Tag Archives: microsoft project timesheet

TimeControl integration with Project for the Web

TimeControl has included integration with every version of Microsoft Project since 1995 so perhaps it is no surprise that we recently announced integration capabilities with the new Microsoft Project for the Web.Links to MS Project

This latest edition to the Microsoft Project family was previously referred to as Project Service, the “New Microsoft Project” and in licensing terms, Project Plan 1.  It is built on the Microsoft Power Platform and is integrated with Microsoft Office 365.

HMS and Microsoft developers worked together on this integration to ensure that clients who are using this latest member of the Project family are able to integrate it into TimeControl.

Project for the Web currently has only exporting capabilities through a Web Service and in our talks with Microsoft it appears that there is work underway by Microsoft to have bi-directional integration possible.  At the moment, the capabilities we can take advantage of allow us to pull new projects and tasks from Project for the Web into the TimeControl Project Table and Charge Table so that these items can appear in a TimeControl User’s timesheet.

While integration to push actuals back to Project for the Web would be great, this level of integration is still tremendously useful as it allows all work being defined by project personnel to be accounted for in one place.  TimeControl can become your center for all actuals regardless of their source and reports from TimeControl can make their way back to Office 365 via the TimeControl API or other integration means.

Links to MS ProjectTimeControl’s tremendous flexibility in links with project management systems allows multiple systems and versions to be supported at the same time.  So, you can have some projects being managed in Project Professional, some in Project Online, some in Project Server and some in Project for the Web all at the same time.  TimeControl will dutifully keep track of all the different links, project-by-project and move data back and forth either on demand or on a schedule as needed.   The end-user doesn’t need to stress about which tool a project manager is using, all they need to do is look at their timesheet and add in the time on the tasks they worked on.  TimeControl takes care of  the rest in the background.

For more information on all the integration solutions possible with TimeControl, go to TimeControl.com/use-cases.

 

TimeControl 8.1 now available!

TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial version 8.1 are a major update to the TimeControl 8 family of editions with significant new and enhanced features.    We’re delighted with the new version.  You can find out more details on the website at TimeControl.com/features/latest.

Mobile Materials

tci_mobile_materials.jpg_350x281For TimeControl Industrial Users we have now added the ability to enter non-labor data from the field using the free TimeControl Mobile App.  Along with the already existing Timesheet and Crew Timesheet functionality, this version now allows material consumption, equipment usage and production accomplished to be entered into TimeControl using a mobile device.

The free TimeControl Mobile App is available on Google Play for Android devices and the Apple Store for iOS devices.

Enhanced Calendar View

Calendar_View4_300x162We’ve rewritten the Calendar View to be more useful as an operational tool as TimeControl expands with more project planning and control functionality.  The Calendar View now allows for multiple tasks per row.  Also, items which span more than one day are now made into a longer bar which we’re loving in the office!

Integration with Project for the Web

ProjectForTheWeb_300x189In TimeControl 8.1 we have added integration with Microsoft’s newest addition to its Project Family “Project for the Web” with import only integration (Microsoft doesn’t support sending data back yet).

 

A new wave of reports

TimesheetImages_240x162We’ve included numerous new reports in this version which are all templates that you can adapt to your own needs.

 

 

And so much more.

Find out all about the new version at TimeControl.com/features/latest.

If you are a TimeControl or TimeControl Industrial on premise client with a current support and maintenance agreement, you can download the new version at no additional charge at: TimeControl.com/support/updates. TimeControl Online subscribers will be notified about their updates in the coming weeks and will then be updated automatically.

TimeControl Handles Resource Assignment Progress in So Many Ways

One of the key advantages of TimeControl is its ability to update planned tasks with the actual progress.  Gantt_and_Phone_300x200We often think of managing the progress of resource assignments in the simplest of terms: I assign you to do something, you tell me when you’re done and how much time you spent.  Yet, real life presents us with so many different resource progress options.  We won’t cover the many aspects of resource assignment management here and will, instead, look at just resource assignment progress.  We’ll cover just a few of the many ways TimeControl deals with resource progress by looking at specific business challenge scenarios here.

It’s more than just hours

TimeControl has always had the ability to go beyond the hours.  In some cases, costing of resource assignment progress is critical.  TimeControl is excellent at that.  In some cases you will want to identify the work remaining (Estimate to Complete) as a percentage or hours.  In some cases you will want to distinguish the assignment progress with the task progress.  TimeControl manages that as well.  In some cases you will want to go into more detail than the task assignment and TimeControl allows for lower entries with a summarization to the task and the assignments.  In some cases, there are progress costs that are both for labor and non-labor.  TimeControl’s expense entries or, in TimeControl Industrial, materials entries can handle that.

