Re: Help me keep track of the time I spend writing, with meetings, and with Graphics.

Subject: Re: Help me keep track of the time I spend writing, with meetings, and with Graphics.
From: "Bill Swallow" <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: SB <sylvia -dot- braunstein -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 15:02:08 -0500

> The problem is the one of the chicken and the egg.

Before I dive in, there's one comment I need to make right here: The
chicken vs. egg thing isn't that big an issue; both fry up nicely in a
bit of hot oil.

> So, yes, we are severely understaffed and yes, there is a lot to do.
> In the end, I took quite a bit upon myself to get the things done. But then
> when I complain of the speed and the fact that I don't understand, he pulls
> the company policy story.

What's a company policy story? Please elaborate, because I feel like
I'm missing something here.

> It is true that it is a problem but he had a more
> than reasonable deadline to finish this document and again, he is not making
> it. I am not saying that a person has to function 100% all the time.

Typically, contracted help does. You're not paying them 100% for less
than 100% of work. At least, you shouldn't be. Would you pay full
price for a cake that's only partially baked?

> People
> have better days than others and sometime one's private life is adding to
> it. This person is somebody I could consider as a friend and yet, I do find
> myself frustrated and have been rejecting the idea of stopping to employ
> him.

OK, I'm putting on the brakes right here. There are personal
allowances, and then there's the bottom line. The worst situation you
can possibly put yourself in is to be afraid to demand reasonable
results and performance because of friendship. At that point, you are
allowing this person to knowingly or not walk all over you. Let it
perpetuate and before long you will have a situation where there is no
avoiding a total mess. I've had friends work for me before, and the
best policy is to let business be business and friendship be
friendship - never mix the two.

> I tried to talk to him many times and got frustrated at him many times
> too. I really think he is very smart but I don't think he is putting much
> effort in this. He has been freelancing and possibly not in companies who
> have a high workload as here and I am not sure how he got away with working
> like this. I mean, if he has personal problems, then I would be more than
> happy to take on most of the work but I don't know what is going on and why.

That's all well and good, but he was hired to perform a job and it's
not getting done. So what now?

> He has 9 kids (and a wife) that he is supporting and I feel really bad about
> doing something but I can't get him to work more efficiently and I have no
> idea how to resolve that.

This is going to sound totally mean and heartless but it's the
matter-of-fact truth. It is not your problem that he has 9 kids. That
was his choice in life, and it's up to him and no one else to manage
his contributions to his family. Given what you've said so far, it
sounds like he's not taking this very large responsibility very
seriously, and it's not up to you to carry his burden. The fact that
he has a life outside of work, to be honest, has nothing to do with
his performance on the job. Sure, allowances can be made like any
reasonable person would (sure, take a half day to run doctor
appointments on Tuesday, or to pick your sick kid up from school) but
to allow for steady low performance is doing no one a favor, it's just
feeding a problem bigger than getting your company's work done.

> However, this seems to be a chronic problem with him and it is not that he
> does not put in the hours. So what is actually happening there?

He puts in the hours or he logs the hours? When he puts in the hours,
is he working? I think that's where we started with this thread,
right?

> I have never checked the hours on his Excel sheet and if I had to, I would
> not know how I could because he works partially from home (so do I so that I
> don' t get constantly interrupted and can get work done). So, this is a big
> dilemma for me.

Start doing that now, and look at them retroactively, and compare them
to the project schedule, and ask for a % complete on every outstanding
task. Then do the math for him.

"OK, so you logged 40 hours on this task to date, and say you're 50%
done. The task was supposed to take 10 hours, per the schedule. That
means I can expect this to be done a week from now, provided it's all
you work on. Can you tell me what changed in the scope of this work
that increased it from taking 10 hours to taking 80? And why am I
finding out about it now in this manner?"

You may want to adjust the human factor a bit when delivering this,
because if you haven't been tracking his time sheets to date, part of
this is unfortunately your fault.

--
Bill Swallow
HATT List Owner
WWP-Users List Owner
Senior Member STC, TechValley Chapter
STC Single-Sourcing SIG Manager
http://techcommdood.blogspot.com
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: Help me keep track of the time I spend writing, with meetings, and with Graphics.: From: SB
RE: Help me keep track of the time I spend writing, with meetings, and with Graphics.: From: Combs, Richard
Re: Help me keep track of the time I spend writing, with meetings, and with Graphics.: From: SB
Re: Help me keep track of the time I spend writing, with meetings, and with Graphics.: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Help me keep track of the time I spend writing, with meetings, and with Graphics.: From: Bill Swallow
Re: Help me keep track of the time I spend writing, with meetings, and with Graphics.: From: SB

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