Timesheet & Project Management Blog

The goal of this blog is to provide tips and ideas for improving time tracking and project managment for our customers and other interested people.

Interview: Project Portfolios

 

Mike: Mike with Standard Time® back with Ray White of Scoutwest the developers of Standard Time. Ray, welcome back. You know all things Standard Time and I just found this out you know all the answers of the universe, which is awesome that I’m sitting this close to you. I have a question about Standard Time, maybe we can talk about the universe later. Right now I really want to know about project portfolios. A lot of companies have millions of projects. Is there a way to group these down to make this a little bit easier to handle?

Ray: Yes. In Standard Time we have project portfolios; essentially all they are is just groups of projects. And you take a project, put it into a portfolio, take another project different portfolio. You build out these portfolios they’re really collections of projects. You might have consulting projects, in house projects maybe sales, marketing, different divisions in the company, any reason you want to divide up these projects. Now you have them in these collections.

Now I have these collection of projects in one place. What do I do with them?

You can report on them, so you can run a report on an entire portfolio of projects. You can look at comparisons between portfolios like revenue, project revenue. How much revenue am I going to get for the entire portfolio as opposed to single projects. So these are dealing in larger more abstract collections. You can do project recourse allocation, employee availability-search by things like skill, or employee time they have available for a project. There are lots of different things you can do with those portfolios.

This comes with the full 30 trial version of Standard Time, correct?

It does, yes. You can go out to stdtime.com, download it, set up those portfolios and try it day one.

Stdtime.com you heard it right here. Project Portfolios it’s going to make your life a whole lot easier. We’ll see you next time.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4y5OfFck4E

Interview: Customer Login and App

 

Mike: Mike with Standard Time® back with Ray White of Scoutwest. Welcome back, Ray.

Ray: Hey, Mike.

You know I’m a consultant and I have clients who are always wanting the status of their project. Is there a way I can show them the status of their projects before I invoice them?

Yes, absolutely. That’s called client login. You can use the web edition of Standard Time, publish that out on the Internet and give that URL to your customer and a special login and password. They’ll be able to go out to the web address, see all of their projects that you are working on and when they click on one of those they will then be able to see all of the time and expenses right up to the minute. You may have dozens of consultants working on the same project for different clients, you give logins for each of these clients. But each one that logs in will see all of the time right up to the minute. They will be able to approve or reject those time entries, those expense entries that you have out there. But yes, they’ll be able to login and see it right there.

Let’s say that my client isn’t in front of their computer at the time. Is there a way that they can still see that progress?

They should try the ProjectBot app. We have an app that runs on a smartphone and it’s essentially the same thing. It pulls down data from the cloud. You give them the URL, plug that into the app, they’ll also have their special login and password, put that into the app. The app will then pulls down all of this information from the cloud. It will be right on their smartphones. They’ll see all of their projects, they’ll see all the time and expenses right there on their phone. Right up to the minute as you’re working on the projects.

That’s awesome. How can we download Standard Time and ProjectBot?

You can go out to our website, start there. Stdtime.com and you’ll get the Windows and Web editions. You’ll have to publish that web edition out on the Internet and set up that special login that I said, client login and password. The ProjectBot can be obtained by going out to the app store. That’s free, download it, put on their phone, get connected to the cloud. They’ll see everything right off.

Stdtime.com download your free trial version today. Let us know what you think. Client accountability, it’s a good thing.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRG1yubazs

Interview: DCAA Compliance

 

Mike: Mike with Standard Time® back with Ray White of Scoutwest, how you doing Ray?

Ray: Not bad.

You know I’m a consultant and I’m a little bit worried about the Defense Contract Audit Agency. Is Standard Time DCAA compliant?

It is. If you’re doing government contracts and you need to meet DCAA compliance rules for those contracts you will need a timesheet that does that. That usually involves having a unique login. So each employee has to have their own unique login; they go in with that login that ties all of their work to their name. They have to put in notes for any changes that they make, they have to put in their time for every day. So you can’t skip ahead a week, two weeks to put time in. You can’t put time in for last month. You have to have your time approved by a manager or rejected. And then fixed and notes apply to any changes you may have made. All of these things meet those defense contractor audit agency rules. We have a list of them on our website. You can configure Standard Time pretty easily, just a few clicks and you’ve got everything set up the way you need it so that you would comply with DCAA.

