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User-defined fields (UDFs) allow you to add custom attributes to clients, engagements, projects, resources, time cards, and cost cards that are specific to your business. These attributes can be pulled into Projector's reports for analytical reporting. One example is a flag indicating whether a resource is willing to travel. Your schedulers can then use this information to determine if they will be booked to a travel project.

In addition to reporting, UDFs can be pulled onto invoices and displayed in Projector dashboards.

Time cards and cost cards only support a maximum of two UDFs.

This form is reached by choosing View | Administration | Setup heading | User-Defined Fields.

Permissions and Settings

To make changes here requires the global permission System Settings set to Update

UDF permissions can get a little complicated because they are multi-layered. Big picture, on this form, an administrator can add, edit, or remove UDFs from the system. Other users can then apply those UDFs to various entities, like projects or time cards, and assign values to them.


Who Can Set Values

Once you have created a UDF, certain users are given permission to set their values. The table below explains who can set values for each type of UDF.

UDF EntityPermissions Required
ClientAnyone with the global permission Clients set to Update
EngagementThe engagement manager or anyone with the cost center permission Maintain Projects and Engagements
Project

The engagement manager, project manager, and anyone who can Act as PM as long as the current stage allows it. You will need the stage permission Edit Project Info.

Anyone with the cost center permission Maintain Projects and Engagements

Role

The engagement manager, project manager, and anyone who can Act as PM as long as the current stage allows it. You will need the stage permission Create Roles.

Anyone with the cost center permission Maintain Projects and Engagements.

Task

The engagement manager, project manager, and anyone who can Act as PM as long as the current stage allows it. You will need the stage permission Edit Project Info.

Anyone with the cost center permission Maintain Projects and Engagements

IssueAnyone who can edit an issue
ResourceAnyone with the cost center permission Maintain Resources
Time CardsAnyone who can enter time. This feature is unsupported by legacy time entry and mobile time entry.
Cost CardsAnyone who can enter costs. This feature is unsupported by legacy expense entry and mobile expense entry.

Limit Access Via Global and Cost Center Permissions

You can optionally restrict users from setting UDF values by assigning a global or cost center permission. When these restrictions are applied, all users from the previous section lose their default value setting permissions for the UDF. Only users with the appropriate global or cost center permission will be able to edit the UDF. 

Set your global permissions from the Global Permissions.

Set your cost center permissions from Cost Center Permissions

Use this table for restrictions on UDF types and global/cost center restrictions.

UDF TypeGlobal and Cost Center Restrictions
ClientCost center restrictions are not available for Client UDFs. Reason being, client's don't have cost centers.
EngagementRestrictions are based on the engagement cost center
ProjectRestrictions are based on the project cost center
RoleRestrictions are based on the resource's cost center
TaskRestrictions are based on the project cost center
IssueRestrictions are based on the project cost center
ResourceRestrictions are based on the resource's current cost center.
Time CardsNot applicable
Cost CardsNot applicable


Limit Access Via Enterprise Configuration

You can turn UDF availability on/off based on engagement type if you have enterprise configuration enabled. 


UDF Entities

A UDF entity is what you attach the UDF to. There are six supported types in Projector, each is listed in the table below.

EntityDescription
ClientClients are organizations you do business with
EngagementEngagements represent contracts in Projector
ProjectProjects represent work you do on an engagement
RoleRoles represent a person who works on a project
TaskTasks are part of a detailed task management plan
IssueIssues are part of project workspaces
ResourceResources are employees who enter time, expense, or are scheduled to work
Time Cardstime card is created every time an employee submits time to a project. Only two time card UDFs are allowed per installation.
Cost Cards

cost card is created every time an employee submits expenses to a project, you enter a vendor invoice, or you enter a soft cost. Only two cost card UDFs are allowed per installation.

These UDFs are turned on/off for each expense type. For example, you might have an "Airline Carrier" UDF that is only enabled for travel expenses. Visit the expense type editor to enable these UDFs for individual types.

UDF Data Types

When you define a UDF you must specify its data type. The data type determines what kind of information can be entered by the user, for instance a number versus a date.

Date

The user is presented with a calendar control. By using the calendar you ensure that dates are always stored in the system in a consistent format.

Numeric

Both positive and negative whole numbers are allowed. No decimals. For example, -1, 0, 1, 2. Values must be between -2,147,483,649 and 2,147,483,647  (Int32.Min and Int32.Max).

Resource

The user is shown a list of resources to choose from. Only active resources are shown. 

To clear a resource UDF use the special dropdown arrow. In the screenshot below the arrow is at the end of the "Best Friend" cell.

Text

Any text can be entered in the field. Maximum number of characters is 4000. When enabled, the multiline checkbox becomes available. Ticking the multiline checkbox will allow you to enter text with carriage returns in it.

Text List

This creates a dropdown list. The user can pick exactly one choice.

Options for the list are added or removed by clicking on the ellipsis (...) button. This displays the Valid UDF Values form. The table below describes the actions you take when modifying the list.