When transferring data to a project system, the options include hours, assignment progress, task progress, and costs.

A person does the assigned work of someone else

An assignment is made in a project management system and assigned to a particular person.  It turns out that someone else now completes the assignment even though they weren’t assigned to it themselves.  How can TimeControl manage that?

This is something TimeControl has had to deal with since its infancy in 1994.  When data is transmitted back to the project management system, the project manager has a choice:

  1. Do they wish to reject actuals in this situation or;
  2. Do they wish TimeControl to create an assignment in the project management system.

The results are quite different and the best choice is dependent on your project management process and what your project managers are happiest with.

In option 1, the actuals which can find no assignment with that individual will be rejected and those rejections will appear in a log.  Then the project manager will have to go to the project management system and alter the assignments to remove the first person and insert the second person.  Then the transfer can be restarted and those previously rejected records will go through.  For some project managers this is ideal.

In option 2, there will be a new assignment created in the project management system in the associated task.  The result will be a task that has one assignment for person 1 with no progress and another assignment for person 2 with completed progress.  Project managers then have to create an exception report to highlight tasks with progress for the last week but with assignments that have no progress.  Then they will have to decide how to alter the assignments to best reflect what actually happened.

One of the things about TimeControl that is handy is that this is not a global setting.  One project manager may be more comfortable with option 1, the other with option 2.

A person does work at different rates at different times of the day

This is a common request and we are often asked why project management tools don’t offer more options with rates in their systems.  The short answer is that when you are planning, you typically don’t think of all the rate variations that are likely to appear in real life.  It’s not something that occurs because you plan for it.

Let’s say a person works on multiple projects.  On project #1, they are billed at $75 per hour. On project #2 they are billed at $60 per hour.  TimeControl handles that easily by having multiple rates.  But, you say, what if they are billed at those rates but we pay them the same internally.  Again, no problem.  Each rate code can have multiple values associated for things like Internal Cost, Billing Value, Project Average Cost, etc.

Ok, let’s say there is one project and someone is working at different rates for different situations.  For example, we cost them at one rate when the weather is good and at a hazard rate when the weather is bad.  TimeControl handles this easily.  It allows the same task to appear multiple times in the same timesheet so that you can enter values like the Rate Code or other User Defined fields for that same task.  When this information is sent back to the project system, the project manager has the option to send the costs as well or just to send the hours.   The choice depends on what the internal costing process is for the project manager and the company but TimeControl will maintain the auditable values at a detailed level no matter which option is selected.

A person works as part of a generic or role definition of resource

When looking at resource assignments in a project system, project management software vendors would love it if you only made assignments at the individual level.  This is largely due to the licensing advantage to those vendors as each individual will now have to look at the system to see their tasks and then those people will need to purchase an individual license.  That’s all understood but this method then disables one of the project management systems’ most powerful tools: resource leveling.  Resource Leveling at an individual level makes no sense.  The algorithms and concepts are most effective when we use generic or role-based resource assignments.  If we do that and leave individual assignments as a separate exercise for team leads, you can end up with a project/timesheet disconnect.

Not in TimeControl.

In TimeControl for each employee, there is an option to say what resource code that employee is associated to.  That can be an individual resource code.  That’s certainly the easiest.  But, it can just as easily be a generic or a role resource.  Then when progress from that person is recorded, it is sent to the project system not as an individual but rather as the role or generic resource, aggregated with all other employees who are defined to that role or generic resource.

A person works part of the day as one resource and another part of the day as a different resource

In this situation, we have people who have different roles in different parts of the day.  Perhaps someone is a designer in the morning and billed at one rate but will be working as a documentation specialist in the afternoon and billed at a very different rate.

TimeControl handles this with the optional “Line Item Resource”.  When activated, a user can select in their timesheet what resource code they would like associated to each line.  That leaves them as many choices as are appropriate to their situation as you wish.  When data is sent back to the project system, the resource progress will be sent back line-by-line, assignment-by-assignment with the resource codes that were chosen.

And…

Of course, we’re not done.  Sometimes it seems that there are as many resource management scenarios as there are clients and having a tool as flexible as TimeControl means we’re almost always able to adjust to accommodate a particular resource process.  Plus, for many, many, clients sometimes simplest is best and none of these more involved scenarios apply.  In this case, you can reduce or even remove resource assignment and progress management altogether.

Talk about Resource Progress are sprinkled all over the TimeControl.com site or, if you have a specific challenge you’d like to talk to us about, contact us on the Contact form.

