Timesheet Tip: Linking Projects Together

Linking Projects Together

If you’re using Replicon’s timesheet software to track projects, then you’re probably already well-versed at dividing those projects into tasks and sub-tasks. In Web TimeSheet, these tasks are naturally linked to the parent project. But what happens when you need to link two or more entire projects together? How do you do it?

For some customers, the use of “Client Name” or “Department” is sufficient. However, there may be times when you need to create dependencies for the purposes of tracking, timelines and reporting. Imagine a case of three projects that are all part of one large project, such as product design. One project may focus on “Creating the Product.” One project may require a “Factory to be Built.” And one project may necessitate “Hiring Staff” to support the new product. In a lot of cases, these activities cannot be tasks of the same projects, so here is how we would treat those in the timesheet software.

The solution is to create a new Project-Level User-Defined Field (UDF) to use as a linking code between these projects. Here’s how:
Step 1: Create a new UDF at the Project level. Use text, numbers, or even drop-down as the “Type.”
Step 2: Go to each project that is part of this same “group” and add the same code to each one (i.e. ABC123).
Step 3: On any project report, add this new UDF field as a column. We recommend that you also group the report on this new column (in the “Rows Group By” section on the Grouping tab of the report settings).
Step 4: Run the report. Make sure to select any appropriate filters to narrow down your report range.

Each one of the groupings you create will be its own section. So, if you are looking for totals on hours, $ amounts, or anything else numerical, the sums will be provided.

If you are looking for an additional level of complexity, you can use the project link code nomenclature to perform some basic functions.
Example A) Sequence. Project groupings that naturally follow each other can be named ABC123, ABC124, ABC125, etc.
Example B) Phases. Projects that are essentially phases of a larger project can be named to reflect that: NEWPhase1, NEWPhase2, NEWPhase3, etc.
Example C) Dates. Dates can be factored into the code as well: ABC123-Dec2011, ABC123-Jan2012, ABC345-Jan2012, etc.

Lastly, if your project code field is not being used for anything, then you can perform the same functions as above but without having to create a new User-Defined Field.

The end result: greater visibility of the total time, money and work going into your projects – as a whole and broken up by its supporting projects. Once you’ve linked your projects with the time-tracking software, your employees can associate their hours with any of the linked projects – and their individual tasks – right on their online timesheets. Managers can tailor reports however they choose to track overall progress for in-house use, client billing, payroll or other needs.

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