Tag Archives: Timesheet Best Practices

Best Practices

Whether you are new to TimeControl or have used it for years, getting the fiscal year underway is a good time to review your timesheet practices to look for improvements.  bestpractices_300x168.jpgThe TimeControl website has numerous resources for this.

Organizational Best TimeControl Practices

When we think of best practices for timesheet use from the administrator or organization perspective, we think of processes, how to improve efficiency of the organization overall.  The TimeControl website includes a section in the Best Practices area called Timesheet Best Practices for Organizations. At: http://www.timecontrol.com/resources/best-practices/organizations

Personal Best TimeControl Practices

Timesheets are an application which may be used by every employee in the organization.  If we can save each person only a few minutes each week, the combined savings can be enormous.  The TimeControl website has a section called Timesheet Best Practices for Individuals at www.timecontrol.com/resources/best-practices/individuals which includes presentations and materials which show how each user can shave time off their timesheet entry effort.

Additional Use Case Scenarios

It is very common for us at HMS to receive calls asking how to use TimeControl for a particular use-case scenario.  This is often because TimeControl was originally implemented to solve a particular set of business challenges and now that it is a stable part of the organization’s culture, we don’t pause to think of what else it might be able to accomplish for us.  Take a look at the TimeControl Use Case Scenarios at www.timecontrol.com/use-cases to see the most common business challenges TimeControl solves and see if any of these can be applied in your own organizations.

Missing Features

You might not keep track of all the functionality that TimeControl offers.  Once you have deployed the functionality you originally designed into your timesheet process, it is quite common to ignore any new functionality which may have been added in the meantime.  So, take a moment and peek at the TimeControl Features overview at www.timecontrol.com/features which shows the most popular aspects of the TimeControl system.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

We use the TimeControl blog itself to archive answers to the most frequently asked technical questions.  You can go to the search function of the blog and enter “FAQ” or just click on this link at:  blog.timecontrol.com/?s=FAQ.

For more about TimeControl Best Practices, go to: www.timecontrol.com/resources/best-practices.

FAQ: Saving time in TimeControl with Best Practices

Let’s be honest: We don’t know anyone who wakes up early on Friday morning and excitedly shouts, “Yay! It’s Timesheet Day!”. bestpractices.jpg

Most of us do our timesheets because we have to and because the result of doing our few minutes of work entering data pays back bigger dividends to both ourselves and to the organization we’re doing the timesheet.  Here at HMS, our technical staff are asked often about the best practices for timesheet use.

HMS maintains a portal of materials that will help you get the most out of timesheeting with TimeControl.

The resource center is divided so you can focus on practices for the whole organization or individual best practies.  The Timesheet Best Practices Portal has tips, techniques and materials that are identified as being more useful from the organizational or individual perspective.

One of the more popular areas is the Timesheet Best Practices Q & A page.  Ever wondered just how much time is too much to spend on entering your timesheet?  Do you question just how much detail is productive in a timesheet?  Or, perhaps you’re wondering if it makes sense to track the start and stop times of the day along with the durations for each task? You’ll find answers to these and other questions in the portal.

There are many materials in the Best Practices Solution Portal including white papers on how to increase resource capacity through better timesheet practices, guidance for executives on how a timesheet system can benefit the organization, webcasts of how to be effective with your timesheet system and even a blank timesheet process template for creating your own timesheet process.

Access to the Timesheet Best Practices Solution Portal is free.  Some materials may require registering and logging into the timecontrol.com website which is also free.

To access the Timesheet Best Practices website, visit www.timecontrol.com/resources/best-practices.

 

Just tell us about your week

saving_time_300x200.jpgThere is a feature that you won’t find in TimeControl though it has been asked for more times than any other enhancement request.  The specification usually looks something like this:

“We want TimeControl to automatically populate a timesheet with all the hours that an employee should have done so that they can just click ‘Ok’ if the timesheet is correct and save time.”

“Sorry, we won’t do that,” we reply.

It’s not that we’re being difficult.  In fact client and prospective client feedback is a key source of enhancements in TimeControl.  And it’s not that it would be technically difficult to deliver this feature.  The projected hours could have come from the project plan, for example and populating each cell on a line for that task isn’t a major programming challenge.

No, the difficulty is what would happen if we delivered such a feature.  As desirable as it seems to be for end users, we are certain that the result would be bad data.

Imagine that I ask an employee, “What did you spend your time on this week?”

Instead of answering with hours and tasks, they respond to my question with a question, “What do *you* think I should have spent my time on this week?”

I’d be instantly concerned that if I give my expectations that the feedback I’d receive would be tainted by the employee’s desire to please.

Or, imagine this scenario.  You come to the end of your week and your timesheet happily pops up your expected hours.  “Uh oh,” you think to yourself.  “I can see that I was supposed to spend 35 hours on task #27.  But I didn’t spend a minute on task #27.  I spent 35 hours instead on task #25.”  The pressure you’d feel to put at least *some* hours of your timesheet on task #27 would be enormous.

In the over two decades we’ve been selling TimeControl, we’ve seen these scenarios play out in countless organizations.  It’s not that employees want to lie.  They just don’t want to disappoint their managers.

Here at HMS when we get this request we now know to ask what the client wants this feature for and then we ask what they expect will happen to the quality of data if we were to deliver the feature.  The request always fades away.  As it should.  After all, life happens to projects.  The chance that something changed between the plans for the week on Monday morning when the week started and Friday when the timesheet was filled out will be the exception, not the rule.

Instead of prompting people with what they should have done, we want TimeControl to ask something very simple: “What did you actually do?”  TimeControl can preload tasks from a project system’s schedule or from personal preferences to save time in looking up those tasks but TimeControl won’t prompt with the hours per day that were expected.  The result is high quality timesheet data and in the end, that’s what will make managers happiest.

For those who are interested in how to save a minute here or a minute there on configuring and entering their timesheet, the TimeControl website has a section on Best Practices for timesheets at www.timecontrol.com/resources/best-practices.