Monday, May 12, 2014

Multilines administrative time categories in PS2013 timesheet

Most of the timesheet improvments brought by Project Server 2013 are for the end users. But anyway what's a good for the end user is obviously good for the administrators, isn't it? Since we do like those "win-win" new features, we will go in this new post through the multiline administrative time categories. Note that in PS2013, the administrative time has been renamed "non-project activities".

A common need from our customers is the ability to manage in their timesheets tasks that are not personal tasks, neither on a specific project. That's why the administrative time was introduced since 2010 version. As it is a pretty straight forward and simple feature, you might ask "what could be new with the administrative time feature?".

So let me ask how do you manage support activities with tickets? The best solution is obviously an integration with Team Foundation Server, but you might not have it in your organization or you might not have to budget for the PS/TFS integration. Thus the common way to manage tickets in previous version was to manage a specific support project, which was tedious due to the project's granularity.

The new multiline feature expands the administrative time categories to take into account this type of work allowing multiline to be added to an administrative category in a given timesheet. Below is the procedure to implement multilines administrative time.

The first step is to define your new administrative categorie (non-project activity) in the server settings, checking the "Allow Multipe Lines" checkbox. In this case, it is adviced to flag the ticket activity as "approval required". Note also that the administrative time categories can now be department specific.
Figure 1: new multiline administrative time category creation

Then when the user goes to his current timesheet, he'll be able to insert one or more tickets activities not related to any project, giving a custom name.
Figure 2: current user timesheet
Figure 3: inserting a noin-project activity in the current timesheet
Picking up the "ticket" category, the user will be able to enter a specific name for the ticket activity.
Figure 4: entering a custom name for the "ticket" activity
 After entering as many tickets as required, the timesheet will look like this:
Figure 5: timesheet with 3 "ticket" activities
Grouping by billing category will give to the user a clearer view of the ticket activities in the timehseet versus the other administrative lines and the standard (project) lines:
Figure 6: timesheet grouped by billing categories
As another nice improvment, we can mention that the non-project lines are now carried forward to timesheets for future periods, supporting in the best way possible this new multiline administrative time categories.

Hope you'll try and enjoy it. I'll be pleased to hear from you other use cases than the ticket use case presented here in this post.
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