If there is one word in project management that kicks up a range of emotions by different professionals, it has to be “Timesheets!”
Do you think I am exaggerating?
Before getting into an in-depth analysis, it may be better to make one point clear. While there are numerous reasons why timesheets are driven by a strong business need, it is non-negotiable for organizations that are into professional services, consulting or any customer projects that are tied to submission of timesheets. On a slightly different note, timesheets bring in a level of organizational discipline. Of course, there could be counter-arguments against timesheets – for work that is of creative by nature! We shall look at that dimension on another day.
For the moment, let us consider the use-case where timesheets are required.
Who would be keen to review timesheets?
No prizes for guessing – it is the project managers!
If you are a project manager, you would be keen to review and approve the timesheets before pushing it for customer invoicing.
Now, who would be eager for timesheets?
Of course, the finance department!
For these folks, timesheets is all about money, honey!
Who would like to avoid timesheets?
I say it is the customer – as it is time to pay!
Who are those that desist timesheets?
Isn’t it the project team members?
The team members are supposed to keep a log of their time, the deliverables, and the project(s) that they worked during the week and ensure accurate reporting.
So, why should they dislike this activity? There could be various reasons.
- Working on multiple projects makes it a painful process.
- Collaborate with multiple stakeholders to ensure that the numbers to be reported are agreed upon.
- Project managers either change or disapprove timesheets in an ad hoc manner!
- Organization does not have an excellent ‘Timesheet Management Software.’
Now, it starts to make sense and maybe empathize with the team members.
Despite enhanced project management maturity, organizations pay lip service when it comes to dealing with timesheet management software. In most cases, a spreadsheet serves the purpose while in others, a home-grown solution does the trick. But as the organization grows, this isolated view does not help. In fact, it opens the windows to mistrust and leading the frustration.
Should a standalone spreadsheet or a timesheet management software not work?
Yes, it does. But it does not make the process seamless. By seamless we include the following dimensions.
- The creation of project identifiers (project id)
- Define project timesheet templates based on the project characteristics and level of detailing needed.
- The set up of multi-layered Work Breakdown Structure identifiers (WBS id)
- Associate project team members with specific deliverables.
- Define a comprehensive timesheet workflow process for the following.
- Team Members – Reporting effort (standard hours, overtime hours, weekend hours)
- Team Members – Attach supporting documents
- Project Managers – Review submitted effort
- Project Managers – Return timesheets for modifications
- Project Managers – Override submitted effort
- Project Managers – Approve of timesheets
- Finance Managers – Review
- Customers – Collaborate for approval
- Finance Managers – Integrate with customer invoicing
Imagine a scenario where a reported effort along with supporting documents reach up to the stage of finance review and the customer raises a red flag! The entire cycle of modifications, re-review, and approval can be as chaotic as one could possibly visualize.
Who bears the most brunt in such a case?
You got it right – the team members!
It is now easy to comprehend why spreadsheets or standalone timesheet management software does not work in the long run. They are merely bandaged remedies without offering an end-to-end and holistic solution for project timesheet management.
Is there such a comprehensive timesheet management software that covers the entire spectrum from project initiation to closure and that integrates with other business functions?
TouchBase® PPM is designed with such a product vision.
Give TouchBase® a try to be pleasantly surprised!