Re: Time keeping

Subject: Re: Time keeping
From: Win Day <winday -at- home -dot- com>
To: Bob Morrisette <writer1 -at- sabu -dot- EBay -dot- Sun -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 07:26:52 -0500

At 11:05 AM 2/15/00 -0800, Bob Morrisette wrote:
>Starting today the writers in my group are required to
>fill out a web-based form showing how much time they spend
>on each document during the day.
>The form lists all documents assigned to you and time for
>meetings, reading, etc. They don't list time in the bathroom.
>I'm wondering if others have to furnish this type of information
>and if you think it is appropriate.
>This is not a Sun thing but a requirement of our director, an
>acknowledged "metrics queen."

You mean you DON'T already do this? <grin>

Seriously, you should be doing it as a matter of course. As a newbie
freelancer (many moons ago) the hardest part of a contract for me was
accurately estimating how much time the various tasks take for the
different kind of documents I was bidding on. I started keeping VERY
rigorous records. Not only did I record how much time per document or per
client, I recorded how much time per TASK.

When I worked as an engineer (even more moons ago) we recorded time per
task. Our time sheets had a spot for a 12-digit code, I think. The first
6 digits were the project number, the next 4 corresponded to task groups
standard for all projects, and the last 2 or so could be customized for
very large, very detailed projects with many tasks and many worker bees.

These numbers were collected weekly, and (here's the important part)
tracked. Collecting this type of information over a series of projects
allows management to bid more accurately on the next project.

Many of us worked on several projects for several clients at the same time.
How could we know what to bill the various clients if we didn't track the

Maybe staff writers who generally work on one project at a time or only
work on internal documentation are not used to this kind of time
accounting. But it's absolutely necessary in the world of contracting,
whatever your field of endeavor.


Win Day
Technical Writer

mailto:winday -at- wordsplus -dot- net

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