- Going over doesn’t get you fired. A project may go over budget for several reasons. Perhaps we figured it low to get our foot in the door in the first place. Maybe we assigned it to a less experienced team and it took them longer. It is possible for a new client or a new project type to simply eat up more time than we expected. No project is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Providing a quality project takes time. Team members and project managers shouldn’t live in fear of getting fired, catching heat, or looking incompetent because a project went over budget. We all have our reputation to protect, but a few hours isn’t going to make or break it.
- Track improvement if you’re going to track time. A firm interested in improving performance understands the reasons why things might have gone off track but it also needs to know “how much.” Getting a little more efficient or developing skills so that tasks are performed quicker are accomplishments worth noting and nothing will prove that more than the numbers. Analysis can also shed light on the firm’s most unprofitable types of projects or clients— good information to know when making strategic decisions about which projects to pursue. The only way to really know the best use of your firm’s time is through true time reporting.
- Numbers talk when we don’t. Even in this economy, people are working at or above capacity. When you record your time honestly— billable and unbillable— leadership can see when you are fully utilized and make the call to add support staff or managers. None of us ever want to say we can’t handle it all, and instead we silently continue to work in near burn-out mode.
- Reliance on the unreliable. It’s common practice to use past projects to estimate new fee proposals. Many firms do so without looking at the numbers of what it really costs. Assuming they didn’t hear anything during staff meetings or through the water cooler gossip about the project operating at a loss, using the same figures seems like a safe bet. However, the firm is simply repeating an unfortunate process.
PM Perspectives: Words on the use of Timesheets
May 27, 2011
About Zweig Group
Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.