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  1. #1
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    more questions about importing data into project (project 2000)

    Seems lots of folks want to do something similar to me. My question is about trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. My company has a timekeeping system outside of Project. it's an in house application, but I can get the data out into an excel spreadsheet. I've gotten the data out and successfully imported into project with the mapping functions inside project. works pretty well. I'm over exercising the 'priority' field so that I can do resource scheduling. Works pretty great the first time I build the project. However, the only thing constant is change. Folks keep updating their time in the timekeeping system and opening new tasks everyday. I would like to regularly import data from my timekeeping system into my project and have it recalculate the schedule of resources. Is this feasible or just not a good use of project.

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    Silver Lounger GARYPSWANSON's Avatar
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    Re: more questions about importing data into project (project 2000)

    All of the items you want to do are can be complicated but can be done. You might want to look at some third party vendors or see what Microsoft has for importing timesheet data to give you some ideas.

    - Could you clarify what you mean by recalculate the schedule of resources.
    - How are you using the priority field for resource scheduling?

    - Items that you should watch for when doing this:
    --- If new tasks are charged, how are the tasks imported into the schedule, with particular emphasis on the tasks predecessors and successors which would not be in the timesheet record
    --- If timesheet records are corrected, i.e. someone makes a mistake and corrects it, how do you account for this in the import. If you are not careful, you will get the old charge and the new charge in the system.
    --- Capturing new resources into project if new people charge time.


    MS Project can assist you in tracking your resource availability quite well, however, as you suggest in your question, you need to maintain the data.

    HTH
    Regards,

    Gary
    (It's been a while!)

  3. #3
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    Re: more questions about importing data into project (project 2000)

    gary, thank you for the post, sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to this.

    What 3rd party vendors might you recommend?

    By recalculate the schedule of resources I mean to order the tasks for a given resource by priority and tell me when the task can be completed.

    I use the priority field by setting my incoming tasks with a priority 0-9 and I do not set any linked predecessors or successors in the project.

    I don't worry about the new tasks because i dont set the predecessors or successors, i'm scheduling based on priority alone.

    Heck, we have a hard time getting people to even enter the timesheet entries let alone correct them. But you have a valid point. I'm not looking for perfection.

    Here's my scenario, I work in a programming shop. We have about 100 programmers who are more or less interchangeable (yea, thats what the mgmt thinks). We also have at least that many clients and applications who give us requests for programmer tasks. Those requests are entered into an in-house tracking system where we estimate the effort in man hours and assign a resource (we can only assign to a single resource) and a priority. When a programmer starts working that task, they post their hours against it. I think I can use the posted hours against the estimated hours to calculate the percentage complete. It would be alright with me if the whole schedule was scratched everytime I import and recalculated. I'd use the Project tool to project the estimated start dates and put that back into my in-house system. When a task is actually started, I'd have the programmers enter an actual start date on the inhouse system and feed that to Project as the actual start date of the tasks. Then I think I would want to 'level' resources to see who has what work assigned, in progress and who is available and go back to my in house system, move things around, re-import into Project, etc. At least that's what I have in mind. I can't afford to maintain two places for the data, so my in-house system has to feed the project and I'm thinking it has to completely create a new project or schedule with each import. Am I on the right track?

    I think I can get what I want out of Project, but I'm not sure what fields in Project to feed to get the results I want. The first import seems to work okay, but subsequent imports makes all the resources over allocated. Maybe I'm onto something by feeding in the actual start date for tasks already underway.

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