ActionDescription
NewClick New in the last row. Adds a new option to the list.
Inactive

Tick the Inactive checkbox. An inactive item is removed from the list of available options. Any existing entities with this UDF value will continue to have them. If you edit one of these existing entities and change the value, you will not be able to change it back to the inactive one. The choice may be made active again at any time by unticking the checkbox.

When running reports, inactive UDF values are still returned.

ReorderSelect a row and then use the up/down arrows on the right side of the form to change the order of choices.
Delete

This operates very similarly to Inactive. Deleting an item removes it from the list of available options. Any existing entities with this UDF value will continue to have them. If you edit one of these existing entities and change the value, you will not be able to change it back to the deleted one.

When running reports, deleted UDF values are still returned.


Yes/No

The user is given the binary option Yes or No. This field cannot be left blank and defaults to No.

Stoplight

Stoplight UDFs are very powerful. They allow you to specify three, color coded icons and to assign one of those icons to a date range. The most common use is to flag project health. As a project progresses from on budget to under budget to over budget you can create a visual timeline of this performance. With Projector's dashboards you can then quickly see which projects are trending downwards and which ones are trending upwards. There are many other ways you can leverage stoplight UDFs, so don't limit your thinking to just budgeting. Anything that is qualitative vs. quantitative in nature is a good candidate. For example, you might track resource performance. A new resource might start with low marks, but then scale up to high marks. A flat number does not reflect this, whereas a visual bar chart does.

In the screenshot below you can see how I have tracked project health on a weekly basis. Both the icons and the colors provide indicators on how it is performing.

Unlike the other UDF types, stoplights warrant some extra special attention. Whereas the other UDFs are static values, stoplights change over time. As such, where possible Projector shows you performance trends over time rather than just the current value. You will have the option to show the last 12 months, 6 months, 12 weeks, 6 weeks, or status as of today. Because of limits within Excel itself, you won't be able to bring color coded icons into Excel, but you can still see the icons. In other areas of Projector like dashboards you will see both the icons and their colors.

Stoplights and Reports

Excel reports generated by Projector do not include colors. Dashboards in Projector Web and Management Portal will show colors.


See the In Practice section at the bottom of this page for more real world examples of leveraging stoplight UDFs.

Manage UDFs

This section details actions you can take with UDF entities.

Add UDF

Pick the entity you want to add a UDF to, for example client, engagement, or resource.

  • Edit button
  • In the popup, click the New button to create a new row
  • Fill in the row (see Filling out the Grid section below).

If you do not see the New option then you are trying to add a time or cost UDF. These types only allow two rows. 


Edit UDF

You cannot change the type of a UDF once it is created. You can only change the flags and valid values.


Filling out the Grid

The UDF editor displays a grid. You can make changes to everything except the Type column. The table below describes each column in the grid.

ColumnDescription
NameWhen your users are viewing UDFs in reports or doing data entry for them, this is the text they are presented with
TypeSee UDF Data Types above.
Decimal PlacesLeave at 0 to only allow entry of integers. Otherwise, enter the amount of precision you wish to allow.
MultilineDisplays a checkbox for UDFs of type Text. When enabled, you'll be presented with a text field that allows entry of carriage returns. Otherwise, you are limited to a single line.
RequiredChecking the Required box makes it mandatory to fill out the UDF field before creating a new entity (engagement, project, etc). If you are making a previously optional UDF required, then existing entities are NOT required to specify the UDF value. Essentially, if the UDF field is blank, you can leave it blank.
InactiveHides the UDF from the user interface. It may be made active again at any time by unticking the Inactive box.
Valid ValuesSee the Text List subsection of the Data Types area on this page.


Reorder UDF

You define the order that UDFs are shown to your users. You may want to put all the required UDFs at the top of the list or alphabetically sort them. To change the order, highlight a row and then use the up/down arrows.


Delete UDF

When you delete a UDF all of the existing data is purged from Projector. You cannot undo this operation. Please use caution when removing UDFs.


In Practice

Below are a few screenshots of UDFs being displayed in Projector. I've chosen to show stoplight UDFs which are visual in nature, but text based values are also readily available.

Project Browser

In this screenshot I've configured my project browser to show twelve weeks of performance.

Project Dashboard

In this screenshot I've configured my project dashboard to show engagement health over the last twelve weeks. If your dashboard is set to engagement view, then you can view engagement stoplights. If project view, then project stoplights.

Resourcing Dashboard

Here I've configured my resourcing dashboard to bring in the latest twelve months of resource performance.

Reports

Stoplight UDFs are available in some Projector reports, typically on the Row fields tab of each report. You can also filter on UDF values from the filters tab.

You will have the option to show the last 12 months, 6 months, 12 weeks, 6 weeks, or status as of today.

Invoices

UDFs (except stoplight) can be included in your invoices. See the Invoice Templates help page to learn how. If you are still using our legacy invoice templates then you are only allowed access to ClientEngagement and Project UDF's in certain fields only.



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