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: Time Tracking App

 

Mike: Hey everyone, Mike with Standard Time® thanks for joining me. You’ve probably seen me on the Internet with some videos telling you how excellent Standard Time is. Today I’ve brought in the expert, Ray with Scoutwest, he’s going to give us a little more information about how awesome Standard Time is. How ya’ doin’ Ray?

Ray: Pretty good Mike.

When people think of clocking into a job they think of going to a computer and actually logging into a system. Now Standard Time has changed that in the industry. Why don’t you tell us a little more about that.

Probably because of the smartphone. You’re right traditionally people have sat down at their computers, they will log into an application, timesheet, sometimes they’ll try to use spreadsheets, web applications. But more and more people are using smartphones for the same thing. Standard Time runs on Android, iOS – you can simply go tap, tap, tap, put in your time and that’s all you really have to do.

How does that information get from a smartphone to corporate offices?

This will synchronize with the cloud or with the desktop. It starts with bringing down your projects all your clients, your projects, your tasks. They all go down to the phone. Now you have those you can then log time or expenses against those projects. And then this will synchronize back to the cloud the information goes straight up. You are then able to access the information immediately.

So you’re saying when people actually log in their expenses it sends that back so that they can get a check back for any expenses that may have accrued.

Yes, or the company can see the expenses that have been logged for their consultants out in the field. But you can use this right in your own office. You don’t have to be in the field, if you happen to pull out your phone, you want to log some time, instead of sitting down at the computer you can do that.

That’s awesome. Before the cameras started rolling we were actually talking that clients can actually check the progress of their projects. Tell me about that. That’s pretty interesting.

There’s another addition of Standard Time called Project Bot. This addition you would give to your client. So typically consultants would give this to their clients, clients then can use their own special login ID, it will pull down all of their projects, it will pull down all the time and expenses that you’ve logged as consultants out in the field against their project. Pull down onto their phone, look at it and see exactly what’s been done.

That’s amazing. Why don’t you tell everyone how they can actually download this app.

Probably should go out to our website which is stdtime.com. When you go to the download link you will see all four additions. You’ll see the web, there is the windows addition, you’ll see the iOS addition and then you’ll see the Android. So all 4 icons are right there.

So you heard it here today. Go to the website and download it your free version.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYucC7tCluM

Interview: Project Revenue Chart

 

Mike: Hi Mike with Standard Time® we’re back with Ray of Standard Time thanks for coming back Ray, I have a question for ya’. It’s a dousey. Can Standard Time tell me the revenue that I can expect from a project?

Ray: The answer is yes. Standard Time is more than just a timesheet. It’s a project management app as well. Project managers, PMO offices they’re able to look out into the future, see the revenue that they expect from their projects. They’re able to set the revenue expectations, the estimates, they’re also able to set the likeliness they’ll going to win a project. Some 100% we know we’re going to get that project, others not so much.

How about those not so likely ones?

Standard Time mixes those together so you see a typical sales funnel out into the future you see a bar chart that shows your revenue. When the revenue dips that’s the time to engage the sales team.

How about revenue for entire portfolios?

So that’s just segmenting your projects. You have portfolios of projects that might represent different industry segments, different kinds of projects you’re working on, different teams, different divisions. You put those in portfolios so you have projects here, projects there. They’re buckets, this is typical project portfolio management. You’re able to select a portfolio and see the revenue you expect for that portfolio and then compare it to another portfolio.

I know people are watching this and asking how do I get this and where do I find it? Why don’t you go ahead and tell them that.

They should go out to the website they’ll be able to download the windows addition or web addition. They can try this, put their projects in, set up portfolios if you want to they are optional. Set up the revenue expectations, the likeliness of each project to win and see that bar chart. If they go out to stdtime.com they can download right there.

Thanks so much Ray for joining us. Stdtime.com, hit that download link.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54DIazBy-Qc

 

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Interview: Timesheet Tasks

 

Mike: Hello everyone Mike with Standard Time® back with Ray White with Scoutwest, he is the expert on the Standard Time app. Absolutely amazing app for consulting companies, for any company really.

