Timesheet Classifications – what they don’t do

With the change in relationship between time tracking in timesheets, and the updating of status in tasks, that we introduced in Project Server 2007 there has been some confusion.  One area that after working on a case yesterday needs a little more explanation is timesheet classifications.  Where you create these in PWA it give the following description:

Edit, Enter Line Classification

You can duplicate timesheet lines for business purposes or accounting reasons. To do this, define timesheet line Classifications, which will become the unique identifier for a timesheet line.

What it doesn’t say directly is that these classifications are not for tasks – and only the timesheet classification of "Standard" can be imported to the "My Tasks" page through "Import Timesheets".  All other classification types will be ignored and any lines will not display in the grid to be imported.

The intention behind this design is that other classifications can be used for business analysis of time related to the task that was not productive as far as working the task.  So you may have spent 2 hours traveling to perform a task – and you may bill the customer, but this wasn’t something directly related to performing the task – and in this scenario was not included in the planned time to perform the task.  Obviously there could be other ways to handle this and the travel may well be a task on its own. 

In the support incident where this caused some issues the customer was trying to use the classifications as a way of flagging different activities within the same task – but as the only the standard line goes through to the time tracking in the project this would not work.  The solution agreed here is that the project requires tasks for all the different activities being performed.  You could also do some sort of server side event that allows you to add time in different timesheet classifications against the same task – and then these get consolidated in the "Standard" row – but analysis would only be available in the timesheet and reporting database.

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As an example only the 6h highlighted for the ABC Outlook Task 1 would be available for import to "My Tasks" – the research and travel time would not. 

I hope this helps clear up any misunderstanding of this feature.