Are your task updates protected?

If you’re requesting team members to report their hours worked on project tasks, the last thing you want is for Project Managers to inadvertently change the actual hours on a task that a team member submitted via Project Web App. Getting accurate data for reporting is challenging enough as it is, so why add another complication to this.

Whether you’re using Project Online or an on premise version of Project Server, you can protect actual hours submitted from Project Web App to Microsoft Project. On the Server Settings page, there’s a link to the Task Settings and Display page which contains an administrative setting ‘ONLY ALLOW TASK UPDATES VIA TASKS AND TIMESHEETS’. This option can be toggled on to protect actuals entered via Project Web App from team members (enterprise resources).

When you toggle this setting on, there’s an impact on how Microsoft Project 2013, and all earlier versions, will behave. The change in behavior is to protect Project Managers from inadvertently doing things that would impact the actual hours submitted by the team member from Project Web App. The following describes the specifics on how Project 2013 behaves.

If a Project Manager tries to delete a task or assignment, the following dialog box appears and the action is not allowed.

If a Project Manager tries to do any of the following in Microsoft Project on a task or assignment that has actual hours submitted by an enterprise resource:

  • change the % complete
  • change the % work complete on an assignment
  • change actual work
  • convert a detail task to a summary task by adding a new task below and indenting
  • change the start date

The following dialog appears and the action is not allowed.


If a Project Manager mistakenly assigns a resource to a summary task and actuals are entered against the summary, this doesn’t cause issues like it did in earlier versions. The time is accepted to the summary task and the work on that task will show the rollup of all the subtasks plus the hours entered against the summary task. A Project Manager will not be able to remove the resource from the summary task to prevent further time posted but they task can be closed from receiving further updates (this is done in Project Web App using the Project Details view 'Close Tasks to Update' which Microsoft doesn't conveniently display by default, so an administrator will need to include this view in the My Projects category)

If you recall the field ‘Actual Work Protected’ from Project Server 2003, this is no longer available for display in Microsoft Project Professional, but there is a field ACWP (Actual Cost of Work Performed) and if you’re trying to do some troubleshooting to see what the Actual Work Protected value is, you can open the resource sheet and set all resources to a rate of $1 (for enterprise resources, the value will hold for your working session and then reset back to the rate on their profile when you close and reopen the project file).