 

 

 

De-centralized Project Management and Centralized Timesheets with TimeControl

wp_decentralized_centralized_300x383The most common notion of Enterprise Project Management (EPM) systems means that all users access a single centralized system for all related functions.  This concept became popular in the late 1990s with the rise of ERP systems.  Project Managers have been asked to store their data and adopt the centralized project management system.

Yet there are still millions and millions of individually run project management tools running on desktops or even as services in the cloud but not part of a centralized project management process.

That might be fine for each project manager but when it comes to a process that needs to be centralized like timesheets, we run into a bigger problem.  The result is that one aspect of the enterprise such as Finance insists on a timesheet for payroll for all personnel.  Another department insists on a timesheet for all users for HR to track time off and another department needs a billing timesheet for all users who contribute to billing time.  Each project manager might need to deploy their own timesheet system for their teams.

It can become chaos in a hurry.

We’ve just released a white paper that deals with this exact business challenge.  It’s called “De-centralized Project Management and Centralized Timesheets with TimeControl”.  It’s free to access and it’s available right now as part of our ongoing efforts to show how to realize the benefits of TimeControl. If you are interested in having project managers continue to use multiple systems but need to have one timesheet to bring all the actuals together for different purposes, you’ll find this paper of interest.  The white paper can be downloaded from: https://www.timecontrol.com/pdf/whitepapers/centralized_decentralized.pdf.

For more free resources on enterprise project management and enterprise timesheet systems, go to: TimeControl.com/resources.

In TimeControl 8 we extended integration of Project Server to Project Server 2019

While some vendors have abandoned the on-premise market, we have not. You may have noticed that TimeControl 8 included a brand new integration, this time for Microsoft Project Server 2019 on premise.

We have maintained a link between TimeControl and Microsoft Project since 1995 and with every version of Project Server since its first launch in 2002. The integration of TimeControl with Project Server 2019 as well as Microsoft’s SaaS version; Project Online shows our commitment to serve both in-the-cloud and on-premise clients.

Not all our clients are willing or ready to move their corporate systems into the cloud.  We know that’s true for TimeControl and it is also certainly true for Microsoft Project.

All versions of TimeControl now include the integration functionality for on-premise implementations of Project Server 2019 including TimeControl on-premise, TimeControl Industrial and TimeControl Online, our in-the-cloud Timesheet as a Service.

In creating the link between Project Server 2019 on-premise and TimeControl 8, we found that Microsoft had leveraged new technologies for creating such links.  Fortunately for HMS, we were already up to date on these technologies as they were used in the link to Project Online.

This link adds to a long list of integrations already included with every version of TimeControl including Microsoft Project desktop, Project Online, SharePoint, BrightWork, Oracle-Primavera Professional, Primavera EPPM, ARES PRISM, Open Plan, Cobra, Hard Dollar and VersionOne. TimeControl can support integration with multiple project management tools or even multiple versions of the same project management tool simultaneously.

To find out more about the link to Project Server, visit TimeControl.com/use-cases/ms-project-server

Compatibility testing with MS Project Desktop 2019 is now complete!

We are delighted to announce that we have completed testing the integration of msprojpro_300x188TimeControl with Microsoft Project 2019 for the Desktop.  This continues an unbroken integration of TimeControl with every version of Microsoft Project since 1995.  Yep – 1995 when the Dow was at 5117 and you could get a new car for $15,000.  Ebay got started that year and a new revolution – the DVD was announced.  It’s not a trivial thing to say that the relationship between HMS and Microsoft is one of the oldest technical alliances in the software industry.

We believe that the integration between TimeControl and Microsoft Project is essential.  Many software companies focus solely on integrating with Microsoft’s Project Server.  We have that integration also but there are millions of licenses of Project Desktop in the market and delivering an integrated centralized timesheet that can link to them is how TimeControl is best known.

We’re proud that TimeControl has had the longest standing integration with Microsoft Project of any tool in any category in the industry.”

The integration between TimeControl and Microsoft Project has evolved over the 24 years it has existed.   The link currently supports Microsoft Project, Microsoft Project Online, Microsoft Project Server and many other Microsoft products like SharePoint and Excel.

Integrating TimeControl with Microsoft Project gives a single source of timesheet entry for multiple purposes.  TimeControl’s auditable, multi-purpose design means the timesheet can be used not only for updating Microsoft Project with hours, costs, material and equipment consumption and task progress but also for updating Payroll, HR, Billing, Job costing, R&D tax audit tracking, Defense Contract Audit Agency Compliance and much more.

The TimeControl website contains numerous resources to support organizations who wish to explore how the link between TimeControl and Microsoft Project can help make them more effective.