Ray: Manufacturing.

Manufacturing. I had mentioned to you HVAC people; a lot of people who are out in the field, this would be perfect for them.

Yes, engineering.

One question I have about the timesheet. Can other people see my timesheet?

The answer is no. Your timesheet is private. Your manager, the executives they’ll be able to see your timesheet. Another thing you won’t be able to see is other people’s projects, you’ll only be able to see the projects you’re assigned to and the tasks you’re assigned to.

Tell me a little bit about favorites in Standard Time.

Nice feature. What favorites does is reduces the list. Let’s say you have a list of 15-20 tasks, projects. The list is long, you got to scroll through, you may have 50. That’s a lot to scroll through. A favorites feature lets you choose the ones you’re working on now. Let’s say you’re working on 1 or 2 projects now, you can go in click favorites, choose those now you timesheet only shows those few projects. You’re able to go in, put your time in, get out and that’s what it’s for.

That’s awesome. In the free trial of Standard Time can I use favorites?

You can, yes. You can put as many projects in as you like, you can assign those to people, each one of those people can use the favorites feature.

You can get your free trial today at stdtime.com. They have the Windows version, the Web version, the Android version and the iOS version which is amazing Ray. I love this program download your free version today. Join us next time, see you soon.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX1i2QtpQws

Unique Timesheet Features

 

In this video we’re going to point out the unique features of Standard Time®. You’re going to see that Standard Time has a lot of features and they are laid out to be as user friendly as possible. As we go through these you may realize that these are available in competitive products but it’s unlikely you’ll find all of the features in the products you look at. One thing to know is this video is not intended to go into real detail just to point out in a bullet fashion some of these features.

First thing you’ll notice is the 6 tabs along the top-the fact that Standard Time has all these features is unique; you won’t find this in all the other products you look at. For instance having project tasks and the ability to lay out a hierarchy of tasks and have project management features in there. We saw the timesheet, that’s a simple layout where you can open up project tasks, put your time in simply enter your time press tab and you’re done. Many other timesheets make you choose a lot of dropdowns to make your final choice; this is a lot simpler.

The time log tab where you’re seeing a list of the records that you’ve put into the timesheet. Expenses where you have a list of all you’re expenses. Billing where you could write invoices for billable time to clients. You’ll see multiple currencies here, if you happen to be doing business in multiple locals.

There is a time off section which we’ll go into a little bit later where you can enter time off for vacation, PTO, sick, other time off. That in of itself is unique.

The next thing you’ll find is that we have both Windows and I just opened up the Web version. We have a Web interface as well as a Windows interface; and it has the same 6 tabs along the top.  I’ll minimize this and go back to the Windows app.

We talked about the simple timesheet layout. We also have a graphical timesheet. If you choose this you see a graphical timesheet where you see all your time laid out in a graphical format. This menu also points out we have an expense sheet right on the timesheet. Go back to the timesheet. Another thing we can look at is quick tasks; go to the view menu, as you look through the menu itself you may see some other features I won’t necessarily get to but might interest you. I’m going to choose quick tasks and this window allows you to simply click once to start and stop a task. That’s unique, you can click, click, click throughout the day, complete your task and it will automatically fill in the timesheet.

There are future billing rates, that’s unique. Go to the billing rates choose employee billing rates, if I click on the date range you’ll notice this if for future years; Standard Time allows you to put in your billing rates for future years so that your project tasks will calculate and that you’ll have the rates there.

We have a project revenue. This allows you to see the revenue for the months coming up for the next year. If I go to the view menu choose project resource allocation; this particular chart has the availability bar chart chosen. Which allows you to see availability of employees out into the coming months.

Switch over to the time off, I’m hitting these fast and furious. If we go here and choose time off policies you can see Standard Time keeps track of the available hours you have, how many hours earn, when you earn them and so on and so forth. 

Task Percentage Warnings

 

We’ve got a little solution here that can prevent employees from putting too much time into tasks. You’re looking at the Standard Time® timesheet; we have the six tabs along the top, we’re looking at the Timesheet.

