staff working hour statistics, MS Access any good?

  TomJerry 10:32 21 Jul 2004

I got a task to find out staff working hour statistics for a small company working on a large number of projects at any point of time. Each project involves multiple tasks and multiple staff member, each staff involes in multiple projects at anytime.

Is MS Access any good for this task? If it is good, is there any place I can get a Templete database to start with. I never used MS Access so far.

If it is not good, what is the best program to get? I do not like server based solution.

Any suggestion will be greatly appeciated.

  TomJerry 11:51 21 Jul 2004


  TomJerry 17:57 21 Jul 2004


  Diemmess 18:21 21 Jul 2004

It took me (in retirement and losing gray cells) about 6 months to learn a useful amount about Access. It is a skill soon forgotten though my personal finances are still worth using my efforts for tax and other reasons..... Access has as part of it two sample databases and all that goes with them, a matter of seeing how they did it, adapting to your needs and doing likewise!

Last year I was involved in our village appraisal and produced an Access program which allowed rapid entry for data from the questionnaire which had been circulated. Accumulating all the data was one thing, publishing it from a tree dimensional array was quite another. Fortunately a real whiz-id was able to use my data in Excel and was able to produce tables for any item that was needed.

So, if you want nice print-outs and impressive reports with related tables, Access is great. I feel that it is capable of lots more clever stuff than I can manage.

To me, Excel is understood by more people (though not me!) and can always be poshed up in Word for presentation purposes.

See what others say

  pj123 20:05 21 Jul 2004

I think you should be looking for a specially written "Time and Motion Study" programme.

I have written a "Timesheet" in Excel but I don't know whether it will do exactly what you want but you are welcome to a copy of it to try. email me via the envelope if you want it.

  Chris the Ancient 20:09 21 Jul 2004

Sorry, only just caught the thread.

Yes, Access would do it, but it is rather a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. And if your Access skills are limited, and so is time, you are entering on a fairly rocky road!

If I was doing such a task, I would go for Excel every time - it 'enjoys' statistics much, much better than Access.

If you look in the Help pages in Excel for information on Pivot Tables, you can see that there is the heaven-sent answer. Designing similar queries in Access... Well, I'd rather not think about it!

Try Excel first! It will be faster to set up and will process the info a darned site quicker as well.


  Belatucadrus 20:23 21 Jul 2004
  THE TERMINATOR 20:57 21 Jul 2004

I would go for Excel too it is much more simple to program....TT

  Taran 21:20 21 Jul 2004

While I'd agree that Excel could be a better solution in many cases, this may or may not be one of them and the information provided is nowhere near enugh to make that kind of decision.

There are some pretty obvious governing factors:

1. do you know Excel better than Access ?

2. what will the information be output to ?

3. how will it be input ?

4. who will it be input by ?

5. will the project monitoring be done from one cenral point or will nominated department heads/team leaders or whatever be inputting for their team ?

6. will it be a networked, collaborative system or a standalone system for one user ?

The list goes on.

What I will say is that aside from some of the obvious considerations outlined above, Microsoft Project offers a ready to use solution straight out of the box. It is an out and out Project management tool and can be implemented for anything quite minor up to absolutely huge projects. I use it often to manage the larger applications and organisations I deal with, it can run on a single input station or on a server for collaboration and it is largely Excel based.

I guess the point I am slowly meandering towards is that rather than write a project management/tracking system using either Excel or Access you could be using MS Project to monitor all apsects, stages, parties involved, costs, timeframes and so on from conception through to delivery. MS Project interacts with Access and Excel beatifully to allow data import, export and even direct linking into live databases to draw information from.

It is a superb project management tool, dedicated to the task and, I suspsect, could prove far more useful and usable than trying to reinvent the wheel yourself.

It all boils down to needs, ability to use or learn the necessary skills and a whole lot of other things.

MS Project links for you:

click here

click here

I realise that Project is an effective organising tool rather than an out and out timesheet system, but it is far easier to get to grips with than Access and, in some cases, Excel too. I'd suggest that in the long term you could possibly come up with something workable using pretty much any data manipulating tool. Creating something that offers a reasonable return on your investment, in terms of time spent creating or learning to create the system could prove crucial in making some key decisions early on.

Access, Excel or MS project, along with many other applications I can think of, could all be used to produce the goods. Getting from where you are now to something useful as a goal state depends very much on exactly what you want the system to do and how much sweat you want to put into it.

Just a thought.

  Chris the Ancient 21:24 21 Jul 2004

Good thoughts!

  Taran 22:17 21 Jul 2004

I suppose I should have added that if the requirements are really for nothing more than a glorified payroll system where hours worked equals payment due then MS Project may not be a suitable choice.

I just wanted to make you aware of the possibilities it can offer to a lot of varying projects for management and monitoring purposes.

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