Step 3: Update progress

Get your bearings Turn in a timesheet Update progress

While it’s important to turn in the hours you work on your tasks in Project Web App, it’s equally important to communicate with your project manager about how things are going in a more general way.

In this article, we cover:

Time vs. task progress: What’s the difference?

Before we talk about how to report on task progress in Project Web App, it’s important to make sure we’re clear on the differences between time and task progress.


Time is the actual number of hours you spend working on a specific task. This is what you fill out on your timesheet, to capture the number of hours you spent on different things during your work week.

Task progress

Task progress is an umbrella term for things like the percent of work that is complete for a task (percent complete), and how much work is left to do before the task is finished (remaining work).

Submitting task progress is a way to capture a broader description of how you think things are going with your tasks.

Let's look at an example...

In this example, you are assigned to a task that is scheduled to take 40 hours.


You spent 8 hours on the task on Monday, 4 hours on Tuesday, and 8 hours on Wednesday, for a total of 20 hours.





















This is the time that you would enter on a timesheet.

Now, let’s look at the work you did from a task progress perspective.

Even though 20 of 40 hours have been spent on the task, you may not feel that you are 50% complete.

You may think you are farther along, say 75% complete, or a bit behind, maybe 25% complete.

20 of 40 hours looks like this:


But really, you may be ahead of schedule, like this:


Or behind schedule, like this:


When you communicate your estimated percent complete, this is your task progress. Communicating your estimated number of hours left on the task (remaining work) is also considered your task progress.

Continuing with our example, after completing 20 of the 40 scheduled hours, you may feel like you have more than 20 hours of work left to do before the task is finished. By submitting your estimated remaining work to your project manager, you are communicating task progress.

Okay, but remind me, why are we doing this?

Remember, just like with timesheets, reporting on task progress, frankly, isn’t about you. It’s about the project itself, and making sure things get done on time and within budget.

If the task you’re working on is taking longer than expected, for whatever reason, your project manager may be able to rearrange things down the road so that the overall project isn’t derailed.

Even when you do your job to the best of your abilities, things don’t always work as planned. Every good project manager knows this, so don’t stress it if your task progress doesn’t line up with the schedule. Just be honest, share how things are going, and you’ll be doing your part to keep the project on track.

Where do I enter my task progress?

This is kind of a tricky question. There are two ways to set up Project Web App for entering task progress.

Separate views for time and task progress.    If your organization has set up Project Web App this way, team members enter and submit time in the Timesheet view, and task progress in the Tasks view.

  • Time is entered as:    Hours in the Timesheet view

  • Task progress is entered as:    Percent complete in the Tasks view + Remaining work in the Tasks view

One combined view for time and task progress.    If your organization has set up Project Web App this way, team members can capture both time and task progress in the Timesheet view. Task progress is represented by your hours, in this case, rather than percent complete, in addition to remaining work.

  • Time is entered as:    Hours in the Timesheet view

  • Task progress is entered as:    Remaining work in the Timesheet view

The “combined view” method (which your administrator might know as “single entry mode”) eliminates having to record things in two places, but you lose the ability to report percent complete in a more general sense (“I’m about 25% done with this task.”). So, there are pros and cons. Ultimately, as a team member, you’re just going with whatever your organization has chosen, but sometimes it’s helpful to know the behind-the-scenes details.

Ready to add your task progress?    

Add comments about your work

Another way to communicate task progress is by simply adding some comments when you send updates to your project manager. Sometimes you may need to explain why things are taking longer than planned (“I added 20 hours of remaining work because…”), or you might want to give a few more details about the work you did that week (“I spent 6 hours on that task on Tuesday doing…”)

To add comments, select the Comment on Submit check box on the ribbon before submitting your timesheet or task progress, and you'll be able to fill out a comment box before your changes are sent to your project manager.

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