Possible to enter time on a weekly basis?

Discussion forum about Anuko Time Tracker

Re: Possible to enter time on a weekly basis?

Postby Nik » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:15 am

dalescott wrote:It would be convenient to have a "For Developers" page under Time Tracker on the Anuko website, or perhaps a sticky topic in the forum.

I put something in at https://www.anuko.com/time_tracker/info ... lopers.htm - work in progress. If there is something that needs to be there urgently please let me know, otherwise I will be improving it (slowly).
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Re: Possible to enter time on a weekly basis?

Postby dalescott » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:10 am

(edited for clarity, several times ;-)) Hi @Nik, here are a couple behaviors users might find confusing. They're not bugs because everything seems to work - once you know how. ;-)

Starting Condition: As a user, I'm liking seeing my time in Weekview to see the whole week at once, but I try to enter my time at the end of each day. It is Monday today, but I worked yesterday (Sunday) and have already submitted my time.

1 Existing time entries.png
1 Existing time entries
1 Existing time entries.png (28.75 KiB) Viewed 139 times


Behavior 1. I submit my time today for an existing task using the week grid. The time is added to the existing project/task row in the Weekview, but there is no comment. I think the expected behavior given that I'm not given the opportunity to enter a comment, could be to copy the existing comment to the new entry.

2 Adding time to existing task using grid - same row but no comment.png
2 Adding time to existing task using grid
2 Adding time to existing task using grid - same row but no comment.png (59.14 KiB) Viewed 139 times


Behavior 2. This time I try add more time for today also to an existing task, but using the top controls. In this case I think expected behavior would be to include the time into the already existing project/task row (like in Behavior 1), possibly concatenating the new comment to the already existing comment (and updating the already existing comment).

3 Adding time to existing task using top controls.png
3 Adding time to existing task using top controls
3 Adding time to existing task using top controls.png (246.71 KiB) Viewed 139 times


I'm not sure if some tweaks of the UI might add clarity. Perhaps visually grouping the top controls with the first row of the table would help show that the top controls are used only with the first (empty) row. It seems to me there are currently three distinct sections on the Week page:

  • 1. (top) - a group of controls for adding a new row (project/task) to the Weekview table, including hours per day for the week.
  • 2. (middle) - a Weekview table allowing entering new time in the week on a shown project/task, or editing time already entered (time only, comments cannot be edited in the Weekview table)
  • 3. (bottom )- list of time entries for the week, allowing individual editing (of time and comment)
Distinguishing between the sections visually somehow might improve clarity for users. Each section could have its own Submit button, which could simply all do the same thing.

Cheers,
Dale
Last edited by dalescott on Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Possible to enter time on a weekly basis?

Postby dalescott » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:18 am

Regarding developer documentation, @Nik wrote
I put something in at https://www.anuko.com/time_tracker/info ... lopers.htm - work in progress. If there is something that needs to be there urgently please let me know, otherwise I will be improving it (slowly).


Great page! Thanks. There's some really good detail. I'd also like also to understand some higher-level (and it's ok, even preferable, to re-write history so it appears logical and well thought-out).

  • What was the initial purpose and concept of Time Tracker? What basic concepts and data structures constrain Time Tracker?
  • What is the technical implementation strategy, including any logical or conceptual partitioning e.g. between framework and application, application and third-party project, application and plug-in, etc.
  • Overview of the Plugin strategy specifically. What was interface created for and what are its capabilities? What the rules are for writing a plugin?
  • Overview of test strategy.
  • Mobile strategy.
  • General development direction you'd like to see for TImeTracker. No dates, no promises, just a couple ideas about where you'd like to see effort brought to bear.

Most of this can be learned by studying the code, but providing the basics in an easy-to-digest format makes it hugely easier to become familiar with the project (and contribute back ;-)). Code will always the ultimate authority, but it's also the lowest level.

Cheers,
Dale
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Re: Possible to enter time on a weekly basis?

