Given some of the statistics for project failures, one core business process that deserves attention is the time reporting process. We touched on this earlier in discussing ways to improve employee work habits, today we’ll dig a little deeper.
By improving the time reporting process, organizations can:
- Get a better read on the cost vs. value of their projects, in real-time.
- Better understand what their resources are really accomplishing, and if there is a better way to use them.
- Home in on off-schedule projects more quickly and take action, improving the chance of project success as well as mitigating costs.
Following are three things to focus on to improve the time reporting process.
Get Granular with Tasks
While having a single level of tasks within the project can simplify scheduling, it also limits your ability to track how time is really being spent within a project. A design task could actually be broken down into several sub-tasks, such as initial meeting, design draft, review, and final draft. Increasing the granularity of the schedule provides better project work metrics.
Encourage Regular, Incremental Reporting
More often than not, employees wait until the end of the week to fill in and submit their time sheets. This delay can lead to inaccurate charges as well as a loss of activity detail. Require that your employees fill out their timesheet in the course of the day – you can use time sheet compliance reports to track reporting totals in the course of the week, and drill down for details.
Require Detailed Work Descriptions
Even with sub-tasks, getting details on what exact work was done is important. While our Web timesheet system can enforce validation rules, such as requiring work descriptions, you should make it clear to project teams that a certain level of detail, beyond “Worked on X”. If an employee’s work descriptions are minimal or cryptic, talk to them about what is expected from them.
These steps provide an additional benefit beyond improving metrics, they can also help improve the overall performance of employees. By encouraging timely reporting of discrete, detailed work, you can better zero in on activities and individual behaviors or issues that need to be addressed. If an employee is spending too long on a task, check to see if they need support or training. If their activity descriptions don’t justify the time being charged, meet with them to review their time management skills.