When not Intergalactically Gladiating, I work in the IT department for a high tech company. Because I am in IT, we handle our workload with cases (incidents, trouble tickets, whatever you may call them) and we need to document everything. The money muckety mucks in the company use this – just like in every other company out there – to determine how much work we’re doing, and if we need another body, etc. etc.
I’m kind of split on this, on one hand I want to prove how much work I’m actually doing and by gum if I hand someone a screwdriver for 2 minutes, there’s going to be an Incident for it.
On the other hand, why do I have to *prove * to someone that I’m working? What’s up with that?
I know in other jobs, people have to do this as well. For instance, my mother-in-law is a school nurse and Chicago Public Schools is now on a system for her to log all contacts with students that she has. This is to show what she’s doing in the school and to cover her end if anything happens.
In sales, I suppose it’s easy to show your work: by how much product you move. Lawyers have their billable hours, and some people punch clocks and are “on,” but if you’re in marketing how do you prove that you’re working? I doubt you have to keep a log of all the meetings and communications that you’re invloved with.
So how do you mark that you’re working?
Sometimes it’s not to prove you’re working, it’s because your labor is getting charged to different units within a business.
I understand that, don’t get me wrong. I am just curious about some of these methods that people utilize.
I’m a CPA, so my time is what I bill to clients, making it very important to track. I use two systems.
One is a project management tool that updates where we are in each project and each step toward accomplishing that, even if it’s just a quick phone conversation. This record is as much for customer service and liability issues as anything else. If something is screwed up because the client gave us incorrect information, we want to know when and how we got that information.
I’d like to track time in my PM tool, but it’s missing some features we’d want. We use a separate logging tool for tracking the billable time and any reimbursable expenses.
Just as a comment about marketing/sales people tracking events… it can be a great customer service tool to be able to call a prospect and say “Hey, we last talked after lunch two Thursdays ago…” It’s hard to insert those personal details without a CRM system or something to help you track them. (It’s ironic, actually. The personal touch is often made possible by a very impersonal CRM.)
When I did Six Sigma we used the documentation to really establish what people are doing with their time.
For instance, I found in the H/R departments I’ve studied they WAY and I mean WAY over-estimate their time, especially when it comes to new hires and training. This comes in handy when you have conflicts like training programs in place but your employees failing things that should be covered.
If you’re in IT my strong opinion is they are looking to to see if you can be outsourced.
I have actually had jobs as a free lance where they will have people from other nations do pretty much everything and I’ll come in and finish it up.
In the old days I could bill six hours, now I’m getting 1 hour 'cause everything is being outsourced that possibly can.
Of course I got around this simply by changing rates to charge less if they hire me for more hours or more if they hire me for part of an hour.
I work in civil service. I mark my time by how much I post on internet message boards.
When I was in client services years ago (consulting firm), I recorded my time in 15-minute blocks of time which would be billed to the appropriate client.
When I moved to internal services (accounting firm), I recorded my time in .1-hour increments but it didn’t matter since it was all cost, and I was exempt from overtime. It just helped with staffing, etc.
Now I work in retail corporate management, and unbelievably, we don’t record our time at all. My performance is measured based on my output, and I could theoretically be posting to message boards six hours per day. ahem
Did you really measure this, or did you use self-reporting?
When I worked on a microprocessor design project, we filled out weekly on-line forms giving where we spent our effort. The reason for this was to allow the planners to track effort for task, and project when we were going to be finished. Spoiler alert: always well after the deadline and well before the real finish point. However, since time wasn’t being billed, the accuracy of the numbers was a bit open to question, thus my question to you.
At the moment I don’t track anything. No charge codes, no nothing. Bliss.
Hard deadlines every week - I work in an entertainment/ broadcast production environment. I have specific personal responsibility for a particular aspect of production/ a very defined role. So if I’m not doing the job it becomes very apparent, very quickly (in theory…thus far I’ve been doing my job!) The responsibility can be scary at times but at the same time the autonomy is nice and means my boss is fairly trusting and hands off.
I’m in IT as well. We use a pretty standard case management system; open tickets with issue descriptions, document resolutions and time spent, etc… Documenting one’s work is an expected job duty.
At least for my company, the system is not a reality check to make sure that the peons are working. That’s one of the job duties of our supervisors/managers, to make sure no one is slacking. As long as all the tickets get addressed and closed within SLA, nobody cares if you spent an hour playing Freecell yesterday afternoon. Rather, we use the reports to determine appropriate staffing levels and to analyze whether there are any trends to the overall workload that might indicate a systemic issue.
I’m a hardware/software engineer in the R&D department of a company that makes industrial control systems. I fill out a (computerized) time card every week, which has various charge numbers that I have to put into it. Each R&D project I work on has a charge number associated with it. Customer support calls that I have to deal with have charge numbers associated with them. There’s also a general charge number for fixing issues that can’t be charged to a customer (like the test department finds a bug).
I charge in hour increments. I don’t nitpick and I don’t charge for every minute of my time. For example, I happen to be a lead engineer (the progression in our company is junior engineer, senior engineer, then lead engineer - lead engineers typically have jr and sr engineers working for them), so if another engineer comes into my office and asks how something works and I spend fifteen minutes explaining it, I don’t bother to charge that time anywhere. It just gets absorbed into whatever project I’m working on at the time. I have a junior engineer that works for me and a lot of jr and sr engineers come to me for advice, so I do end up with a lot of time that doesn’t get properly charged, but as a lead engineer it is expected that some of my time will be devoted to explaining things to the less experienced engineers so it’s not really a problem.
The charge numbers are very important for the bean counters. When they decide to do an R&D project, the budget a certain amount of time for it, and they want to make sure they don’t go over their budget. Time that gets billed to customers and time spent fixing customer problems is also closely tracked.
I’m in IS/GIS for county government. Programmer/Systems Analyst. Every two weeks I estimate how much time I spent on -
New development, Special projects.
Existing software support and maint. (Custom software we write).
Systems Integration. (new servers, software [yeah, it’s a dumb code and I shouldn’t be doing it but we are a small shop])
I have about 20 other things that I can ‘charge’ to. But the above is the lions share.
I am a systems analyst and generally refuse to fill out anything more than the most general time sheets unless it is absolutely necessary but that has only come up a few times in the decade. At my last company, I just logged everything under the “General” category once every month or so for a total of 30 seconds of work. I don’t think professionals should have to do that unless they are billing clients directly and both my managers and some of my coworkers agreed.
Man, I feel for the people here. I don’t have to document my time at all. I work at a customer site and send a monthly report to my boss. How do you guys account for the times where you spend an hour bullshitting with someone, or the Friday afternoons you just don’t feel like doing anything?