Postby Nik » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:19 am

dalescott wrote:I'm not sure if some tweaks of the UI might add clarity. Perhaps visually grouping the top controls with the first row of the table would help show that the top controls are used only with the first (empty) row. It seems to me there are currently three distinct sections on the Week page:

  • 1. (top) - a group of controls for adding a new row (project/task) to the Weekview table, including hours per day for the week.
  • 2. (middle) - a Weekview table allowing entering new time in the week on a shown project/task, or editing time already entered (time only, comments cannot be edited in the Weekview table)
  • 3. (bottom )- list of time entries for the week, allowing individual editing (of time and comment)
Distinguishing between the sections visually somehow might improve clarity for users. Each section could have its own Submit button, which could simply all do the same thing.


I am going to try to improve the week view a bit. Another UI idea has surfaced, which will hopefully make things a bit more intuitive. Who knows,.. we'll see, hopefully soon.
Nik
 
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Re: Possible to enter time on a weekly basis?

Postby Nik » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:28 pm

I added editable comment fields on the week view.

Removed the week view comment to simplify the view.

The UI still needs to be improved, but hopefully entering and / or editing comments becomes straightforward now.

Not sure if I broke anything with this change or not. If I did, please provide some feedback with details.
Attachments
week_view_with_editable_comments.png
Editable notes on the week view in Time Tracker
week_view_with_editable_comments.png (79.11 KiB) Viewed 96 times
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Re: Possible to enter time on a weekly basis?

Postby dalescott » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:01 pm

Hi @Nik, this is only a first impression but it feels IMHO that the daily Notes fields are a step backwards, in particular because they seem too small to be useful for viewing or editing the note, but also because it takes more mouse clicks now to enter a weekly timesheet. However I need to pull the latest changes and test first hand before saying more.

I'm currently using my production site for testing. Will there be any problems if I revert back to a previous version after testing? I recall having to manually run the end of dbinstall.php when Weekview was first introduced. There was a recent commit to dbinstall.php but it didn't seem to change the schema. Never hurts to double-check though.

I was also thinking it might be worth moving Weekview development into a new dev branch. It looks like there have been recent commits for other reasons than Weekview, and having Weekview dev in a separate branch could turn out to be useful depending on how long it takes to stabilize Weekview functionality and appearance. The downside of course would be having to periodically merge new work in master into the Weekview dev branch to keep it current.

I'll try to give you more feedback before Monday. Is anyone else out there testing Weekview? It would be good to hear opinions from others as well, I'm only speaking from my own personal experience.

Finally, this is the third time I've tried to submit a comment but I keep forgetting to login first (or it could be my login session has timed out) and I lose everything I've typed after logging in. Is there any way to _not_ lose my work in progress? Would an update to phpBB help? I don't see the current version, but it seems possibly from 3.0.x from the 2007 copyright, and 3.1.x brought some significant changes in technology and behavior (although I don't follow phpBB closely, this is just what I inferred from Wikipedia ;-)).

Cheers
Last edited by dalescott on Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Possible to enter time on a weekly basis?

Postby dalescott » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:47 pm

I still need to test the new change first hand but I quickly patched together a mockup of my previous proposal with improved visual differentiation between the three sections. I think this might be the best compromise between Day and Week view, but promise to still test the latest changes and give first-hand feedback.

weekly timesheet mockup 02 reduced 75 cropped.jpg
Weekly timesheet mockup version 2
weekly timesheet mockup 02 reduced 75 cropped.jpg (114.4 KiB) Viewed 94 times
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Re: Possible to enter time on a weekly basis?

Postby Nik » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:00 am

dalescott wrote:Hi @Nik, this is only a first impression but it feels IMHO that the daily Notes fields are a step backwards, in particular because they seem too small to be useful for viewing or editing the note...

You can actually see the entire comment on mouse hover over due to a title attribute that is set on these controls. Example below.

entire_comment_in_tooltip.png
Entire comment is seen in week view in control tooltip.
entire_comment_in_tooltip.png (22.4 KiB) Viewed 93 times


dalescott wrote:... but also because it takes more mouse clicks now to enter a weekly timesheet.

