Timesheets are often misunderstood. Why do we have to do them? Are they just useful for billing the client? Or worse, are they just a form of micromanagement?
While billing can be very important, especially in professional services, it is not the key benefit of timesheets.
And the objective should not be control and micromanagement of team members.
The objective should always be to have good and appropriate information for decision-making. Without such information, we are only doing the best we can to manage. And that is not good enough.
Timesheets also have another benefits. The more you see the reality of the project with timesheets, the more you “know” how much time it takes to complete an activity. And with this knowledge we become better at planning and management. Nothing is worse than a leader that is clueless on the actual time required for activities.
Timesheets give you knowledge, and that knowledge gives you a sound base for planning, managing and monitoring projects and operations. As someone gets used to see the reality, the facts, he will even develop a good intuition that let him plan intuitively activities and still be reasonably accurate.
Don’t look at timesheet as a boring duty for billing, or a useless form a control. View timesheets as a rich source of data and knowledge that will give you and your team an edge over competition.
See this interesting article from projectmanager.com
Why Timesheets Rock
I spent 16 minutes making and distributing cups of tea to the team today. How do I know? Because I had to fill it in on my timesheet.
Only kidding. Recording information at that level of detail would be counter-productive, and it’s the reason why lots of people don’t like using timesheets. Project managers can struggle to get team members to complete timesheets because they can feel intrusive. Team members can forget to fill them in during the day which means that at the end of the time period (typically a week or a month), they have forgotten what they did and just block out huge chunks of time to projects so the data is inaccurate.
Sometimes task codes or activities are not listed on the timesheet so your team members have to use something else to record their time against. There are lots of arguments for not using timesheets on your projects but they really are helpful and I would go as far as to say essential to help you best manage the project.
If you need to convince project team members and other stakeholders that timesheets really are worth the investment, here are three reasons why timesheets rock.
Michel Dion, PMP, CPA
Founder and Developer of Project-Aria
Discover my book:
Leadership Toolbox for Project Managers: Achieve Better Results in a Dynamic World