2.009 Product Engineering Processes

Project Timesheet

background, use in 2.009, preparation and submission, activity descriptions

In professional design practice we are typically required to track and bill our time to the different projects on which we are working. Different types of activities are often billed at different rates, so the type of activity is also recorded.

We are using an online timesheet tool to make the process as convenient as possible. The categories of the timesheet are fairly detailed, so please make entries into your timesheet on a regular, daily basis when you are working on 2.009 project... when your memory is fresh.

Use in 2.009
From a learning viewpoint, the structure of the timesheets provide a reminder of the types of things one is likely to be doing in a product development process, and reflecting upon your effort will help to improve skills estimating how long different types of tasks take, and what they would cost in practice. Additionally, the aggregate time data and labor cost estimates will be useful for your team in developing your product's business model.

Your timesheets are private. Your lab instructors, who are responsible for grading, will not see the timesheets. The course instructors and the TAs will also not see your timesheet. A 3rd party will check your submissions, which are due the day after each project milestone, and provide feedback on recording. Aggregate time data (not individual) will be provided to your team for the purpose of labor cost estimation. Also, the course instructor will use the aggregate information in the timesheets (after the class is over) to improve the 2.009 product development process through a detailed understanding of the resources needed during different phases of the project. Please bill your time as correctly as possible since the goal is to obtain accurate information.

There will be five timesheets due throughout the semester, one for each of the major milestones starting with the sketch model review.

Descriptions of the activities are available for reference and includes examples of how to categorize your time based on frequently asked questions from students in the past. Please review the examples before you start working on your timesheet.

Preparation and submission

Your project timesheet entries should be made daily when you work on your project. Entries are then to be submitted/committed the day after each key milestone, as noted in the deliverables (roughly every 2 weeks throughout the term). Once timesheet entries for a given period have been submitted, they will no longer be editable. When it is time for you to submit the entries for a particular milestone, a submit button will be present when you login to the system.

Use instructions:
It is a good idea to review the sheet right away so that you know what categories to think about when you are working. Timesheets are completed on a daily basis, with one entry per day. You do not need to make an entry on a day when you do not work on your project. Please try to back-complete your time entries for the first week, before the forms were available.

You can enter your time data online directly, or you can download an excel spreadsheet. However, if you use the spreadsheet you will still need to enter the data online before each submission period. You may want to look at descriptions of the different categories when completing your timesheets (there is also mouse-over explanations).

To get started, go to https://2009.mit.edu/apps/timesheets (opens in new window). You may get a security warning saying that the script.mit.edu server (run by SIPB) is identifying itself as 2009.mit.edu. This is fine, click to go on.

The login screen also includes a link to reset your password if you have forgotten it or do not know it. The first time you use the system, please follow the instructions for resetting your password so that you can set your own password (hit reset password and you will be emailed a link to set it).
login screen



After successfully logging in, the application shows you a table of the timesheet entries you have saved so far on the system. If you get the server home page instead,
scripts home
click on the "2.009 Timesheets" link to reach the timesheet portion of the website.

The home page of the timesheet system displays the current timesheet period and when you will be allowed to submit your timesheet entries for the current timesheet period.
timesheet system header

During most of the timesheet period, you add entries that are saved in the system, but those entries may still be modified/updated by you. At the end of each timesheet period (when you have reached a class milestone), the timesheet for that milestone becomes "due". At that time, a big yellow button will appear on the timesheet home page.
timesheet submit button
Be sure to enter all of your entries for the timesheet period before you hit the big yellow submit button. One you hit the submit button, you will no longer be able to edit or add entries to that timesheet.

The timesheet system home page also displays a table of all of your currently saved entries. When you log in to the timesheet system for the first time, you will not have any entries, so the table of saved entries will not have any rows.
add entry link
Click on the "Add new entry" link to add a new entry.

The timesheet entry form is used to input information about your 2.009 activities. Entries are made on a daily basis. You can add an entry for a new day, or go back and edit the form for an existing day.

The add new entry and edit entry forms are nearly identical except for the following differences:

An example new entry form:
new entry header

An example edit entry form:
edit entry header

The timesheet entry form is used to input information about your 2.009 activities. The activities are grouped into six main categories: Designing activities, Researching activities, Prototyping activities, Testing/Debugging activities, Planning activities, and a catchall Other category. Record how much time you spend on each type of activity each day. In addition, distinguish between activities that you perform on your own (i.e., an individual effort, even if there are people around you) and those that you perform with others.

Keep in mind the following:


The timesheet entry form includes additional details about each activity that can be obtained by mousing over the activity name. You may also refer to the table of timesheet categories/activities for the same details.
entry form


At the bottom of the form are three buttons:
form buttons

If there are any problems with trying to save the information in the form, error messages will appear on the form. If applicable, the error message will include the name of the activity and the name of the column in the form with which there is a problem.
errors in form


When you return to the timesheet system home page, the table of timesheet entries displays the current milestone you are working toward based on the date of the entry. It also displays the total time recorded for each entry. Using the timesheet entries table, you can:

delete and table of entries


Other tips:

If you have suggestions, questions, or comments about the system, let us know. You can talk to the course instructor or send email to the 2009sysadmin mailing list.