Posted by: Craig Harding | September 23, 2009

Tracking Administration Time in MS Project

Tracking Administration Time in MS Project

In my last blog I talked about making sure your resources are assigned the appropriate availability to work on tasks by accounting for administration time on projects. So how do you track this administration time in your project plan?

First of all you have to determine if you need or want to actually track the administration time in MS Project. If you are not using MS Project to track the budget of the project then you may have no need to track that time. In this case your budget is probably being tracked by some other time entry system that captures all time against the project.  Here, in MS Project you would simply track actual time against your hard project tasks that you have assigned to your resources. However, you want to make sure that your resources fully understand that they are not to charge and administration time to these hard tasks so you do not collect invalid times against your project plan.

If you are tracking your budget in MS Project and need to account for every hour spent on the project, then you need to set up a way to track the administration time. How you do this will depend on the level of detail you want to track here. As we said earlier, administration time is for soft deliverables on a project such as knowledge transfer, team meetings, status meetings, etc. You can set up tasks for each of these and assign a percentage of the resources time to each and track them individually. However, I find that this can sometimes just be added work for team members and for the PM to organize and make sure time is being gathered correctly. What I find works best is to have one ADMIN task running across the length of the project. Create the task as a “Fixed Duration” task and set resources’ UNITS at the desired allocation. You can then track the actual time against that task the same as any other task in the schedule.

If you have resources assigned to your project such that all of their time is to be charged against the project, even non-project administration time (company meeting, breaks, etc), you can also set up a separate task for that time if needed, or agree to track that time as part of your one administration task.

However you set up your administration tasks, it is important to communicate to your team how they are to account for their time against these tasks. Like all tasks in your schedule, it is also important to monitor the progress on a regular basis for irregularities and productivity issues.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other topic, I am always looking for feedback.

Cheers

Craig

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