For more information on which Microsoft technologies can be advantageous when using TimeControl, visit the Microsoft TimeControl portal.  It includes numerous free resources including white papers, webcasts, PowerPoint presentations and more.  The Portal can be found at: Microsoft.TimeControl.com.

TimeControl 7.4.1 is now available!

We’re delighted to tell you that TimeControl 7.4.1 is now available for download.  This version updates TimeControl, TimeControl Industrial, TimeControl Online and the free TimeControl Mobile App.  TimeControl and TimeControl Industrial clients with a current support and maintenance agreement can download the new version immediately at TimeControl.com/support/updates.  HMS is preparing for the upgrade of TimeControl Online which will happen automatically in the next 2-3 weeks.  TimeControl Online customers will be notified a week in advance of the update.

There are many new features to be excited about.  Here are some of the highlights:

Charge Hierarchy

TimeControl now supports multiple methods of displaying a hierarchy of charge codes.  TimeControl has long been recognized for supporting hierarchical charge structures but the new functionality takes this to a new level.  Field hierarchy permits hierarchy to be built from multiple user defined fields in the Charge Table and you can create multiple breakdowns then switch them on the fly when you’re searching for charge codes in the timesheet!

Numerous new API methods

We have made extensive additions to the TimeControl API making it even easier to integrate TimeControl as part of an overall corporate environment.

Mobile Debit/Credit Adjustments

The TimeControl Mobile App now allows Debit/Credit update Adjustments.  This allows supervisors and administrators to open a Posted timesheet and apply adjustments to that timesheet and release those adjustments to Posting.

Mobile Posted Expenses and Attachments

The TimeControl Mobile App now includes the ability to view the expenses that are attached to a posted timesheet in the past as well as any attachments that might have been associated to the timesheet or expenses.

Assignments

We have made major changes to the Assignments Table.  Assignments can now be made as part of a person’s full time availability so one person could be put on two tasks simultaneously at 50% of their availability each.  You can also now have the assignment start and finish be dates other than the charge start and stop so assignments that were meant to occur only during part of the charge can be defined that way.

Administrator configuration enhancements

We have taken numerous elements of the TimeControl configuration and moved them from the TimeControl.INI file into the Administrator System Preferences and User Profiles functions.  This will make a huge difference for TimeControl Online environments where some of these features had to be managed at the server level.

New User Profile Features

There are numerous new settings in User Profiles that allows TimeControl’s configuration to be tailored to the person or group with that User Profile setting.  These changes include all-new Super-User reject and Modify rights .  You can also change how the Timesheet List appears, allowing only a certain number of weeks in the past or future to display.  A new Highlight feature helps when adding a timesheet by highlighting the current week or the last missing week for a new timesheet.

Control Period Create Times

When creating timesheets, TimeControl allows the number of periods in the past and the future to be constrained to avoid accidentally creating a timesheet in the wrong period or in a period when Finance is not expecting it.

Copy Hours

We’ve made it possible to control who is allowed to copy hours when creating a new timesheet using the Copy Timesheet function and activated the ability to copy hours.

And…

There’s so much more.  We’ve done a lot of work on high volume capacity, improved performance, added more revision auditing, and improved usability across the application.

Find out more at TimeControl.com/features/latest

FAQ: We just implemented Project Server which has a timesheet. Why should I consider another timesheet?

forkintheroadYou’re not alone. Microsoft has sold thousands of copies of Microsoft Project Server which is now available both for purchase and online subscription.

Project Server includes a timesheet which is designed to update the tasks listed in the Project Server database with hours and estimates to complete. You can also add administrative tasks to track non-project time.

In effect Project Server has not one but two timesheets and since Project Server 2010 has not one but three timesheet interfaces. So far so good. But for people who need to do not only timesheets for project updates, but also timesheets for auditiable financial purposes, Project Server administrators tend to look at Project Server partner timesheets (like TimeControl) to extend timesheet functionality.

Here are a few things you get with TimeControl that you can’t get with Project Server:

  • Link to both Project Server and Project Desktop at the same time
  • Link to different versions of Project Server at the same time
  • Link to multiple instances of Project Server at the same time
  • Extensive Rate functionality with unlimited rates per person
  • Business Validation Rules
  • Approval Workflow
  • Manage banks such as overtime, and vacation
  • The Matrix Approval Process™
  • Expense Reports
  • Missing timesheet email notification
  • Global tracking of timesheet approvals
  • Vacation Request/Approval with timeRequest™
  • Link simultaneously with Project, Project Server, ERP, HR, Payroll
  • TimeControlMobile interface

You can find out more about how TimeControl extends Project Server functionality here in the Solutions area.  Go to the Microsoft Project Solution’s page on the TimeControl website for more information.