IMHO, your situation may be quite unique if comments are the same for the entire week.

I can return the Week note field, as it is relatively easy to do, but I was trying to address your own concerns earlier in this thread about confusing behavior of this control. New design completely eliminates this problem. It also allows to edit a comment right there, without clicking on Edit, going to time_edit.php, then Day View, then switching back to Week View. Furthermore, you can edit multiple comments for many records in the week (and keep them different) in one click. How is this a step backwards?

No design is good for everybody, and perhaps the best way to address some of the issues is by making stuff configurable. For example.

- Whether or not to display a week comment for new entry.
- Whether or not to display individual comment fields.
- Whether or not to display the list on the bottom.

Here are a couple of notes from another user I was trying to address (both already implemented).

1. keep the projects that are active populated from week to week - i.e. once you shift from one week to the next, you have to re-populate each active project to build up your “project set”. it would be nice if this was just always there. for extra credit, just populate all projects that each employee is active on at all times, then you would never need to populate projects in the week view, each employee just has their own “project set” up all the time.

2. if there were a way to add notes in the week view to each entry, that would be really awesome for us, as this is where we keep track of individual tasks etc.. I realize this may be a bit more difficult, but imagine a little box that you could type in right below the hours. Here is a screen shot sketch of the idea.


dalescott wrote:I'm currently using my production site for testing. Will there be any problems if I revert back to a previous version after testing? I recall having to manually run the end of dbinstall.php when Weekview was first introduced. There was a recent commit to dbinstall.php but it didn't seem to change the schema. Never hurts to double-check though.

There were no changes in the database, so a rollback back is realistic. You can also test at https://timetracker.anuko.com as it runs the latest code.
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Re: Possible to enter time on a weekly basis?

Postby dalescott » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:26 pm

IMHO, your situation may be quite unique if comments are the same for the entire week.


I didn't think so, but I guess it depends on what the majority are doing. :wink:

I'll try to explain my situation better. Most of my work has been as a salaried employee either in a team or leading a team developing embedded-type products. E.g. electronic circuit design, PCB design, firmware coding, metal and plastic enclosure design, user manuals, manufacturing test jigs, etc. Tasks are often 1/2-week to 3-weeks in duration (e.g. "design and test power supply circuitry", "design PCB", "write OTA loader"... ) so daily comments are generally more fluff than value compared to a weekly comment. Also everyone on the team is generally salaried, so there is not the same appreciation for timesheets as someone who needs to submit invoices to get paid (although I admit I've had some pretty poor invoices from contractors as well). It's usually a finance person who insists on timesheets to allocate time to major projects for costing and SR&ED claims, and its always a chore every Friday afternoon (or Monday morning) to get staff to fill them in. Finance isn't usually interested in the specifics (until the annual SR&ED claim submission), and project management is often seen as something done with MS Project. The end result is that senior management don't get a good picture of where the time went, why a deadline is slipping, and why other work isn't getting done. However, improving the process can't be an intrusion or be seen as overhead cost. The president/founder where last worked told me that sustaining engineering and maintenance isn't really a project so it doesn't need a project code (but also we were using Dayforce for timesheets, and we had to go through Ceridian/Dayforce to get a timesheet project code created).

I want to bring together the financial need for projects and hours with the project management need for hours spent on task to achieve goals, with some basic notes on what was achieved and what challenges arose. This will help satisfy everyone, minimal burden on the project team, the project manager gets a high-level picture and can focus their attention on problem areas rather than hovering over team member's shoulders watching or interrupting (or worse the dreaded Monday morning project meeting), and senior management gets better visibility for decision making ("data-driven management" as it's called). Daily timesheets are a good goal, but I'd be happy starting with just a decent weekly comment.

No design is good for everybody, and perhaps the best way to address some of the issues is by making stuff configurable.


Sounds like a great solution!

I saw in the log there was a commit for pre-populating tasks, that's fantastic! I will comment after testing (and thanks for reminding me of your demo site).

Cheers,
Dale
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