Normally companies will like to prevent employees from putting in too much time because they know a client wants to fix a task in a certain number of hours. They also may know they have to move a project along at a certain speed so they want to prevent task lingering. That’s what we’re going to talk about. Again we’re looking at the timesheet, we see a series of project tasks here. I’m going to open up one of these to show you, right click on Edit Task to show you the ability to set a task warning and a task error. This particular task is at 89% so it’s about to roll over into the 90% warning. This is a number you can put in yourself, you simply type in the percentage or choose from the dropdown. You can also choose a task error that actually stops the employee from putting any more time in. This does not have to be set at 100%, you can set it at 150, 200 whatever you’d like to set it to.

I’m going to cancel out of this; you can right click on any one of these and choose edit task it’s going to be in the task status section.

The next thing I’m going to do is log in as a different user, I’ll log in as Buzz. When I do that we’ll see the effect that has on an ordinary employee who might be putting more time in. We were talking about these two tasks here.

When I type 8 hours into this task, press the tab key to go over to the next cell, I get a pop up that says warning limit is 90%, new percentage is 91%. So if we add those 8 hours we’re going to go to 91%. Buzz is allowed to proceed if he wants to click this Proceed button. I’ll cancel out of this so we don’t actually put the time in. But he was able to proceed because that was just a warning. He can proceed through that top 10% until it hits 100%.

On this particular task we are about exceed the 100% limit which is the error limit that we had set, again you can set that to any number you want I set it to 100%. If we add the new 8 hours we will go over the 100% to 101, the Proceed button in the case is grayed out. That means Buzz can’t proceed at all, so that locks him out. He’s going to scream about that but that’s the number you set, you can get by it with an administrator override. But it does prevent him from going any further. So that is a way for you to measure and control the time that’s put in the timesheet.

One last thing let’s log back in as Ray. We’ll go to Tools, Projects and click on that project we see we can actually set these at the project level. We set them at the project level they can control all the tasks underneath unless those tasks override the settings here. 

Time Off Accrual Tips

 

Let’s take a look at Time off Accruals. Let’s say your company gives you, or your employees, 40 hours off each year. Standard Time® is able to automatically accrue that time on a periotic basis. Whether it’s on a monthly basis, yearly or weekly, Standard Time can add those hours to your Paid Time Off (PTO) bank. Let’s take a look at where that occurs. I’m going to click on this Time Off tab; you see the 6 tabs along the top. This last one deals with time off and that generally deals with the PTO or other reasons you may be taking time off. You see a series of records that are for employees that have taken time off or who have submitted time off records. What I’m going to do is right click on this so I can edit the Time Off Policies. In this right click menu you also see the Time Off Reasons that you can have, the policies, there are blackout periods, meetings affect the time off because people want to know what meetings they will miss, holidays are also skipped. If I choose Time Off Policies this dialog box opens you see on the left hand side a list of reasons. These are the policies for each employee, in fact it’s for each employee and each reason or possible reason that they would be taking time off. You also see a drop down at the top, as you look through this you see people listed here. In this case I have Buzz, I can see all the possible reasons for Buzz to take time off. I can see the available hours, the number of hours he earns in a period. For instance vacation 12 hours each month, you could choose bi-weekly, monthly, yearly, compensatory and so on. There’s different ways to choose the earned period. You also can reset this if you like. That implements a use it or lose it policy. In this case if Buzz doesn’t use his vacation it’s going to be reset every year. But in this case he can carry over some hours. So that’s a use it or lose it policy; normally this it set to Never so that you don’t reset every year but some companies do implement a use it or lose it on certain reasons. You can see in some cases we reset in some cases we don’t, we can carry over. We also have a date of hire so we know when Buzz was hired. The Accrue day is when we earn on a monthly basis we know which day of the month to accrue. You can also set a Do not Exceed limit which prevents people from hording time. So if they’ve reached 900 hours of vacation you can prevent them from exceeding that so that they don’t go off and loot the company when they leave with so many hours you would have to pay for those. You also have an Overdraft column that allows the employee to pull hours from their bank even if they don’t have enough. In this case Buzz has 59 hours but let’s say he wants to take one giant vacation for 100 hours. If he had some Overdraft hours here or allowed to overdraft a certain amount you would allow that. If it’s set to zero then that’s not allowed for that particular reason. There’s a button down below that is the Time Off Reasons button. When you click that you will see all the time off reasons in the system. You can add and remove these to fit your company needs. When you do that you’ll see the time off reasons listed here. When you close and go back to the timesheet and open up this little Time Off area you’ll see the reasons there as well.

