TimeControl Transfer Options
When this option is selected, the Date Transfer Options are no longer selectable as the “Date Work Performed” now becomes the relevant transfer date. This date will be used to determine which Primavera financial period in which to put the posted line data from TimeControl.

TimeControl 6 Free Hosted Trial site now available

You can now try TimeControl 6 for free on the TimeControl 6 Trial site!  Simply go to www.timecontrol.com/download/register/ and sign up and you will be given instant access to a hosted trial of our exciting new version of TimeControl. 

(For users who have recently registered, you will need to re-register as the system’s user table was reset for the new version)

The TimeControl 6 trial requires nothing to install to get the main timesheet functionality up and running in moments on your browser.  You will be able to see the timesheet, the timesheet list adjustments, the brand new vacation request module “TimeRequest”, the new MyOptions and approvals.  And, you’ll be asble to try all of this in a range of browsers, computers and operating systems.

For those who want to delve deeper into the administration functions you’ll see instructions and the requirements for making these functions available to you which will require using Internet Explorer and allowing ActiveX controls.

TimeControl 6 upgrades now available

For those clients who have patiently been waiting for their upgrades to TimeControl 6, the upgrades to the new version are  now available.  Clients with a current support contract can download the upgrades which includes a full installation of TimeControl 6, and a complete ISO image of the CD.  In addition, the download area includes the Installation and Upgrade guide which includes the hardware requirements, the installation instructions for the new version and instructions on how to upgrade an existing TimeControl 5.1.8 database to the new version. 
Clients with existing support contracts should go to www.timecontrol.com/support/updates where the new version is available at no additional charge.
Clients whose support contracts have expired can contact custsvc@hmssoftware.ca to update their contract.

TimeControl Public Sector Solution Page

Interest in TimeControl from the Public Sector has grown in recent years and there are some very good reasons why. More and more, organizations in the public sector are being called upon to manage themselves as though they were in the private sector. The interest in transparency, good governance and effective use of taxpayer funds has expanded in recent years and this interest has fostered a keen interest in the public sector of flexible off the shelf timesheet systems. We’ve created a new Public Sector Solution Page for TimeControl on the website.

When public sector organizations search for a timesheet they have some key criteria. TimeControl has a unique combination of characteristics that make it attractive to these public sector needs which include flexibility, aease of use, ability to link to existing systems, speedy deployment, low cost, and which is known in the public sector.

Interest for TimeControl from public sector organizations continues to grow. If you are working in the Public Sector and are facing timesheet challenges, take a look at the TimeControl Public Sector Solutions area.

HMS readies TimeControl 6 upgrades

We know that existing TimeControl clients have been waiting patiently for TimeControl 6 to arrive.  We have been waiting for is the module to convert older TimeControl databases into the TimeControl 6 format.  We’re happy to let everyone know that this code is complete and testing for the migration tool has also been completed.  Packing the TimeControl 6 updates and putting some finishing touches on documentation is wrapping up now and we will be making the TimeControl 6 upgrade available to clients early next week.   This version of TimeControl will be made available at no cost to existing TimeControl clients who have a current support contract.  Clients who wish to ensure their support contract is up to date should check with support@hmssoftware.ca

TimeControl 6 updates as well as a complete installable version and even an ISO CD image file will be available from the www.timecontrol.com/support/updates/ area for any clients whose support is current . 

Using TimeControl with project management resource skill scheduling

Using TimeControl with Project Management tools and their skill scheduling, role scheduling and generic resource scheduling capabilities.
It has long been a common feature of enterprise project management tools from Oracle-Primavera, Microsoft and Deltek to allow resource assignments to be planned at a high level in the early stages of a project.

Deltek’s Open Plan calls this skill-scheduling. Microsoft Project/Project Server refers to it as generic resource scheduling and Oracle’s Primavera calls it role-scheduling.

Regardless of the product, the concept is the same. There are a small number of unnamed resource categories that are to be assigned to tasks for some time in the future. The tasks or perhaps the entire project is either not in production or is not soon enough to be ready to name an actual individual to that task yet if no assignment is made, it will be impossible to do forward looking resource capacity planning.

Once a project is ready to go into production or that phase of the project is close enough in time that we know who will be working on those tasks, the skill, generic or role-based entry in the tasks is expected to be replaced with the actual resource code. In many cases this might be the actual named resource who will perform the work but it might also be a category type of resource.

TimeControl’s link to the resource assignments in these project management tools expects to find the category or named resource. We import the assignment information to help populate the resource table then ask that each employee be associated to a resource entry in the project management system through the TimeControl Resource table. This allows the flexibility of going to a named or category resource. When TimeControl sends actual hours and costs back to the tasks it does so at the assignment level. TimeControl first looks for the task. If it doesn’t find it, it stops. If it does find it, it then looks for the assignment that matches the actual resource it’s about to update. If it finds it, it updates that assignment with the actual hours and optionally costs. If it doesn’t find that it polls the resource table in the project management system to find out if that resource exists anywhere. If it doesn’t, it stops. If it does, then depending on the options chosen in the TimeControl transfer, it adds an assignment to that task and updates the hours and costs.

