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Managing task updates in Project Web App

 

Applies to: Project Server 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2012-02-21

Summary:  The fifth article in a series of eight articles about how to use Microsoft Project Web App to work with Microsoft Project Server 2010 data and to perform project management-related tasks. Learn how team members can update their tasks and then submit them for approval through Project Web App. It also describes how project managers review task updates that are submitted for approval.

Applies to:  Project Server 2010 | Project Web App

In this article:

Team members can report time against published assignments (Project Tasks) through the Project Web App Tasks page. As the project manager, you can also update actual work directly in Project Professional 2010, but this should be done as the exception, not the rule, if you are accepting updates from Project Web App.

The following scenario outlines the interchange between a team member and a project manager during the task update and approval process.

  1. A team member logs on to Project Web App. On the Project Web App home page, the team member can click Tasks in the Quick Launch to view tasks that are assigned to him or her.

  2. Tasks that are assigned to the user appear on the Tasks page. On the Tasks page, the team member can enter the actual hours worked in the grid based on the days he or she worked.

    noteNote
    Hours can only be entered on detailed tasks. It is not possible to enter time against the project summary task.
  3. The team member can use the buttons in the Period column of the ribbon to navigate to a previous week or later week by selecting the buttons. The team member can also select a specific time period by clicking the Select Period button.

  4. Subsequent to associating actual hours with a task assignment, the following steps have to be addressed, depending on whether the task is now complete. The team member can save updates, but not send them to the project manager, by clicking Save. Updates can be sent at a later time by selecting one of the Send Status options.

    • If the task is complete, the user should make sure Remaining Work is 0, and the system will indicate 100% complete. If the task indicates that there is work remaining but in fact the task is completed, the value should be changed to zero.

    • If the status is not finished with the task, the team member should update the Remaining Work with the hours expected to complete the task. This might be more or less than the hours shown, which was calculated based on the original task work estimate and the hours that have been entered so far. The act of entering Remaining Work hours will recalculate the % Complete and Work values.

    In the scenario, the team member requests additional work hours to complete a task, specifically 60 hours instead of the 40 hours that was an automatically calculated value. Ten of these hours have already been worked. Additionally, the team member attaches a comment to the update submittal. This process enables the team member to communicate to the project manager the reason why additional time is needed to complete the task.

    Note that the team member has selected only the one task to update. (Alternately, additional assignments can be updated by selecting them with a checked box or by clicking the Send Status, All Tasks button.) Also note that the Send Comment box is checked before the user clicks Send Status, Selected Tasks. The following image depicts task updates ready to be submitted.

    When a team member is ready to submit a task update to the project manager, she or he selects the check box of the row for the status update. He or she then clicks Send Status to view the following options:

    • All Tasks. Quickly send an update for all tasks updated to the Project Manager.

    • Selected Tasks. Enables submitting updates for specific tasks at a time to the Project Manager.

    Clicking Selected Tasks submits a status update for the selected task.

  5. After the Send Status, Selected Tasks button is clicked, a comment box displays the comment that is associated with the assignment update.

    After the assignment update is submitted, the Process Status column reflects the current status of the task.

Team members can select different task viewing options to change the way task information is displayed to them on the task page. These options can be selected on the Project Web App ribbon.

The following task-viewing options are available on the PWA ribbon:

  • Import. Imports status data from the timesheet.

  • Layout. Enables the following viewing options:

    • Gantt Chart. Displays the data in Gantt chart view.

    • Timephased Data. Displays the data by the day, week, or other incremental time level. If this option is not selected, the date column grid does not appear for time entry.

    • Sheet. Displays the data in a table format.

  • Units. Enables the following viewing options:

    • Duration

      • Minutes

      • Hours

      • Days

      • Weeks

    • Work

      • Minutes

      • Hours

      • Days

      • Weeks

    • Date

      • 1/28/2010

      • 12:33 PM

      • 1/28/2010 12:33 PM

      • Thursday, January 28, 2010

      • Thursday, January 28, 2010 12:33 PM

      • Thu 1/28

      • January 28

      • January, 2010

  • Filter. Changes the task information displayed to utilize a standard filter or create a custom filter.

After a team member has submitted an update, you as the project manager can then review the submittal and make a determination to accept it into the project schedule or reject it.

Clicking a pending approval opens the Approval Center.

On the Approval Center page, you can view all submitted tasks updates that are pending your approval. Details about the task update — such as the resource who submitted the update or comments — are displayed on this page. Clicking a task on this page displays additional task details about the update.

You can then accept or reject the task update by selecting the check box next to the task, and then clicking the Accept or Reject button on the ribbon. With either choice, you can optionally submit a comment back to the resource about the task update.

The Approval Center page in Project Web App enables you to review changes to project tasks and working times that team members submit by using the Tasks and Timesheet pages. You can use the Approval Center in Project Web App to review changes to project tasks and resource working times, and to update projects with the latest information.