So really it takes the worry out of…

Yeah it does.

How can we get ahold of this?

Best place go out to stdtime.com, our website. You’ll get the windows and web additions, you’ll be able to configure those for DCAA compliance. There’s also the smartphone additions out there but you’ll primarily be working with the desktop and web. And those can easily be configured for DCAA.

If you’re worried about the Defense Contract Audit Agency, don’t anymore because Standard Time takes the worry out of it. Go to our website today stdtime.com, download your free trial version and let us know what you think.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTZEp7FiILs

Interview: Microsoft Project Integration

 

Mike: Mike with Standard Time back with Ray White of Scoutwest today we’re talking Microsoft Project. How you doing Ray?

Ray: Not bad.

Now Microsoft Project is a robust, huge program. Can Standard Time make my life a little bit easier in Microsoft Project?

Absolutely, project managers know this. Microsoft Project is very robust, very detailed, there’s a lot of functionality there. You can create huge projects, thousand tasks, two thousand, ten thousand tasks. But the problem is those projects, as project managers sometimes know, can become just dead project schedules without the actual work that comes in from a timesheet. So that’s where Standard Time really helps out. You can bring in those Microsoft Project files into Standard Time. A huge project schedule that might be assigned to 50 different resources will be crunched down to just what’s relevant to you. You go in, look at your timesheet, you only see the tasks that are assigned to you, as the resource. Another person would see different tasks. Everyone’s timesheet is relevant to what they are doing. They put their time in, Standard Time sends that time back out to Microsoft Project, you see the actual hours in the task usage screen. So that turns an otherwise dead project into an active, living thing.

That’s awesome. What if I don’t have Microsoft Project?

That’s optional. I should have said that right off the bat. Standard Time does not require Microsoft Project, it is optional. Standard Time has its own internal, native projects. The same sort of hierarchies, breakdowns, sub-projects, summary tasks that Microsoft Project has. But it’s not as robust and in no way attempts to compete with Microsoft Project. But that interface between Standard Time and Project is optional.

How can people try this out?

They can try it out on day one. The can go out to our website stdtime.com, download it, bring in their Microsoft Project files right off the bat. They’ll see all those tasks right in the timesheet. Whatever resources are assigned to those tasks, they’ll see them immediately on day one.

You heard it from Ray. stdtime.com. if you have any comments or suggestions let us know when you go there to download your free 30 day trial version.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9FGzbuDGic

 

 

 

 

Interview: Customize Client Invoices

 

Mike: Mike with Standard Time back with Ray White of Scoutwest. Thanks for coming back Ray.

Ray: Hey, Mike.

Now you know I’m a consultant but I would really like to brand my invoices to my image. Is that possible and how easy is that to do in Standard Time?

Absolutely. Starting with your logo. You can open up these templates that we have in Standard Time, go in with a word processor, put your logo in, your corporate style image, colors, fonts, everything, the arrangement of the invoice. Save that as an RTF document and then Standard Time will fill in the invoice with the information. It uses tags to do that, you’ll have special tags inside the file that are just text that tell Standard Time that this is the place to put things like time, expenses, you’ll have the totals at the end, you’ll have other things like the projects that you’re working on, client, dates, all the things that naturally go into invoices. Like the PO, all of that goes into the invoice anywhere you want it to be along with your corporate style.

That’s great. Now you mentioned templates. I can have more than one template?

That’s right. You can have multiple templates, you can use those for different situations, different clients. Any reason you might want different ways to print things out; more detail, less detail all of this is available on those templates.

Standard Time comes with a free 30-day trial. Obviously that comes with it?

It does, yes. You can go in day one create those templates, set them up any way you’d like. Put your logo in, your corporate style and then bill your client right there.

Stdtime.com. Go get your free trial version today, check it out. Make your invoices, your in voice heaven now, trust me. Let me know what you think!

Watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwISP6p8MeE

Interview: Blocks of Support Time

 

Mike: Mike with Standard Time® back with Ray White of Scoutwest. As consultants we all know that we sell blocks of time to clients. Ray, how easy is that to do in Standard Time?

