How to Introduce Timesheet Software

project managers keep good time

The great thing about companies is that they evolve over time. Someone has a fantastic idea and just by sheer willpower, grit and determination they build it and then go out and sell their product or service to their first customer. Their first customer loves what they have bought and they tell someone else, who in turn tells someone else…and the rest is history. In no time at all a successful enterprise is up and running.

This results in more employees being hired. People come on board and small teams begin to form around the entrepreneur who came up with the great idea. These teams grow into departments, functional managers begin to emerge to run each department, and it becomes apparent that there is a need for project managers. Project Managers come on board to run the projects across the various teams and these project managers begin looking for some type of metrics to use as a baseline to provide estimates and complete their schedules.

The only problem is…there are no benchmarks. There are no metrics. There is really no idea of how long anything takes to complete. Up to this point nobody has ever filled out a timesheet. There’s been no need. The company was small and everyone was giving 110%. Everybody pitched in and did whatever it took to get the work done.

Now that the company is reaching its next stage of growth, it’s time to get a handle on the situation. Timesheet software is put in place and met with great resistance, disdain, and distrust from everyone who has worked so hard for so long. Comments such as “They don’t trust us”, “I’m not having every minute tracked of what I do” and “I’ll go find another place to work where my time isn’t tracked” begin to be muttered in the hallways.

What to do? First, consider some of the benefits that a timesheet solution brings to an organization if it’s implemented correctly.

Provides a Baseline for Future Projects

timesheets give project managers a reference for the next job Companies that sell projects on either Fixed Fee or Time and Material basis need to have a solid baseline from which to estimate future projects. Nothing ever goes as smoothly as planned and the unexpected will always raise its ugly head on any project.

Getting this dose of reality by understanding how long a project really takes allows for the Sales team to set expectations and start selling more profitable work.

Uncovers Areas that can be Optimized

project managers find areas to improve and improve themYou may have a high-end (translated High Dollar) engineer, developer, or other resource working on a low-end task. This is not a smart use of that person’s time and can skew what a project should cost to complete. You want to charge what is fair and reasonable; however, by having to cover a high-end resources cost you may find that you price yourself out of the market. Using a timesheet can help uncover these areas for process improvement and proper resource allocation.

Minimizes Those who are Underutilized or Underperform

Those who are great performers, do their job well, and contribute to the enterprise will not mind using a timesheet.They understand the business reasons and the benefits to them and the company. Unfortunately, there will be some who do not want their time to be monitored and it may be for good reason. It will become apparent that they may be underperforming or underutilized. In either instance, efforts should be taken to correct the situation and get them back on the right track. If, however, they can’t find it within themselves to improve the situation they may need to find other opportunities outside of the organization.

Understanding the benefits of implementing a time tracking software solution within an organization is the easy part. The trick comes to obtaining buy-in from those who will now be entering their time.  While it is never easy to implement these types of changes in any organization, the following principles will allow this transition to go a bit smoother.

1. Build it With Them

There are a lot of decisions to make when it comes to finding the right time sheet solution. Rather than go off and make the decision on your own and tell everyone what you decided, get with the users of the system and see what their needs are. Get their input into what activity should be tracked, how it should be tracked, how often it should be tracked and how granular the activity needs to be. Is the timesheet something that can be built in-house or is there something that already exists that meets everyone’s needs? This inclusive approach is sure to move people away from the dark side, and at the very least, get them toward neutral ground.

2. Help them See the Benefits of the System

People who are responsible for delivering a project see the world very differently from the person who sells the project. Sales is out to make the deal and has a whatever it takes attitude. This many times leaves the people who are responsible for delivering the project aghast at what was promised. However, they have no facts, no metrics, and nothing more than some faint memories of late nights and cold pizza from the last project that made it out door. Help them understand they can stop this madness by implementing a time sheet solution and introducing a dose of reality to those who are responsible for bringing work in the door.

3. Don’t Make it Onerous

When management realizes they can start getting a glimpse into what everyone is working on, they can get a little crazy. They want all the bells and whistles. They want 7 levels of hierarchical activity captured in 15 minute increments with 200+ character descriptions with painstaking detail. They want people to clock in and clock out of a web timesheet. STOP THEM!  Especially if you work in a professional environment such as web development, design, advertising, accounting or any other field with…uh, professionals.  This is insulting, counterproductive and it can end up taking more time to enter Time than it does to do the work. Make it easy and fast to capture their time.

4. Find an Advocate

Align yourself with someone on the team who can say “Come on Guys…it’s really not that bad.” Sometimes that’s all it takes to turn the tide toward an easier adoption. Companies evolve over time. Your business needs will change as well when it comes to the timesheet solution you implement to manage your projects. Follow the principles above when it comes to tracking time and you will quickly realize transformational benefits.

Looking to try a time sheet solution for a 30 Day Free Trial? Visit ProjectManager.com and see how our simple time tracking software can meet the needs of both you and your team!

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