Project Server allows you to create and manage administrative projects that are used to assign and track nonproject activities outside the normal bounds of particular projects. Administrative projects are visible through the Project Center view and managed through the Manage Administrative Projects button.
Goal of Administrative Projects
Administrative projects, or nonproject work, are used to capture work activities outside the scope of normal project work. Most nonproject-specific tasks fall into two main categories: HR benefits and departmental overhead. HR benefit tasks may include vacation, sick time, flex days, bereavement time, jury duty, leaves of absence, and other benefits offered by your organization. Departmental overhead tasks include maintenance and operations tasks, nonproject-specific training, company meetings, and other nonproject-specific work defined by your company, an example of which is shown in Figure 11.1.
Figure 11.1. This example of an administrative project depicts some overhead tasks you may consider for your organization.
The administrative project provides a consistent mechanism to allow team members to enter and track their individual nonproject hours, notify the organization of planned extended absences, and track their overhead time. Time monitored at an organizational or departmental level can lead to a more accurate understanding of how benefit and overhead time is used in an ongoing basis, can show the impact of nonproject time on resource availability for project work, and can help predict trends for future planning.
There are several advantages to using administrative projects:
Displaying administrative project resource assignment information in the OLAP cube allows for a complete view of the resource's time assignments and availability. It also allows you to manipulate information across time.
The type of information tracked in the administrative project is determined by company policy, how the organization is run, and more specifically how each administrator wants to track time. Additionally, company policy determines the specific nonproject tasks that should be reported as well as how the administrative projects will be set up. Separate projects can be established for each type of nonproject work; however, it is recommended that both types of work be tracked in the same project. Company policy should also dictate the frequency that team members are required to provide updates and the approvals required.
You have the ability to track time at an organizational, departmental, or resource group level. Administrative projects work well for tight-knit groups of 30 or fewer team members with one centralized supervising executive. Organizations that have more than 30 people, and whose daily work does not correlate to others in the department on a regular basis, are advised to separate down to the departmental level. If necessary, departments can be broken down into smaller, more manageable resource groups, each group with its own supervisor.
Administrative Project Considerations
You need to take into account several considerations while implementing administrative projects. This section discusses the goal of administrative projects, their creation procedure, the effects of company policy, and other things you should keep in mind while implementing administrative projects.
Creating Administrative Projects
The most effective way to create administrative projects is using the Manage Administrative Projects button on the Project Center page. To create an administrative project, follow these steps:
Adding a project opens the default Administrative template and allows you to create your administrative project.
Choosing the Administrator
Administrative projects should be managed by someone directly involved with the resources assigned to the project. This person should also be familiar with company policy and have the authority to approve hours as updated. It is not recommended to give this administrative project to the general HR person or a general administrative person because he may not be closely associated with the reporting resources and may not have sufficient knowledge of the resource to evaluate project assignments and availability.
For smaller organizations it is recommended that the director of HR, or person with similar responsibilities, be appointed the administrator of the administrative project. In larger organizations it is recommended that one administrative project for each department be created. Generally, the number of team members within the administrative project should not exceed 30. Managing more than 30 people within a single administrative project can become burdensome.
Administrative projects can be created using any of the following three strategies:
Project Professional client is required before performing any operations on administrative projects.
Each technique creates a special type of project schedule designed to use particular administrative project scheduling and time tracking methods. These special features can be summarized as follows:
Except for these special conditions, administrative projects are developed and maintained like any other project schedule.
When creating an administrative project, individual tasks should be set up for each type of benefit offered by the organization and for each general overhead area. Because most benefits are established and managed annually, based on the organization's fiscal year, the administrative project should be set up to follow this same time frame. However, the administrative project will extend across several years. The project administrator can keep track of the benefit hours used for the established time period by accessing details in the OLAP cube. Additionally, the project administrator can view a specific time period while managing the administrative project using Project Professional.
It is not recommended that hours allowed for a particular type of benefit or overhead task (for example, vacation80 hours/year) be entered in an administrative project due to the way Project allocates planned work.
HR benefit tasks include vacation, sick leave, flex days, bereavement time, jury duty, leaves of absence, and other benefits offered by your organization.
Overhead tasks are defined as tasks that each team member is required to perform but that do not affect company revenue. Each organization may choose a different level of detail. For example, some companies might choose to track time spent preparing for a meeting, monthly attendance at local professional society meetings, time spent preparing expense reports, time spent reading daily emails, and so on. Overhead tasks also encompass the majority of tasks given to office personnel, such as receptionists, office managers, network administrators, and other overhead personnel. Overhead tasks also include tasks necessary to maintain the organization, such as preventive maintenance or data backups. The ability to track this time and predict team member availability is crucial to corporate and project health.
The tracking of overhead time is not intended to become a burden to employees. However, the ability to monitor and track time spent on overhead tasks is important to some organizations. It is important that your company take time to evaluate your current time-tracking processes and the type of information you want to track in the future. It may be beneficial to plan this change in phases to promote the desired time-keeping behavior for your organization. It is worth noting that the more detailed your time tracking, the more accurate your understanding of resource assignments and availability.
Another task we recommend be included in your administrative project is that of company meetings. Each week team members spend time in meetings. Tracking this time is important for judging the overall health and efficiency of your company. Additionally, being able to consistently predict a meeting gives you an accurate reading on resource availability. For example, if your team has a weekly Tuesday meeting from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., you know that your resources' project work availability on Tuesdays is a maximum of 6 hours (based on an 8-hour work day).
Training is another overhead task that may be tracked, whether team members are taking a two-day course or are enrolled in a semester-long class for growth within their position. If training impacts a team member's availability to a project, it should be tracked in the administrative project.
All these different benefit and overhead tasks within your administrative project give you a more accurate view of resource availability and help to identify trends within your department or resource group. An example of a trend would be that 90% of your team members take off the day prior to and following the Fourth of July. Another trend might be that certain team members' true availability is less than 50% because they are constantly consumed by meetings or maintenance tasks. Both of these examples can give you a good look into overall corporate health and the workings of your organization.
Choosing the Reporting Cycle
Guidelines should be established for the reporting of used benefit and overhead hours as well as for approvals and notification required for extended absences. It is recommended that benefit and overhead hours be reported by team members as they are used and not less frequently than weekly.
Company policy should determine the appropriate timing for reporting extended absences to minimize the impact to projects. Extended absences of more than five days will significantly impact project work. Thus, it is important that proper and timely notification be provided to managers and project managers when a team member will be unavailable for an extended period of time.
The frequency of maintenance for the administrative project is determined based on company guidelines and expectations. If your team members are required to report time on a weekly basis, weekly maintenance would correlate to this procedure. After hours are entered against the administrative project, notification is provided to the project administrator. The project administrator should review each task submitted, make sure that the hours entered satisfy the company policy for each particular type of task (for example, vacation cannot be taken in fewer than 4-hour increments), and then either accept or reject the request using the standard timesheet approval functionality.
We recommend that time entered against the administrative project be reviewed prior to each payroll period. Data from this project can then be used to report benefit time taken to the payroll department.
It is recommended that the time frame for administrative projects be ongoing. However, it is also recommended that the administrative project receive a detailed review and cleanup annually, whether the organization follows a calendar year or a fiscal year. An annual cleanup of the administrative project is a good way to track trends as well as benefit time while still keeping overhead time and other tasks at a manageable size. Cleanup tasks should include the following:
To remove inactive resources, someone with administrative privileges needs to do the following:
The inactive resource now becomes a local resource within the administrative project, yet the actual hours remain. Finally, when viewing the administrative project through Project Web Access (PWA), the view can be filtered so that only enterprise resources show.