Ray:  It turns out its pretty easy. You simply set up what we call a project task. Those tasks have a set duration in hours and those hours represent the amount of time that you’re selling to the client. What you’re essentially doing is selling a contract which represents a number of hours that you plan to perform services for the client. These contracts end up being beneficial both to the consultant and to the client. The consultant gets guaranteed revenue for a certain number of hours. The client gets services; they can call you next week, next month, every day. When those hours are burned through that contract is finished and you start another one. What you do is set up a project task. Those tasks have the hours that you’ve agreed to and as the consultants are logging time to that task then eventually that task will complete. Then you can go back and sell more hours to the client. You may have dozens of these in a consulting firm, lots of consultants working on different tasks and so you need to know how much time is agreed upon; what the purchase order is and all that for each one of these blocks of time.

In a previous video we talked about task warnings, I’m assuming this would work perfectly with what we are talking about.

Yes, actually I’m glad you brought that up. Task warnings are a way of Standard Time to alert you when you’ve reached or nearing the completion of a task. Let’s say you’ve agreed to a certain number of hours, 50-100 hours. You can set the percent in which this warning comes up, let’s say I set it at 75% and I’ve logged a certain number of hours and up pops a warning that says you’re near completion of this task. That’s the time you go out and sell the next block of time. Get the purchase order for the next one get it ready, you may have some time left on this one but you want to get the next one ready to go. Yes, task warnings are a perfect way to line those blocks of time up.

How can people try Standard Time out?

They can go out to our website stdtime.com. You’ll be able to download all the additions there windows, web, the smartphone additions. And all those will allow you to track time toward these blocks of time. You’ll know exactly how much time you’ve burned on each one of these contracts.

Stdtime.com go download your free version today. Let us know what you think!

Watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPkLIV93vPo 

QuickBooks Timesheet Integration

 

Hello, business owners… and… users of QuickBooks!

If you’re running your company on QuickBooks, you should also consider Standard Time®.

Here’s why:

The Standard Time employee timesheet feeds time and expenses right into QuickBooks.

You get a nice timekeeping app with error checking and management approvals, plus an interface to ‘QB’.

  1. You’ll see all your customers and jobs
  2. And all your tasks or service items
  3. On a weekly timesheet, with pay periods

All timesheet hours go directly to the QuickBooks employee timesheets, where they can be used for payroll or client billing.

‘ST’ and ‘QB’ were made for each other.  They will soon become your two favorite tools.

You can run your entire company on them.

Click to try QuickBooks and Standard Time together.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb4AOAijnP0

 

QB Integration QB Integration QB Integration QB Integration

 

Manufacturing Barcode Scanning

 

Mike: Mike back with Standard Time® and Ray White of Scoutwest. We’re talking Standard Time and we’re talking about barcodes today, which I’m so excited about. Who would use something like the barcodes in Standard Time?

Ray: Typically for manufacturing, sometimes for consulting. But often in a manufacturing or assembly type environment. Where you have products that are going through a process. In that type of scenario you might put a barcode on a work order or on the product itself. Let’s say it’s going down through an assembly line or a process where employees are working on it to build or improve. You then can scan the employee name, then scan the barcode that’s on that work order or scan a project or a task. Standard Time will then start a timer. So you’ll know how long that product took to assemble, to create, you’ll also know how long the employees are working on certain projects, on certain products during the assembly process. You also have consultants who use this feature; it just pops up a little window you’re then able to scan to start and stop the timer.

Now this all works perfectly with the cloud in syncing if you’re in the field, correct?

That’s correct. You can use the android and iOS additions for this as well. So if you happen to be in the field you could scan your project. Let’s say you’re in the service business and you scan a project that you’re on and then stop that project for lunch. And then start back up again. That will send all that back up to the cloud and that will all be in that shared database for executives and managers to see.

This comes as part of the free trial version?

That’s correct.

So how can people go out and try this.

They can try it right out from our website stdtime.com. You can download that and just start and stop the timer right away. You’ll have to print out some barcodes, you can get a font that does that. Then scan those barcodes and start and stop the timer.

