Should You Implement Time Reporting
for Internal Projects?
Every company that has a consulting or professional services organization is familiar
with time reporting. It only makes sense that if you provide services to customers on a time and materials basis, you need to accurately allocate your time to them. Some
organizations also require time reporting for their internal staff in both the operating units and on projects. It makes sense for some of the exact same reasons it does for external customers.
- It allows your company to determine exactly where your money is being spent, and allows you to determine if this allocation is appropriate. For instance, you may find that too many of your dollars are being spent supporting operations and not enough is being spent on projects. Or you may find that too many hours are allocated to internal departments (Finance, Human Resources, etc.) and not enough is being spent on the revenue-generating business units.
- Time reporting allows you to gather more factual information on the specific types of work people are doing. For instance, you may find your accounting staff is spending too many hours on end-of-month closeout, which would motivate you to streamline the process.
- IT staff can tell how their hours are allocated to business units. The business units will no longer have only a fuzzy perception of the labor being utilized on their behalf.
- You can track time on projects. Project managers estimate costs and duration based on an understanding of how many hours are needed on the project and how many resources are available to work the hours. Time reporting allows you to compare your estimated hours against the actual hours so that your estimates can be more accurate in the future.
Expect Cultural Resistance
The biggest drawback is a cultural one, but it should not be ignored. Generally, people hate to have to track their time. They will tell you it is such a burden - even though it takes maybe 5-10 minutes per week. Implementing time reporting must be recognized as a culture change initiative.