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Timesheets – The Timesheet Chain

BY: Collin Quiring

Having recently worked on two separate Project Server 2010 implementations where each organization used the Timesheet functions I have come across a few gotcha’s that I think might be helpful to document.

This article will discuss the Timesheet Chain.  This is where the timesheet is approved but when the approver approves the timesheet they have to send it on to another approver.  Even though they approved it, the timesheet still isn’t really approved until the last person in the chain does the approval.  In one case, we had four people involved with three approvers.

For example, this is the way it worked:

Team Member  — >  Manager A — > Manager B — > Manager C

This is the way it worked “out of the box”.  We didn’t set up any special groups or settings.  In researching it, we had to first figure out why it did the chain approval.  Each person’s Timesheet Manager was the person that the approval was going to and Manager C was their own Timesheet Manager.  (They were all their own Default Assignment Owner.)

For example, from their user setup screens:

The Team Member:

 

The first manager:

 

The second Manager:

 

And the third and final manager:

 

So, that was easy enough to see WHY it was chaining.  Since each Manager was the next manager’s Timesheet Manager it kept going through the process.  But, this setup is correct in that we really did want Manager B to report to Manager C.  We really did want the Team Member to report to Manager A.  HOWEVER, we wanted it to stop at one approval.

 

The users were all setup in groups with no selected permissions in their own user setup.  The default group settings were not changed.  The Managers were all in the Resource Manager group, the Team Member in the Team member group.  The RBS was setup but doesn’t appear to play a role in this situation.  We searched high and low and were able to piece together the following three pieces that all work in tandem.

 

Here is gotcha number one:

The system needs to be setup so that the resource that you want to approve timesheets has the “Approve Timesheet” permission.   (Note – there is an “Accept Timesheet” and an “Approve Timesheet” permission.)  When an individual has the “Approve Timesheet” permission it should stop at that point.  They need to have the “Accept Timesheets” permission set to allow in the Global Permissions for the group as well.  In our case, no joy.

 

Here is gotcha number two:

In the timesheet settings you have to turn off (uncheck) the Fixed Approval Routing in the Timesheet Settings and Default screen.  (Note – unchecking this only stops the Managers from “selecting” who the timesheet goes to, it does NOT stop the routing from happening.)

 

Here is gotcha number three:

The permissions for this are based on the Category within the group.  The Manager who is approving the timesheet must have the Approve Timesheet permission IN THE CATEGORY that the Team Member has on their group.

Let’s walk through Manager A.

  • Manager A was in the Resource Manager group.
    • The Resource Manager Group global permissions had the “Accept Timesheets” permission:

     

    • The My Resources Category had all Resource permissions checked, including the “Approve Timesheet”
  • Still, when Manager A approved the timesheet, it went to Manager B.
  • So, we looked at the Team Member.  The Team Member had the Category “My Tasks” in the Team Member Group settings.
  • Therefore, we went back to the Resource Manager and added My Tasks to the Category and gave it one permission – Approve Timesheets

 

And, finally, it stopped routing to the next manager.

Now, when Team Member updates the timesheet, Manager A approves it and it is done.  Manager A’s timesheet is approved only by Manager B and Manager B by Manager C.

Comments

5 Responses to “ Timesheets – The Timesheet Chain ”

  1. scott-cf says:

    Nice write up. I’m still having trouble with this, however. I checked that our Manager A is set up properly to get the approvals, but all approvals are still going to the person who is our PM and the project owner of the Project in question.
    I just want the Manager A individual only to receive the updates in her Approval Center, not the PM. (Mgr A is set up as the timesheet mgr for the user entering the updates on their timesheet)

    thanks!

  2. scott-cf says:

    Just realized that part of my problem may be that we aren’t sending the timesheet, but the Status instead. Our users fill in the % work complete field, not the hours. Is there a way to have those status updates sent to someone besides the PM? We have even tried making the Manager the project’s owner.

    Thanks

    • admin says:

      Ok, so if I understand correctly, it isn’t the “timesheet” specifically that is the issue, it is the updates. If so, have you looked at the Status Manager? Each task within the project has a status manager. That manager can be changed to other PM’s so that when that task is updated it will go to them. (Of course, security settings need to be there.) The caveat is that the other PM has had to open the schedule at some point and done something with it to make themselves “eligible” to be a status manager. Kind of silly, but that is the way Project works. So, easiest way to resolve this without having to engage all the PM’s and have them do something is to go to PWA (assuming you are on 2010) and delegate yourself as one of the other PM’s. Then, as that PM, go into the file, create a task, yes, you have to create a task, make it a milestone or something that doesn’t interfere with your schedule and then you can even mark it as complete, save and publish the file. Stop delegating. Then, go to Professional and now you can assign that PM to any task as the Status Manager. OR, you could have every PM that you want on every schedule to go open that schedule themselves and add a task or make a change on some task and save and publish and then when they go back into the plan they can assign themselves as the task owner.

  3. scott-cf says:

    Thanks for your reply. Near the end, you mention having to use Professional. That is our problem. I didn’t want our PM to have to go through all these projects since she’s the only one with Professional. In your last sentence, you mention having every “new” PM open the schedule and add a task and then assign themselves as the task owners for the other tasks. Is that only in Professional as well? or can task owner be modified somewhere in PWA?
    thanks again!

    • admin says:

      They can do it in PWA. When they are signed into PWA, they just select the project in question, click on Edit in the ribbon (assuming they have permissions) and then they can add a task. But, I don’t think that “Status Manager” can be modified in PWA. That is a Microsoft thing. So, maybe you can do half of it in PWA – all the managers add a task. Then, you one PM can go into Project and modify en masse?

 

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