Barcodes on Standard Time. The possibilities are endless, I’m telling you. Go out and download your free trial version today. Stdtime.com and we’ll catch you next time.

See also: Start and timer with an RFID tag readerStart a timer with a mag card reader

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8Yx-3P6BU8

 

Earned Value Explained

 

In this video we going to take a quick look at earned value. Earned value is actually a project management term that refers to the amount of money you’ve earned on a project as it proceeds; as you work on the project and put time towards it.

I’m going to click over on the project tasks tab; you see six tabs along the top here. The first one is project tasks and it allows you to create a project hierarchy with project tasks under summary tasks, very much like Microsoft Project. I’m going to get into a little of the project management stuff here but not too deeply. Here you see a project, I’m going to refer to this R0012 – R4 upgrade project. You can see we have a column for cost client and cost client actual. The cost client actual, to cut right to the point, is the earned value. This value is based upon the percent complete for each of the tasks under the project. We see a hierarchy of the project if I click on one of these + symbols then you’ll see that it expands and you see the other tasks underneath it. So I can collapse and expand these summary tasks to see the actual tasks but the point I want to get to is that you have a cost client and a cost client actual. The cost client is based on the projected duration of the task and the billing rates. And the cost client actual is based on actual time that has been entered into the timesheet which causes the percent complete on these tasks to increase. If I was to open up one of these, you can first of all see that these tasks are assigned to different users, but you’ll also see a percent complete value here. There’s an estimated duration, an estimated number of hours remaining and the actual work that has been completed on here is directly related to your earned value. So in other words you have earned money on this particular task as you’ve put time into the timesheet and that time then ends up being billed to the client or participating in the final completion of the project.

Let’s cancel out of here. We see these two columns here duration and actual work. If you go to the view menu and choose columns, turns out that you can add some other columns here related to costs, client rate, salary rate, things like that. Quite a few number of fields that are project management related. I had put the cost client and the cost client actual fields in this view.

Where do these numbers come from, these dollars figures? Well, those come from a client rate that you can type in. If I go to tools, projects, I see a list of my projects, click on this particular project that we’re looking at. We have a billing method, you can choose either user rates, which is the default, or category rates, or project rates. It depends on the model you’re using for billing your project. Salary method has a different calculation. Close out of this, go to the tools menu choose billing rates, you can either choose employee billing rates or category billing rates. Those are the methods you are using to type in your billing rates that effectively set these values here that you see. So this particular project is a $747,000 project, we’ve earned on it so far $672,000. That’s essentially the idea behind earned value in Standard Time®.

Interview: Utilization Rates

 

Mike: Mike back with Standard Time with Ray White of Scoutwest. How you doing Ray?

Ray: Pretty good Mike.

We are talking utilization rates today. Ray, how I can I tell how much money I’m making per scheduled work hour?

That’s a typical question consulting firms want to know. They have a sea of consultants, they’re out there billing hours, at the client sites, onsite or in the office. They want to make sure those consultants are billing as many billable hours as they can. Cause if they are doing in house work, maybe there isn’t enough client work to do, maybe they’re working on in house projects, pet projects, secondary projects, administrative things; they’re not billing hours, the revenues not coming in. They want to see where their revenue dollars are coming from and you can get a report in Standard Time to show you exactly that.

So this really makes it easier because that’s a lot of juggling going on to see where the money’s coming from; this makes their life a lot easier.

Right, you’ve got employees working on different projects, you have billing rates varying per project. So one person may be billing out at a real high rate but they are only working a few hours. Another person may be at a lower rate but they are working 50-60 hours a week, bringing in more revenue just based on the number of billable hours. Juggling the number of billable hours per employee, the billing rates, the clients they are working for, the value and priority of those projects; all of that gets juggled. Standard Time handles all of that and allows you to see that in a report.

That’s awesome. Now this is part of the full 30 day trial version.

Yes it is.

Where can we get that?

You can get it at stdtime.com and start in right away. Download it and you can start using it right off. You can put in your employees, put in those clients, those rates, the projects you’re working on. And run that report and you will immediately see where those revenue dollars are coming from.

So go to stdtime.com right now, download your free version. Let us know what you think! You get the android, the iOS, the windows and the cloud version free for 30 days.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DBo-KdD864

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