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Project Server 2007: Why do my removed tasks keep coming back to my Timesheet?

Project Server 2007: Why do my removed tasks keep coming back to my Timesheet?

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We have had a few reports back since we released SP2 of another behavior change that is catching people out. We have a KB article coming along to describe this behavior change – and I’ll update with the KB when it arrives.

First this is what we did.  In Timesheets we had heard frustration from customer that even though they had set timesheets to auto-populate with tasks from My Tasks, that this only happened when you created the timesheet.  If you added new tasks or were assigned to new tasks once the timesheet was created then you needed to manually add this.  So we listened, and in SP2 changed the behavior so that these new tasks would automatically be there when you opened the timesheet again.  Of course this is only if you have the setting to automatically add new tasks, such as Current Task assignments or current projects selected.

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And the problem some customers are reporting?  If you have the setting that introduces this new behavior then even if you remove a task line from your timesheet (Actions, Delete Line) – it comes back next time you open it.

If you are finding the need to delete lines then perhaps the better option for you is No prepopulation, and then just add the ones you need (and keep an eye out for e-mail notifications of new assignments once the timesheet is created).  If neither of these options seems to fit you well then I am sure you will let us know what we are missing.

*** Update - Trackbacks are being slow for now, but do take time to see Brian Kennemer's thoughts on this change at http://blogs.technet.com/projectified/archive/2009/06/25/3258829.aspx.

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  • A user that deletes a task from his timesheet expressly and unambiguously notifies the system that he DOES NOT WANT the task in his tiimesheet. It is not the system's place to decide that the user should not do so. Why don't you remove the Delete action then?  

    A bug by design is a design bug, not a feature

  • Panagiotis,

    The system is not deciding anything. The project manager decided the task should be on this weeks timesheet. The system is just enforcing the wishes of the project manager. If the team member feels that there is a mistake and that the task should not be worked on this week then the better route is to talk to the project manager instead of just not working on it and deleting it from their timesheet.

  • If you have already saved data (i.e., hours on a specific task on a specific day), and you delete that line in your timesheet, the data is not deleted from the database. It will no longer show in the timesheet (even in the total hours), so it appears to resource and resource manager as though it does not exist. But it is still in the project. If the resource deletes and recreates their timesheet, the data will reappear on the timesheet. Same goes for using the delete key instead of changing the data entry to 0 (zero) hours. The timesheet shows no entry for that task, but the data is still in the project. Only by deleting and recreating the timesheet does this reappear. To resources (and, for that matter, to most people delete means deleted, gone, no longer in the database), deleting a line is the same as deleting data

    How is this handled in SP2? Will this change in timesheets automatically being populated resolve the problem by always showing the true data on the timesheet?

    And, I agree with Brian. Delete line is not very useful and causes confusion. If you don't want to get rid of this "feature", then give me control whether or not to display it. Same for add line. Top level tasks are a nightmare. They should not be selectable on add line.

  • Thanks for the feedback Rick.  With the lines "automagically" displaying this should hopefully overcome the "deleted or not" dilema.  This can be a confusing area particularly where the timesheet and the project statusing are two completely different areas - and the time from one isn't used in both places.  In that case the fact that there is time in the project but not the timesheet isn't an issue.

    Best regards,

    Brian.

  • Hi Brian,

    We running Project Server SP2, but have noticed that only at creation will the task in the My tasks area be created. For us there is no syncing up(ie - new tasks after creation need to be manually added). Is there something we need to turn on?(we curently have the option to Current tasks assignmnents)

    Michael

  • Brian, thanks for answering. I'm a little concerned about the answer, however. You imply that it really isn't that important if the timesheet and project hours data tie. I must be misunderstanding your point because this adds error to the project hours and project cost. Under exactly what conditions are you suggesting they do not need to be in sync? To me, this is an enormous issue. And the system design requires an enormous reconciliation effort every week. We have to manage top level tasks by requesting resources recall, correct, and resubmit timesheets (all approvals have to occur again), we have to find and fix deleted data that doesn't match, we have to make sure no PM is changing tasks to 100% complete instead of changing remaining work to 0.... the procedural component of the tool is onerous. Synchronizing the data should be more controlled and managed by the application and not so dependent on manual procedure by dozens of project managers and hundreds of resources.

  • Hi Michael,

    I will check the expected behavior in that scenario - deleted tasks will come back and I thought new ones would appear too - perhaps I am wrong on that point.

    Best regards,

    Brian.

  • Hi Rick - I certainly didn't want to alarm you, and it sounds as if for your organization you want and need to be in sync - and that is fine.  The split between timesheet and my tasks was introduced in 2007 to allow those companies who wanted the data to be totally seperate to acheive this.  The scenario might be that I book 8h on my timesheet to a task for my companies time recording purposes (I was at work and doing something) but for the purposes of the project task I was working on I might only have done 7h productive work - or perhaps 9h, and this is the value to go into the plan.

    It really should be the product managers who are responsible for the plans - but I do take the point that it would be useful to have better ways of tracking or auditing what is going on.

    Best regards,

    Brian.

  • Brain,

    I created a timesheet and reported 8 hours against task A. Saved, submitted timesheet - Approved and 8 hours showup in the plan. I see the same hours in my tasks.I then recall and delete the timesheet. Next I create the same timesheet, I enter 5 hours against task B and delete 8 from task A. Saved and approved. When I look at the plan after updates have been applied, I see both 8 hours against task A and 5 hours against B, while timesheet has only 5 hours against task B and Mytask has 5 hours against task B. Any guess, why this is happening?

    I am on Dec 09 CU level

  • To Shaun!

    This behaviour is due to a problem (solved in 2010) that the timesheeting functionality does not behave as one would think if you delete the timesheet line.

    Insert 0 (zero) instead and it would work fine. deleting just sends in a Null and that is not taken care of...

  • We are having a problem where the pre-population settings was on, but has since been turned off yet it still appears that pre-population is occurring. Has anyone else experienced this behavior?

  • I am also being contacted by users that they cannot add administrative time to a timesheet where the category has had its show on timesheet setting set to not display. Is the process different than adding a task?

  • Hi Kyle, sorry for the delayed response.  Is your question in relation to 2007 or 2010?  I'm not seeing any issues with 2010 (don't have a 2007 system available just at the moment).  You should be able to add administrative tasks that were not added by default.  And for the pre-population what types of tasks are you still seeing?  The admin tasks are not turned of using this setting - the Always Display being un-checked will stop them appearing.

    Best regards,

    Brian.

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