RE: Time keeping

Subject: RE: Time keeping
From: "Higgins, Lisa" <LHiggins -at- carrieraccess -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 16:26:56 -0700

> It isn't meant to be "soul-sucking", but project managers and planners
> definitely need to know what work *acutally costs*.

I recognize this. I both manage and plan projects, and I keep track of what
time is being spent on what, at an information
gathering--meta-development--development type of granularity. The sort of
accounting brought up in the original post, and in my response, is a very
different thing.

> It probably has NOTHING to do with making sure you're really working, or
being big
> brotherish or whatever. I've never had a job where we didn't fill out time
sheets, and I never > expect to have a job where I don't insist that they be
done.

Me neither. However, my normal timesheet activity generally involves
something on the spectrum of "estimate percentages of time to charge to your
various projects" to "put a checkmark in the box if you were at work that
day." (The trick to these is copying and pasting the checkmark, so you don't
need to go back to that stupid character menu.)

That's not the kind of thing he's asking about. He's asking about pretty
meticulous timekeeping, broken down not just by project but by activity
within the project. (See the original message, which mentioned 'reading' and
'attending meetings'.) Early in my career, I worked at a company that
required this sort of project tracking. It took at least half an hour a day,
sometimes considerably more.

The supervisor at that company took his data very seriously. He'd read a
study with a neat little table somewhere in it showing statistical data
about something or another, and bingo!, we'd have a new rule. He briefly
prescribed the time and duration of our lunches, and if we hadn't put our
collective foot down, I'm sure he would've prescribed their contents.

I may be projecting, but I'm not talking about timekeeping for tracking or
billing reasons. Of course contractors need to account for their time more
carefully than captive employees, and of course you need to keep some sort
of track of who is doing what and how long it's taking. The sort of thing
I'm talking about is meticulous accounting for time that, in my experience,
wastes everyone's time and ultimately leads to broad, general pronouncements
that don't take into account different people's unique working styles.

Lisa.




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