All about SmartBeats
SmartBeats are updates on task progress recorded by a task owner for their project manager. They're sometimes simply referred to as 'beats'.
They are typically sent daily, to help the project manager stay up to date on the task’s status, so managers know right away when project schedules begin to slip, allowing them to quickly intervene.
You can think of a SmartBeat as a slightly more structured way for a team lead to tell their manager something like this:
"The task is going well. Since we last talked I got 20 hours of work done, and think there are 10 more to go. I should have it done by the 14th."
SmartBeats are also a method of automatically populating timesheets; work hours the task owner includes in their beat are added to their timesheet. This makes completing timesheets easier – and more accurate, since beats are submitted immediately after work was performed.
Fields included in SmartBeats
Smart are structured feedback, and include fields for:
- Hours the task owner worked that day
- The task owner’s best estimate of the work remaining for the task
- Their best estimate of when they’ll complete the task
- Any comments they have on their progress
Benefits of using SmartBeats
- Help ensure project managers are always up to date on the status of their projects
- Allow project managers to intervene early if projects are going off track
- Make the resource’s job easier, since they only have to remember what they did today
- Promote accuracy, since resources don’t have time to forget what they worked on
- Save resources from having to complete timesheets after the fact
- Help ensure project completion estimates are being regularly reviewed and updated, as work progresses
- Promote resource accountability
- Project manager sets up a project and a task, and assigns a project resource as the task’s owner.
- Task owner views each current task they’re assigned in the Tasks section of the My Work > Overview page.
- Each work day, the task owner completes and submits a beat for the task; work hours and estimates from the beat automatically populate the task owner’s timesheet.
Alternatively, the task owner can record work hours and estimates for the current day directly in their timesheet. Those hours will be copied to the beat entry form for that day, if they access it.
The task owner can update beat data throughout the current day, as desired. However, they can only update work hours for past days.
- Project manager views and approves beats for tasks they manage via the My Team > Approvals page. They may be able to edit beat fields, if necessary.
Setting up resources to use SmartBeats
Resources must be assigned the following settings before they can submit beats:
- Project resource permissions
- A Time Distribution Grid timesheet - we recommend that you enable auto-submit in the timesheet template, so resources submitting beats don’t need to touch their timesheet
And, the resource must be assigned as the task owner of the tasks they’ll be submitting beats for.
What happens if we miss a day?
Beats are most accurate and most useful if they apply only to the current day's work, therefore task owners can only submit a beat for the current day -- via the Tasks section of the My Work > Overview page or via the Polaris desktop app.
So, if you miss completing a beat, you can't make it up; however, you can't update work hours for any day in an open timesheet, and any hours modified for a past day are factored in to beat calculations for the current day.
Can only one resource submit beats for a given task?
Yes - only the task owner can submit beats. However, other resources can work on and be billed for the task.
Can a resource submit beats at the project level, rather than against a task?
No. Resources can only submit beats for tasks, not for the project as a whole.
Are beats validated at all?
Project managers can view and validate beat data in timesheets before approving them.