3 Reasons and 3 Tips for Creative Agency Time Tracking

You always hear management complain about employees not doing their timesheets on time, or not doing their timesheets at all. Why should you do your timesheets? Why not just work without doing timesheets (it is much easier after all).

There are actually multiple reasons for you to want to do your timesheets.

  1. The business you are working for (I make an assumption here) makes money by selling your time. Your time is the most valuable asset that you provide to the company you are working for.
  2. Without being able to charge money for your time, you will not get paid, and in turn, you will not be able to afford the next iPhone / Present / Car / House or even food that you want.
  3. If you do not do timesheets, there is no way for you to improve your processes and your estimate of time that a project would take. By doing timesheets, you can look for similar projects from the past and better estimate the next project.

Tips on Getting Employees To Do Timesheets

  1. The most important thing is for the CEO and/or upper management of the organization to do timesheets and to believe in the importance of tracking time. If that is not the case, the battle is already lost. Once the CEO and management start doing their timesheets on a consistent basis, the rest will follow. Function Point, for example, is a company where the owner of the company believes in timesheets and understands their importance. At Function Point we have been doing timesheets since day one (February 17th, 1997).
  2. There has to be an easy mechanism to do timesheets. If it is not easy and readily available, people will not do them. With a tool like Function Point, for example, you can do your timesheets for the whole day in less than 5 minutes.
  3. There has to be a way for management to easily audit timesheets by date / employee / project / company etc. That allows the management team to “remind” employees about missing timesheets.

What Constitutes a Good Timesheet?

This is my personal opinion, so please don’t crucify me over this. At the very least a timesheet has to have duration and a description. Start times and end times are optional (although very useful at times – like the time when I needed an alibi … but that’s a completely different story).

Having a vague description such as “fixed bugs” does not help anyone; if that’s what you write, you might as well not write any description. A better example would be “Fixed bug numbers 2234, 3345 and 5643” having the description of those bugs in the description may be considered going overboard by some. The important thing is that if someone would like to take the time to further investigate this particular timesheet, they could (by looking at the bug tracking system, or at the tasking system).

Last Words of Wisdom

Have you noticed that time is the only thing that NO ONE can make? There is a finite amount of time available in the universe at any given point. Time is one of those things that we just have to decide what to do with, and even when we do not do anything with it, it is still consumed. So always try to do something productive with the time that you’ve been given, and take the time to record what you just did.

This blog was written by former Function Point employee, Alon Sabi

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