An advantage of using Microsoft Project Server 2007 is the ability to have people involved in the work update the progress of the project using My Tasks and My Timesheets pages. The My Timesheets page allows project team members to enter their actual work data on each assignment and submit it to their direct or timesheet manager at the end of period — such as every week. The My Tasks page enables team members to update task status in order to help project managers keep track of project progress. Figure 1 showshow these functions work.

Figure 1. The process for using the My Tasks and My Timesheets pages.

Lock Down Microsoft Project Progress Data

After the user updates the remaining work, actual work (which can be imported from the timesheet), and percent of work complete, Microsoft Project and Project Server recalculate other fields based on embedded formulas. Each time one side of the equation changes, other elements of the formula will be adjusted to maintain the equation. For example, the percent of work completed and total work of each task calculates as:

Lock Down Microsoft Project Progress Data

Assume that a user submits 30 hours of actual work for an assignment with 100 hours of remaining work. The program will calculate total work and percent of work completed like this:

Lock Down Microsoft Project Progress Data

Then let’s say the user turns to the assignment details page accessible from both the My Tasks page and My Timesheets page and updates the percent work complete field to 60 percent. Consequently, the program will recalculate and adjust actual work and total work to maintain the equation; the original actual work submitted by the assignment owner or user will be changed and overridden.

In my company team members have to report actual time and remaining work for the assignments. The “assignment detail” page provides percent work complete and actual work (depending on the server setting), information that’s accessible by all users. Users are supposed to enter the actual work data in their time-sheets (for their direct managers) and update the assignment status (for the project manager).

We have found that the actual work data submitted by users is valuable for our project managers. But having the percent work complete field exposed increases the chance of deliberate, accidental, or hasty changes in this field’s data. Besides, the financial department carries out payment after timesheets are approved and processed.

To prevent variances from appearing between the data maintained by the project managers and the financial department, which causes confusion and delays, my company has decided to prevent users from changing the percent of work completed field. Users can only update the remaining work, task health, actual start, actual finish, and notes field to inform project managers of task progress. Fully completed tasks are those with zero work remaining and a “Completed” task health.

To disable the percent of work completed field for users to maintain the “purity” of the actual work data and keep it unchangeable by team members, here’s the procedure.

First, find “details.aspx,” the page denoting where Project Server is installed. In a default installation this page can be found in following path:

C:Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft Sharedweb server extensions12TEMPLATELAYOUTSPWASTATUSING

Second, using Notepad or some other text editing program, find the “PWA:TextConvBox” tag and add the “enabled = false” attribute. Figure2 shows the details page after applying this custom attribute.

Figure2 The Detals.aspx page after modifying it.

Lock Down Microsoft Project Progress Data

Third, save your changes and look at your assignment details page. As shown in Figure 3, the field becomes disabled for users.

Figure 3. The Assignment details page after saving the changes.Lock Down Microsoft Project Progress Data

Now, your project managers will know that what has been reported by team members communicates the original actual work. And the financial department will be in complete agreement with them.

Lock Down Microsoft Project Progress Data
Farhad Naderipour, based in Tehran, Iran, works as the IT manager for Fanamoj Co. There he has established a project management office in order to train and help R&D project managers prepare monthly reports of the projects, deployed Project Server 2007 in the organization, analyzed and implemented a document management system using Project Server 2007 and SharePoint 2007, and established security using Microsoft Right Management Server. He’s the author of
A Guide for Delphi Programmers published by Naghoos Press in Persian. Farhad has a B.S. in industrial engineering from Islamic Azad University. Contact him at f_naderipour@yahoo.com.