Product Update

March 13, 2004

1. Projects: Adjust late project tasks; restrict right to modify projects; manually over-ride projected task cost and billing; other project features.

OpenAir strives to provide our clients with the tools they need to successfully meet the challenges of managing complex projects. This month, we have added a feature to help managers deal with slippage in the project plan. We alert the manager that there are late tasks on the project, provide an easy method to adjust multiple late tasks in one step, and automatically reschedule hours assigned to users accordingly. A late task is defined as one that has a start date prior to the current date, has planned hours greater than zero, has no worked hours and is zero percent complete. If there are late tasks on the project, the user will be alerted by a hint at the bottom of the outline and the edit tasks/phases views (provided s/he has the required permissions to edit tasks on the project). The manager then clicks a hyperlink in the hint to adjust the late tasks. S/he can select which tasks to adjust and how to adjust them. The tasks can be adjusted either by moving the start date forward, or by putting a blackout period at the start of the task; the latter option preserves the original task start date. The task is adjusted so that assigned hours begin on the date entered. The manager can also choose whether or not to adjust the task end date by the same amount of time.

We have also added an option to prevent a user other than the project owner from modifying a project. This feature provides increased security and accountability in the project management process. Previously, if a user was a project manager on one project, but a timekeeper on many projects, the user’s role did not distinguish between the two functions and permitted making changes to any of the projects to which the user had access. With this month’s release, the creator of the project has the option to restrict modification rights to the project owner. On the Project create/edit form, there is a checkbox to “allow only the project owner to edit the project”. If this box is checked, then no user other than the project owner can make a change to the project.

A third enhancement to the Projects module is the ability to override manually the system-calculated task cost and billing projections. If your account has enabled task cost and billing projections, these are automatically calculated by the system using assigned hours, the assigned users’ loaded costs and default hourly billing rates. The result is a projection, based on assigned hours, of the total labor costs to complete the task and the total anticipated billable charges attributable to the task. This month, we add an option to override the system-calculated figures with your own projections. If you have a fixed fee project, for instance, you might want the projected billing to be independent of hours assigned. To enable this feature, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Projects options. Check the box to “enable manual over-ride of task cost and billing projections” and save. When creating or editing a task, you will now have the option to specify whether to use the system-calculated values, or to enter your own projections for cost and billing for the task.

Other Projects module features in this month’s release include: (a) an option to select which pricing types to display in the project pricing analysis. Click Options > Pricing options; (b) a PDF version of the project overview report. Select a project > Overview > PDF version; (c) the ability to generate PDF project overviews for multiple projects in bulk. From the project list view, click the customize link, add “Run an action”; and (d) customization of the project task list to show the phase of a task. For more details on these features, please call our support department.


2. Reports: Filter summary reports by project stage; filter timesheet and expense status reports by status; hide personal user information on timesheet and expense reports; display date and timestamp on reports; other reporting enhancements.

We continue to refine OpenAir’s reporting capabilities in an effort to deliver the data needed by our clients in the form they require. This month, we have added the ability to filter summary reports by project stage. In accounts that have access to the Projects module, administrators can create customized project stages (for example, proposed, in progress and closed stages) to distinguish projects in various phases of the project life cycle. Project stages are created in the Account tab and assigned to projects in the Project create/edit form. Now, any summary report that can be filtered by project can also be filtered by project stage. In the example above, for instance, you can now run reports on only those projects that are in progress, excluding any projects that are closed or proposed.

New filtering options have also been added to the timesheet status and envelope status reports; you can now filter by timesheet or envelope status. These reports are available in Reports > Advanced > Timesheets | Expenses. A series of checkboxes on the report configuration screen allows you to filter on any combination of status (missing, open, submitted, approved, or rejected). If you want to see only users who haven’t created or submitted a timesheet for a particular period, for example, you can now do so by checking the boxes “Missing” and “Open” on the report configuration form.

We have added the ability to hide personal user information on the timesheet and expense report. This is useful for situations where these documents might be submitted to the client or others outside the company, and you wish to shield the user’s address and phone number. Please contact OpenAir support if you wish to have this feature enabled in your account.

Reports can now be dated and timestamped. To take advantage of this feature, administrators navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Reporting options. Check the box to “Show date and timestamp on reports” and save. The report results will show the date and time the report was generated.