This brings up dozens of possible conditions that TimeControl might find.

  • What if a task was assigned to Joe but Bill did the work? The result will be an unfulfilled assignment in the task for Joe and a completed assignment by Bill.
  • What if a task was assigned to a category or group resource and the employee is part of that group in TimeControl (by associating the group resource code to the employee). The result will be an update of the group assignment.
  • What if the project management user still has an assignment for a skill or generic resource but in TimeControl the resource is an individual? The result will be an unfulfilled assignment for the skill and an additional assignment for the individual.

So, why not carry the ability to move data back to skill categories in the project management tool? For the same reason that each of these tools recommends a best practice of replacing the temporary placeholders of skills with named resources as the project goes into production. The possibility is very real of double-counting resources. Skill scheduling makes perfect sense as a forward looking analytical practice, but in all of these tools, resources can have more than one skill. So, Bob is also an Administrator and an Engineer and a Designer. This might mean that while we think of Bob rather flexibly in forward planning, in day-to-day activities, he can only do one thing in each moment.

Reference Guides for all these products carry the same recommendations: Use skills in your forward planning exercise but replace them with resources before you get the task started. TimeControl follows this same recommendation in its design.

TimeControl 5 is Alive!

It’s a paraphrase from the hilarious 1986 movie Short Circuit but we’re talking of course about TimeControl, not a newly self-conscious robot. While all the news from HMS has been about TimeControl 6, we wanted to put in a good word for the ongoing support and availability of TimeControl 5. There will be many organizations who are keen to deploy the venerable TimeControl 5 and put off an upgrade to TimeControl 6 for the time being. TimeControl 6 is an exciting new interface based on an exciting new architecture but that alone is enough for some IT departments to ask to put off installing it. Many IT departments have a standard that insists that new versions be available for at least several months before they’re installed. Others will prefer the rapid keystroke response of an ActiveX compared to the HTML version of TimeControl. For organizations who need TimeControl Industrial, they’re still looking at a TimeControl Industrial 5 environment.

Of course existing clients who have TimeControl 5 deployed may need additional licenses and HMS will not force them to move to TimeControl 6 in order to have them.

TimeControl 5 will be supported for the foreseeable future. In fact, we have some clients who are still being supported on TimeControl 4 and this year we have a couple who have just upgraded from the old TimeControl 3, purchased originally in the 1990s.

So, if you’re looking to move forward with a purchase of TimeControl, you have the choice now of requesting us to ship TimeControl 5 or TimeControl 6. If you ask for TimeControl 5, you’ll automatically be entitled to your upgrade of TimeControl 6, ready to deploy whenever you are.

Project and Project Server June 2010 Cumulative Update

Deploy cumulative updates (Project Server 2007) http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd239177.aspx  

 

Note: We strongly recommend that you install WSS and Office Servers 2007 Service Pack 2. The KB articles below provide information on how to download and install SP2 if you have not already done so.

  • Description of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 SP2 and of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Language Pack SP2 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/953338  
  • Description of 2007 Microsoft Office servers Service Pack 2 and of 2007 Microsoft Office servers Language Pack Service Pack 2 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/953334  
  • Description of Office Project 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2) and of Office Project Language Pack 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2) http://support.microsoft.com/kb/953326  
  • The server patches require that WSS and Office Servers 2007 SP1 be installed. For clarity, SP1 is required and SP2 is strongly recommended. Here are the links to the SP1 Server Patches for your convenience:
  • Description of the 2007 Microsoft Office servers Service Pack 1 and the 2007 Microsoft Office servers Language Pack Service Pack 1 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/936984/en-us  
  • How to deploy the 2007 Microsoft Office servers Service Pack 1 and Office Server Language Pack 2007 Service Pack 1 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/945013/en-us  

The Server CU is released in two different versions. The first version is in Individual Packages specific to a particular product like WSS and Project Server. These are smaller downloads but they do not include language packs or patches for other products so patches for those products would have to be downloaded and installed separately.

 

The second version is the Server Rollup Packages. This is a set of two rollup packages which contains all the fixes for WSS, Project Server and MOSS. These packages should be used when MOSS is part of the deployment and/or you have language packs installed. The Server Rollup Packages are much larger (~200MB each) but they will greatly simplify MOSS patch deployment.

 

You can read about the fixes included in the June CU from the following articles:

 

Server Rollup Packages:

 

Individual Product Packages:

Client Installation:

In order to install this hotfix, you will need to have Microsoft Project 2007 SP1 installed on the client. The article at the URL below contains information on how install download and install SP1 should you not have it installed already.

