Tracking Method and the Mark Complete Button on the Tasks Page
Consider a customer who has configured Single Entry Mode and enabled Protected Actuals (Task Settings and Display > Only allow task updates via Tasks and Timesheets). This customer is using a forced Tracking Method of Hours of Work Done per Period.
Team Members at this customer have been trained to not use the Mark Complete button on the Tasks page. Despite their previous training, this customer's Team Members expect this button to simply zero out the Remaining Work for a task, thereby marking it complete in the current period.
Instead, this button sets % Work Complete for the assignment to 100%, which copies the Work value into the Actual Work field for the entire duration of this task. Team Members do not expect this behavior, since the % Work Complete field is disabled in the Tasks grid when the Tracking Method is set to anything but Percent of Work Complete.
Team Members who use this button find that this button, in effect, "pre-populates" timesheets for later periods with Actual Work. This behavior is confusing to Team Members and gives other stakeholders concerns about the reliability of the system, since Team Members rarely figure out the explanation for this behavior on their own and tend to claim that the system is doing this all on its own.
Various options for resolving this issue exist. For example, when the Tracking Method is not set to Percent of Work Complete, Project Server / Online could:
- Automatically disable this button
- Modify the behavior of this button to simply zero out remaining work, leaving Actual Work and % Work Complete untouched
- Display a warning message when the button is clicked
For customers with mixed tracking method environments, this behavior could potentially manifest on a per-line basis (i.e. disabled for lines with other tracking methods or when selecting multiple lines that include at least one line with a different tracking method).
You could also add an option to the Task Settings and Display page that would offer users the choice of doing nothing or choosing one of the aforementioned options.
This scenario seems to generate a significant amount of confusion and general dissatisfaction at many customers, and may benefit from some adjustments.
Give us an easy way to hide/disable the "Mark Task Complete" button - period.
We shouldn't have to know how to code to hide this and it has caused numerous headaches. You can try to train all not use use it but that doesn't work - the easiest solution is to not give them a chance to use it.
Ian Bruckner commented
We'd have a similar problem. We hid links to the task pages, but that doesn't mean they can't be found (thankfully no one has - yet). Now, the mobile apps you're releasing would seem to reintroduce the easy ability to get into the task view and make edits with unintended consequences. We want timesheets to be the way to interact with actuals. Period.
I agree give us an option (preferably in Task Settings and Display) to disable this button (or possibility the additional suggested options. This causes more problems then what it might solve!
I have had to deal with this issue for a long time. Once the option choice is made, it's a training and conformance issue. A few months ago, after specifically telling a bunch a PFEs to NOT do that, they did and it took a lot of effort to fix it. I like the Task Settings and Display Page option - as anything that provides more options to customize the user experience is better.
David Gage commented
I see the same confusion and dissatisfaction at many of my customers over the years. This is the sort of issue that pretty much ruins the concept of using Project Server as a corporate timekeeping system. I like the idea of options on the Task Settings and Display page.
Kevin Watson commented
I concur, typical problem I see over and over again, it's hard to stop the users from using this then we end up with incorrect actuals sometimes 6 months into the future. I say during every class to the end user, I wish I could disable this button...