Other reporting enhancements this month include: (a) the financial analysis report supports custom fields related to projects and includes an option to ignore hourly timebills. Go to Reports > Advanced > Projects > Financial analysis; (b)expanded PivotTable support for summary reports. Formerly limited to a single value, PivotTable support now extends to any number of available values; (c) alphabetized available values in report layout and detail field pick lists to make report configuration easier.


3. Timesheets: Limit time types by task; permit project approvers to view all timesheet entries.

In Timesheets, it is now possible to limit the time types available for selection by users based on the project task that they select. This feature is designed to assist users and reduce errors in making an appropriate time type selection. For example, if you have created a task for users to track their vacation hours, you can limit the allowed time types for this task to the correct time type for the vacation task. To enable the feature, an administrator should contact OpenAir's support department. Once the feature is turned on, the Task create/edit form will display a new option (“Time types allowed in time entry”). Click Create to select the allowed time types. . The timesheet grid layout will show dropdowns for client:project, task and time type, in that order. When the user selects a client:project, the contents of the task dropdown change to display the assigned tasks. When the user selects a task, the time type dropdown will also change to display only the available time types for that task. Please note that this feature is not currently supported by OffLine, Palm or Pocket PC applications.

We have also added an option to permit project approvers to view all time entries on timesheets submitted to them. Currently, when timesheets are submitted to project approvers, they see only the hours they are being asked to approve. If a timesheet has 40 hours, but the project approver only needs to approve 20 of those hours, the approver sees only the 20 hours associated with the project to be approved. With this new feature, the project approver can see all 40 hours, even though they only need to approve the 20 hours for their project. To turn this feature on, an administrator should navigate to My Account > Company > Settings > Timesheet options. Check the box “Project approvers can view all time entries” and save.


4. Resources: Booking grid filters.

The Resources booking grid has been enhanced with the addition of filters for resource, department and job code. In cases where the booking grid holds a large number of bookings, the filters can make it easier to find and enter data. To access the filters, users with the required privileges can navigate to Resources > Bookings > Grid > Settings. Create filters for resources, departments or job codes to limit the grid to bookings for a subset of users. There is also an option to display only the user’s own bookings.


5. Opportunities: Deal stages; customize deal form; unapprove option for proposals; allow approver to edit submitted proposals.

In the Opportunities module, we have enhanced both deals and proposals this month. In deals, we added deal stages. These replace the existing “probability of closing” attribute of deals. Administrators can create or edit deal stages in the Account tab by going to Opportunities > Deal Stages. There are presently 19 stages, each named with a percentage value. You can reduce the number of stages, if desired, by deleting some of the existing ones. You can also rename existing stages to conform to your internal practice. Click the name in the deal stage list to rename or delete the stage. The deal stage requires a name, a percentage value between 0 and 100 (used for forecasting probability calculations) and a position relative to other stages.

A second enhancement to deals is the ability to customize the deal form. The administrator can place a message at the top or bottom of the form, giving users hints or tips about filling out the deal form (for example, about which deal stage to assign to a deal). To customize the deal form, administrators or users with the required privilege go to Opportunities > Deals > [select a deal] > Edit. Click the customize link at the bottom of the screen. Enter the message (you can include any valid HTML, if desired), select the location for the message and save.

On the proposal side, we have added the ability to unapprove an approved proposal. Administrators can give a user the ability to unapprove a proposal by going to Account > Users > [select user] > Demographic > Opportunities options. Check the box to allow the user to un-approve a proposal and save. To unapprove a proposal, the user who has this privilege can select an approved proposal, and click Submit/Approve to access a link to unapprove the proposal.

Also in proposals, we have added the ability of an approver to edit a submitted proposal. This is enabled by the administrator in My Account > Company > Settings > Opportunities options. Check the box to “allow an approver to edit a submitted approval” and save. With this feature enabled, the approver of a submitted proposal can make changes to the proposal before approving it, without being required to send it back for modification to the user who created and submitted it.


6. Would you like to see previous OpenAir product updates?

Click here to browse previous product updates including all new features, modules and functionality.


7. Register for our client webinar on March 16, 2004.

Click here to register for the latest in our series of regular webinars to introduce new features to our existing clients. The webinar is scheduled for March 16, 2004 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. Additional webinar dates are posted on our events page.


8. Suggestions, problems, or questions?

As always, please contact us at or 888.367.1288 (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 617-351-0226). We pride ourselves on the outstanding care we give our customers. Please let us know how we improve your experience with OpenAir.