Different from punch-in

Q:Why is punching in and out insufficient for managing white-collar workers?

A: For white-collar work such as architecting, accounting, auditing, consulting, design, engineering, IT, legal, research and software development, punching in and out merely reflects the fact that the worker is in the office 8 hours per day. The information is not sufficient enough to know whether the worker is doing what she originally set out to do.

Q: What are the fundamentals of work or task management?

A: The fundamentals of work or task management are: (i) estimation of time and effort, (ii) commitment of time and effort and (iii) reality-check of time and effort. The fundamentals must exist before any stick-and-carrot approach becomes effective. Otherwise, the manager and the employee might agree or commit to something that is vague or different in their minds.

Q: How Timesheet can help establish the work or task fundamentals systematically in your organization?

A:  Timesheet provides the systematic workflows for:

(i) Estimate and plan time and effort of work or tasks
(ii) Allocate (commit) resources according to the plan
(iii) Utilize and track resources (committed vs. actual reality checked)

Timesheet integrates the above 3 elements into the workflows of employee's work, no matter whether the employee is working on marketing, sales, project work, service or ad-hoc tasks.

Q: How can I be more convinced that Timesheet is helpful in enhancing the productivity of my organization?

A: All you need to do is try to document the commitment processes of your different departments. If you can’t find anyone that is rational and systematic yet, you will be convinced to implement Timesheet quickly.

Q: Is it a big challenge to implement Timesheet?

A: Employees like freedom and some of them might resist timesheets at first. However, even Nobel Prize winners fill in timesheets in Bell Labs. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to implement Timesheet in your organization if you are well prepared.

Q: How can Timesheet help employees manage their time and efforts better?

A:Many students would wait until the last minute to study if there are no interim tests before the final exam. Similarly, many employees would not manage their times and efforts evenly if there are no time-bound steps and reminder service before the final delivery. Timesheet provides the framework and automation to help employees manage their time and efforts better.

Q: How does a traditional timesheet system work?

A: A traditional timesheet system is a financial tool that records the employee time that would be charged to an account code. A traditional timesheet contains little or no context information about the activities that the employee is performing for a sales opportunity or project. Some companies using traditional timesheet systems even ask their employees to fill in at least 40 hours per week in their timesheet since they are supposed to get paid for 40 hours per week. Traditional timesheets reflect what the company is supposed to pay its employees from a payroll standpoint, but not what the employees are supposed to do from a day-to-day management standpoint. Traditional timesheets cannot help employees and managers to understand their plan vs. actual gaps incrementally to improve their effort-and-time management. Employees and managers only discover the gap when it is already very huge or the project is already failing.

Q: How does Timesheet solve the problems?

A: Timesheet is a time-and-effort commitment management tool that has embedded project management functionality. Timesheet contains full context information of the activities that the employee is conducting for a sales opportunity, a contractual delivery, an internal project and/or an ad-hoc assignment. If the employee worked on two different activities for the period, all the employee and the manager need to do is to verify the actual time-and-effort information is the same as the planned time-and-effort for each activity for the period. If they are not the same, then they will need to agree and update the information. By doing so, both the employee and manager will clearly see the gap. Teams need this type of incremental feedback to manage themselves better for the remaining period to get the total job done.

Q: Is Timesheet a timer?

A: If Timesheet is being used in a simple way, it is an automated timer for the time box approach. But Timesheet contains full context information of the activities that the employee is conducting for a sales opportunity, a contractual delivery, an internal project and/or an ad-hoc assignment and it can assist the employee and manager to better reallocate the remaining time and effort.

Q: Why an automated timer or reminder makes a big difference in productivity?

A: Workers are not born with self-discipline; it is a learned behavior. Blue-collar workers are regulated to work by their assembly line. White-collar workers need a timer or Timesheet to regulate them. Once you implement the right tool, you will find a huge productivity gain.

Q:Why should the timing or reminding service not be provided manually by a manager?

A: If you look at the real-life timesheet data only for 5 workers for 10 weeks, you would conclude that the timing or reminding is best done by a computer than a human being. Moreover, if the timing or reminding is not automated as part of the workflow, the manual work will be too large and also have a high chance of errors.

Q: Is the manager meeting with her employees still important using Timesheet?

A: Yes. Timesheet only provides the services of recording, tracking, reminding and revising time-and-effort data. The manager meeting with her employees to understand the problems and seek resolutions based on the data is still important. Doing knowledge work isn’t just a time-and-effort number game. The accurate and timely time-and-effort (commitment) data will help the manager and her employees to understand the problems and seek solutions much better. If you look at The Myth of 90% Complete project management problem that happened in our industry today, the high failure rate of projects is caused by the time-and-effort (commitment) data that is not accurate and timely.

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