 

Note: We strongly recommend that you install Project 2007 SP2 from the information earlier in the article.

Once we know that SP1 is installed, you will install the hotfix by performing the following steps:

 

NOTE: Microsoft strongly recommends testing within a NON-Production environment prior to rollout.

 

Download the hotfix from the KB Article above (KB 2028571).

 
Extract the patch package by running the .exe file that you downloaded.

Run the extracted .exe file to apply the patch to your Project Professional/Standard SP1 (or preferably SP2) client.

TimeControl 6 now available!

HMS Software announces the release of TimeControl 6. This version represents a significant evolution in one of the world’s most popular timesheet systems. Since its initial release in 1984, TimeControl has been one of the most recognized timesheet systems for organizations who wish to implement project timekeeping, time and billing and time and attendance within a single interface. Now TimeControl 6 brings a new architecture and new interface design to its clients.

Enhancements in TimeControl 6 include:

New architecture
Along with the new interface comes new architecture. TimeControl now fully supports a 64bit server environment. Client workstations using 64 bit operating systems have been supported for some time. TimeControl 6 will also embrace MySQL along with ongoing support for Microsoft’s SQL Server and Oracle databases.

All-new Timesheet List
The new timesheet list allows for multiple types of timesheets to be visible at one time. Now in a single screen, users or supervisors can see pending timesheets for approval, missing timesheets, historical timesheets and pending debit/credit adjustments. A powerful filtering mechanism lets the user select which type of files to view. This will make approving and managing timesheets much easier and much faster for administrators and supervisors.

All new multi-browser timesheet interface
The new timesheet interface is entirely web based and eliminates the need for ActiveX Controls. This new interface includes functionality for the timesheet, approvals, adjustments through TimeControl’s Debit/Credit system and the new My Account area to adjust personal options. Only Administrators may require access to ActiveX controls for TimeControl’s setup, linking to external products and reporting.
The new interface supports multiple browsers and hardware platforms. Testing was effected on Internet Explorer, FireFox, Mozilla and Safari.

Along with rewriting the underlying architecture and communications protocols for the new version, there’s a whole new look and feel for the interface to conform with more modern and ergonomically pleasing standards.

TimeRequest module tracks vacation requests and more
The all-new TimeRequest module allows users to make a request for certain types of times to be approved for entry in future timesheets. The most common application of this module may be for requesting Vacation time. Users will enter a request for a block of time to be taken for vacation and, once approved, the time will then automatically populate the users’ timesheet in the future when that timesheet is created.

The TimeRequest module is, however, not restricted to just Vacation requests. Any category of time can be exposed to the module. This allows an infinite number of applications such as requests for travel time, training time, offsite or onsite time or any other type of time category where the organization wishes it to be approved in advance.

Additional Enhancements
There are numerous additional enhancements to TimeControl 6 including the new TimeControl MenuStrip for navigation, the new MyAccount area which allows default selections for each navigation tab, additional rate values, cost values for the already extensive rate system, up to 9 banked time categories (up from 3), longer passwords and user names, enhanced security and intrusion logging and an updated language file that adds Spanish to the numerous languages already included in the system.

To see a complete list of what’s new in TimeControl 6, visit www.timecontrol.com/timesheet/latest.

TimeControl 6 is available for immediate shipment. TimeControl customers with existing current support contracts will receive updates to their systems by September 1st.

Applying Filter Constraints to Tables

In some instances there is a requirement to have a TimeControl Administration person to be able to see and or modify some of the TimeControl table information, but not all of it. An example would be the ability to see rate code information for a company division, but not all the rate information, for the entire company. TimeControl supports the application of a display filter to a specific table, where required. Filters may be applied to any of the tables following the example shown.
We start by adding the information that defines the condition, in this case a Department code in a user defined field, on the table in question. In order for the filter to function correctly the field data must be in a linked field, using the “field mapping” function. In this example I have set the Department to read “PMO”

We then create a filter applied to the Rate table to select only data relative to the “PMO”

We have created a User Profile specifically for the sup administrator in the Project Office and have applied the PMO Rate filter to that person’s profile. Filters are applied to the Rate table in the table security menu, on the User profile. If the required table does not appear on the list, it may be inserted. The filter is applied from the drop down list as per the example. The profile menu security also has been set to allow the user access to the Rate table.

When we re- log in as the sub administrator and load the Rate table, we only see the Rate codes for the Project Office, as specified in the user defined field. The restriction could also be extended to permit the sub administrator to only see the data and not modify it or similar constraints. Please note that any person sharing this profile would see the data.

This process of filtering may be applied to any of the primary tables in TimeControl.

The official blogsite of TimeControl