This post is part of a series I’m creating connected with Project Service Automation (PSA) for Microsoft Dynamics 365. This time I will consider how to enter time against a project.
Recording time against a project is obviously an important activity. And once the team members have recorded their time a project manager or line manager may need to review the details and approve before the time is billed to customers.
Time can be recorded via the mobile client or using the standard web application.
You should be aware that time recording like this only applies to resources that are CRM users. (Meaning that out of the box, resources that are contacts / accounts cannot log actuals against a project in this manner.)
In the web client, we use the Time entries option, as shown below;
Similar functionality can also be found in the mobile client by using its time entries option.
In the web client, when I first open time entries a view similar to the one below is shown. Then pressing “+” will allow me to add a time entry.
The time entry will look something like the details shown below. Here I record the amount of time I have record against the particular project and task for that day.
Once I have saved my time, as you can see below it is shown in the time entry grid as an orange block. This reflects that the time is currently in a draft mode.
Also, notice that the default type of time entry is “work”. Other types such as holiday and absence can be recorded. These show in a different colour.
The entries tab on the right hand side of the screen allows me to see a breakdown of the time entered. So as a user I could confirm I have entered the correctly amount of time for the week / day in question.
Once I’m happy that all my time has been entered, I use the SUBMIT button to send these entries to the project manager for approval. Notice below that all of the draft entries have been selected by default but I could opt to “untick” individual items if some weren’t ready to be send to the project manager.
When you submit absence or vacation details these need to be approved by your line manager. A user’s line manager is set on the Dynamics 365 system user record.
If the team member submits some work (or absence) for approval incorrectly then the recall option can be used to change the item back to draft, so it can be amended. It should however be noted that you can only do this whilst the task is in a submitted state. Once approved by the project manager it cannot be changed.
In many circumstances, you may find that your weekly working pattern is very similar. If this is the case the “copy from” option maybe a useful tool. It allows you to copy a previous weeks details into the current week. Then the details can be amended before being submitted for approval.
Another useful feature is the grid view, as sometimes you may find it quicker to enter your effort in a grid style. From the main screen select “GRID”. You will then be able to access to view like the one shown below.
Once submitted the project manager or line manager will need to approve the work or absence. For this navigate to the approval section of Project Service.
The project manager will use the time entries for approval view, to approve work. But the person’s line manager will use the “Absence / Vacations to approval” view. Below you can see the time entries for approval view used by the project manager.
The project manager can open the time entry details to review the details and then use the Approve button to accept the details entered. Doing so will increment the actual time recorded on the project and on the task. And therefore, also contribute towards billing of the customer.
Below you can see that on the work breakdown structure for the project a colour bar highlights actual activity against a task.
Over the years I have used several different solutions for recording my time against projects! I have found the approach taken in Project Service to be very simple and user friendly.