The preceding overview of the Project Web Access Tasks area helps you establish a big-picture understanding of the interface. Now you’ll dig deeper into the use of the key reporting features. Progress reporting along with task creation, delegation, and rejection make up the most vital active data captured through the timesheet system.
In Figure 14-9, I collapsed the navigation menu on the left side and dragged the divider bar in the timesheet display grid almost all the way to the right to expose the Remaining Work field.
Figure 14-9. A closer look at the time reporting grid with the divider bar dragged to the right
The Remaining Work field is an available input in the timesheet regardless of the tracking method selected. Remaining work is an important input for any task that finishes with more or less work than originally predicted. Think about what percentage of tasks that implicates. If a resource doesn’t report a remaining work value of zero when a task completes ahead of schedule, Project won’t know that the task has completed. It will assume it can continue to calculate the remaining work figure. Similarly, as soon as a resource reports at least as much actual work as was planned, Project assumes that the task has completed. Unless the resource overrides the calculated remaining work value when a task runs late, Project assumes the task completed on time and accepts the effort entered. Do you want to allow these assumptions?
Figure 14-10 shows the same timesheet view with the divider bar dragged to the left, exposing the time entry grid. In this case, the system is set to accept time worked by day. New entries that you make in the grid appear in red, indicating that the manager hasn’t accepted the update.
Figure 14-10. The same timesheet with the divider bar dragged to the left
To update one task or just a few selected tasks, highlight the rows in the grid and then click the Update Selected Rows button. Otherwise, click the Update All button to send all new entries to the managers. Save entries made ahead of time by using the Save Changes button. The system stores your entries until you’re ready to send them. The system confirms your save, as shown in Figure 14-11.
Figure 14-11. Your time entries have been saved.
You should verify that your manager has accepted data in your timesheet before adding new entries for the next week. Otherwise, the new entries will process along with the previous ones when the manager runs the update routines.
Rejecting a task or tasks through the timesheet is very simple. Highlight the task rows that you want to reject and click the Reject button in the toolbar. The system displays a warning and confirmation alert, as shown in Figure 14-12. Choosing Yes to continue removes the task(s) from the timesheet and sends a notification to the project managers for the affected tasks, as shown in Figure 14-13.
Figure 14-12. The system prompt when you reject a task
Figure 14-13. The task rejection has been sent.
Once you click the Yes button, you pass the point of no return. The system removes the task from your timesheet. Your manager may choose to reinstate your status on the assignment by republishing it to you. If the manager accepts your task rejection, from your perspective as a resource, the assignment is gone and there’s nothing further for you to do.
With the Delegation tab expanded and after selecting a task in the Timesheet or Gantt Chart views, click the Delegate Task button to open the task delegation page shown in Figure 14-14. In the first step, you must select a person or persons to delegate the task to, choose to assume or not to assume the lead role, and select whether or not to continue to track the task in your timesheet. Enter any additional notes that you’d like to convey to the resource you’re delegating to and to the project manager who must approve your task delegation. Click Next at the bottom of the page (not shown in the figure) to continue or Cancel to abandon the entries.
Figure 14-14. Task delegation step 1
In task delegation step 2 of 2, shown in Figure 14-15, the system displays a summary of the actions you’re about to process. This page is your last opportunity to make changes to your task delegation or cancel the action entirely. Click the Send button to send the delegation proposal to the resources and the manager responsible.
Figure 14-15. Task delegation step 2
After you click Send, the system confirms your successful options, as shown in Figure 14-16.
Figure 14-16. Delegation confirmation
Task delegation is useful for flowing work assignments to resources through team leads. If your organization uses team leads who are responsible for making work assignments to their team members and/or are responsible for monitoring their team members’ work, a project manager first assigns tasks to the team leader. The team leader, in turn, uses task delegation to reassign the work to a specific resource. Selecting the “Assume lead role” option keeps the task visible on the leader’s task list.
Select “Create a new task” from the Activities menu to open the “Create a new task” page, as shown in Figure 14-17. The Project drop-down list at the top of the page allows you to select an existing project or to-do list. In the second section of the page, you select the outline level for the new task. By default, the “Create the new task at the top outline level” option is selected. You may make the new task a subtask of any task already assigned to you.
Figure 14-17. The “Create a new task” page
Provide a task name and optional comments for your new task in the Task information section of the page. Select a proposed start date and enter a work estimate in hours or days. Indicate which value you’re using by typing h or d after the number you enter. Click the Save New Tasks button to save your new task requests to your timesheet.
Saving the new tasks redisplays the Timesheet or Gantt Chart view, as previously selected when you initiated the new task page. The new task is now visible in the timesheet and contains indictors that let you know what’s going on with it. For instance, in the example, I entered a note in the Note field, and the notes indicator is displayed next to the new task, as shown in Figure 14-18. Note that hovering the cursor shows that the task was added to the timesheet, but it hasn’t yet been sent to the manager for updating. You must activate an update function to send this along for approval.
Figure 14-18. The new task is added to the timesheet.
You can leverage the new task creation feature during the project planning phase to allow team leaders and team members to task out areas of the work plan. In order to allow these users to create tasks that fall below summary tasks in the plan, you must assign the user responsible for creating the tasks to the summary task to begin with. This means that you must at least dummy up this structure in your plan.
In other words, you’ll need to create the summary task by both creating it as a task with an appropriate name and by adding at least one subtask to it in order to apply the indentation that, in itself, defines a task as being a summary task. Then you must assign the resource responsible for detailing the tasks below the summary task to the summary task itself.
Assigning resources to summary tasks isn’t generally a good idea, because it causes work demand to be overstated. The work rollup from the summary task gets added to the resource as well as the work of the individual subtasks. This isn’t a problem before you enter the phase of a project when you start tracking and for as long as you can live with overstatement of work for the resources doing the planning. Remove the resources from the summary tasks as soon as possible.