[thelist] Filling up timesheets - good or bad?

Warden, Matt mwarden at odyssey-design.com
Thu Jan 11 13:04:37 CST 2001

> > From: "Warden, Matt" <mwarden at odyssey-design.com>
> >
> > My employer used to require this. It's not a good idea, IMO. Or, maybe
> > they way they wanted every second to be accounted for. Unfortunately:
> >
> > 1. Co-workers ask for help
> then you log that time... it's important for managers to know who is
> doing informal training, about what topics, and for how long... that
> way they can institute proper training, or allocate more time for you
> to train people, or whatever...

Maybe it was just a problem with the time-tracking application we had, but you
couldn't do this, and they refused to create a "project" called "Helping
Coworkers" or whatever.

> > 2. You get grabbed into meetings that have nothing to do with a project
> > working on, but they need your expertise
> then you enter that time to that project... no biggie... let them worry
> about whether or not it's in their budget, they shouldn't have asked
> you if they couldn't take the hour hit... and they'll be smarter in the
> future and either budget it or not ask you...

Couldn't do this. You could only log hours to projects you were assigned to.
I'm beginning to think that it isn't the fault of timesheets themselves, but
just the way they were implimented.

> > 3. You take breaks every so often to keep yourself from going nuts
> yeah?  so what?  if you're taking more than the hour you're allowed,

for lunch? i'm not talking about lunch.

> or it cuts into your other 8 hours, then enter it... bosses will see
> that you are either stressed or grumpy...

enter it as what?

> > 4. Managers are dumb, you spend time filling them in
> properly documented time jives with the project plan, so there's no
> reason to fill anyone in...

tell that to the boss when he comes around asking what you're working on or
how you are planning to attack a certain problem...

> let the reports do that for you... don't have
> a project meeting until the boss-man has read the reports...

Ummmm... what? Maybe you're used to small companies, but I had at least three
or four "bosses"... and a few others who like to act like they were my boss.
Only one of them was concerned with time. The others were concerned with the
projects themselves and how we were going to do things.

> > And there are a few other items that really don't fit anywhere. This went
> > at my company because they hired a bunch of moron developers and there
> > about 3 of us veterans who spend 50-75% of our day (literally) helping
> > (one lady was a "Java Developer", and she couldn't even understand
> > JavaScript --- at all! --- I had to explain what an if... then... else
> > conditional was.).
> training... see above (response to your point #1)... i would want to
> know, as a manager, that the Java person is getting an hour of your
> help a day or that you're time is being taken from projects for this...
> that would allow me to re-examine your or her duties, and take
> steps to fix it...

Yes. The bossman was notified... quite a number of times. He called her
"green" and said she just needed to "get acclimated with the environment".
Since there was no where to log this time, that bossman just told me to forget
about it... and that was the beginning of the crumbling of that hours system.

> > You say: Well, why not just record things as you do it?
> >
> > I reply: When I code, I get into "the zone". It takes 15-30 minutes to get
> > into a state of total concentration where you tune out everything else.
> > me, how will anyone get into the zone if they are using X% of their brain
> > power keeping track of hours here and there? That's not how I work at all.
> > I was an employer, I'd want my employees working the best they can work
> > best WAY they can work.
> i only work on stuff in blocks... i do my best to keep one project in
> the forefront of my brain, even though i have 10 on my plate... so,
> for instance, this afternoon is dedicated to the french project, so i
> know i've allocated 4 hours... if i use it all, i enter it all... if i work
> past 6, then i know i've put more into it, and by how much...

You're lucky. This never happens to me. I try to work on one thing at a time,
but shit seems to revolve around the bossmen/bosswomen/bosspeople's schedules.
I'm working on Project A and they schedule a meeting for project B, stop me to
talk about Project C, ask a question about Project D that was finished last
week, etc., etc., etc.


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