I have been working on actual work hours mismatches between timesheets and project plans. Kate Simpson, Senior Support Escalation Engineer, and I came across a situation where Project Online will move actual hours a resource has already entered and submitted, if the same resource moves the Start of the task after the original task update has been approved and published.
This instruction set answers the question “if ‘Only accept updates from Tasks and Timesheets’ is checked in PWA > Server Settings, how can actual hours still move?”
Here are the steps that will cause the Actual Hours of work to move in a plan.
- Create a plan starts on July 5th with one task with a duration of 4 weeks.
- Assign one resource, then save and publish the plan.
- Log in to PWA as the resource and open the timesheet for July 5th. Enter 2.5h on July 5th and 2.5h on July 6th. Submit all updates on the timesheet.
- As the status manager, go to PWA > Approvals and accept and publish the actual work task update.
- Check the plan to confirm the hours are present as expected.
- Sign into PWA as the resource. Change the start date of the assignment to July 25th and submit the update.
- Log into PWA as the status manager and go to Approvals. Note the change to the Start Date in red.
- Accept and publish the update.
- Open the plan and check where the actual work is now recorded – on July 25th and 26th!
The new Start of the assignment is coming from a Timesheet so the option to “Only accept updates from Tasks and Timesheets” is being honored. This is by design.
Two process changes can prevent this situation.
First is to train resources not to alter the Start date. Simply entering Actual hours on the day the resource actually starts work will record the “Actual Start” correctly which can be compared to the baseline Start. Having a resource alter the Start date is bad practice. If the resource wants to change when their work actually started, they should recall the original timesheet and set the hours to zero where they incorrectly entered the time. Then, enter the actual work on the actual dates the work was done and resubmit all modified timesheets. The administrator can also remove the Start field from the Timesheets and hide the Tasks page (best practice if using Single Entry Mode) so that resource cannot access the Start or Actual Start at all from PWA.
Second is to ask project managers to read through any task updates in PWA > Approvals and determine the impact to their plans, then reject any update where the Start has been moved by the resource.
Kate Simpson, Senior Support Escalation Engineer
Brooks White, Senior Premier Field Engineer