The following types of changes appear in the Approval Center in Project Web App:

  • Task changes

  • New task requests

  • Task delegation requests

  • Resource declined assignments

  • Resource declined task delegation requests

You can update project information based on the task changes that appear in the Approval Center in the following ways:

  • Manually. You can update projects for each task change that a team member submits by clicking Accept on the Approvals tab in the Approval Center. If you don’t want to approve a task change request, you can click Reject, and provide a comment to the resource submitting the request to give an explanation of the rejection. When you reject a change request, it is removed from the list in the Approval Center until the team member resubmits the request.

  • Automatically (by using rules). You can create and run rules to automatically update projects with changes that do not need to be reviewed before approval. You can create rules that run for specific projects, for all projects, for specific resources, or for groups of resources at a specific location in the Resource Breakdown Structure of your organization. Even if you enable rules for automatic approval, you will need to publish the project before tasks will be fully rescheduled.

The following table lists the Project Server 2010 permissions that are required in order for Project Professional 2010 and Project Web App users to work with task updates.

Required permissions

Global permission Description

Manage Rules

Enables a user to access the Updates page in Project Web App and create rules that determine how update transactions are automatically processed.

Manage Task Changes

Allows users to access the Updates page in Project Web App to get task updates, and view, accept, or reject a resource’s transactions.

Project team members use the timesheet that is available in Project Web App to report changes to their assignments. Project managers automatically receive a notification when changes are submitted by team members assigned to tasks in projects that they manage. Project managers can choose to accept or reject each task change.

Changes submitted by team members do not affect projects until they are published; only approved task changes are applied to projects that are published to the Project Server database and only approved task updates appear in projects as reported actual work. If you know that team members have changed tasks, added new tasks, delegated tasks, or declined tasks, but the submitted changes are not available in the Approval Center, your team members might not have actually submitted their changes.

Before you accept or reject task changes from project team members, it is important to be aware of your organization’s timesheet processing cycle. For example, if your organization has a weekly timesheet cycle, you should plan to process all timesheet and task changes at least once per week, after all team members submit their status, but before the end of the weekly timesheet cycle. This helps to ensure that the correct data is submitted and accepted/rejected and also helps to prevent the publication of incorrect data as a result of updates.

The Updates page has the following characteristics:

  • If a team member sends multiple changes for a single task element, only the change that was submitted most recently is displayed.

  • If a team member delegates a task, one row is displayed in the update list. If the team member to whom the task was delegated rejects the delegation, the rejection appears as a separate row and the Accept field cannot be edited.

  • The tracking mode of the pending update determines whether to display a timesheet or a Gantt Chart view. If specific hours are used for any update, the timesheet is displayed. A Gantt Chart view is displayed for all other updates.

  • If an update is rejected, the team member who sent the update is notified by e-mail and an icon is displayed in their timesheet.

  • After a task change is approved, a record of the change is added to the History page. Any changes that were not approved or rejected are pending and remain in the Approval Center until they are accepted or rejected and processed.

The Preview Updates button in the Approvals ribbon allows you to see what a project plan will look like if you accept a specific task update request. It displays a Preview page for the project plan that contains a Gantt Chart of the project with the task update.

To preview the effects of a task change to a project plan
  1. On the Quick Launch, in the Projects section, click Approval Center.

  2. On the Approvals tab, select the check box in the left column for the task update that you want to preview.

  3. On the Approvals tab of the ribbon, click Preview Updates.

  4. On the Approval Preview page, view how the project plan would look if the task update were approved.

After looking at the effects of the task changes submitted for approval, you can chose to either approve or reject the request.

To approve or reject task changes submitted by project team members
  1. On the Quick Launch, in the Projects section, click Approval Center.

  2. Select the check box in the left column for the task update row that you want to accept or reject.

  3. On the Approvals tab of the ribbon, click Accept or Reject.

noteNote
If you accept a task delegation request and update a project, you cannot reject the task delegation later.

You can view a history of all task changes that were processed within the previous 60 days. This history is for review purposes only; it cannot be modified. This enables you to review the history of updates made for all projects and resources. The update archive displays the updated tasks in a similar format to the Update Task Changes page. The Customization tabs display the same options that the Updates page displays. The Show Task Changes button in the action menu re-directs you to the Update Task Changes page. The number of days that are available in the task update history section is set by the Project Server administrator.

noteNote
Task changes appear in the grid, after you have processed (either accepted or rejected) them. To navigate quickly to the page where you can process task updates from team members, click Show Task Changes. If you want to adjust actuals for resources, go to the Resources page, and click Adjust Actuals.
To view task change history
  1. In the Approval Center in Project Web App, on the Approvals tab, click History. From the menu, click Status Updates or Timesheets to view history on task updates for either.

  2. Task updates made within the previous 60 days appear, presented in a grid format. In the task updates history, scroll to the right to view details about each update. Details include whether or not the task was accepted, current status, the Project Web App user to whom the task is assigned, the user who approved or rejected the task, and the actual work associated with the task, and other information about the task.

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