That gives you an overview on how Standard Time handles the automatic time-off accruals.

Project Rollups and Task Totals

 

Project management isn’t always easy.  But Standard Time® has at least one automatic feature to change that.

It’s called Project Rollups.

Have you seen it?  It’s in the Project Task window.

When you create project tasks, they show up in the Project Task window.  And there’s one really neat thing that happens when you do.

Rollups.

Most of the task columns ‘total up’ to the project level.  Take a look at the Duration and Actual Work columns.  The hours are summarized on the project row.  Those are called roll-ups.

Most of the other task columns do it too!

Even the Gantt column.

So when you create tasks, you get a dashboard view of all your projects.

Does that make your project management easier? Why not try it out?

Click to download, and you’ll be an instant project management professional!

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

Overtime and Regular Time

 

Some people have asked how Standard Time® handles overtime records. This video is going to explain that.

In this timesheet, first of all you can see the weekly total at 45 3/4, the daily totals show those daily totals for the week Monday-Friday. In this particular example we can see that this record is overtime, this one, this and this. What I’m going to do is mark those as overtime and you’re going to see a change down here at the bottom of the timesheet. I’m going to click in this and click in Notes and Detail, the pay type for this says regular, I’ll click in this cell and choose overtime 1.5. We have the option of choosing 2x I’m going to choose 1.5. When we do that we get a new line down here that shows the overtime for that particular segment. Let’s go over to this segment here, choose Notes and Detail, and again choose overtime. We can see now that this is changed to 3.25 hours. Let’s go back to this one, change it to overtime; then the last one, we’ll change that to overtime. We now see we have a weekly total of 45 ¾ hours, 5 ¾ of those are overtime. That’s a way of seeing that in the timesheet.

There’s another area I’d like to introduce you to and that is the Time Log. You see the six tabs along the top; the Time Log also displays timesheet entries, they are sort of close relatives. When I click on the Time Log I see a whole list of records, too many records for me to look through so I’m going to click on This week and now I see the records for this week for my timesheet. I’m going to the View menu and choose Columns, let’s get rid of the User column because I don’t really care who the user and client is in this particular case. I’m going to put in Pay type, click add, Move Up. I now have this column displayed, I click OK. Pay type column now shows me which ones are overtime which ones are regular. I could click on this column it would sort, click it again it would sort in the other direction. Normally those are sorted by the starting date, so you see the overtime records spread throughout that time. Go back to the timesheet see those same records here and the 5 ¾ hours at the bottom.

That’s a brief explanation of overtime in the Standard Time timesheet.

Project Task Warnings

 

Standard Time® is a project tracking program.  And it has a nice little feature to make sure tasks get completed on time.

  • Task Warnings

Here’s the problem:

Sometimes employees ‘camp out’ on tasks they like.  Maybe upcoming tasks are scary.  Or, the employee doesn’t feel ready to move on.  Or, they just feel comfortable on the current task.

For whatever reason, they don’t move on.  And that may be costing you money.

Now there’s a solution in Standard Time.

Project managers can set a percentage cut-off.  When users hit this percentage, a pop-up tells them to finish up.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you set a warning at 90%, and a final cut-off at 125%.

The user first gets a warning, and then the task closes.  No more time can be added.

Want to try it?  Click to download.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtue-oZBiJg

Timesheet and Time Log Pages

 

Some people have asked what is the difference between the Timesheet and Time Log. You see these 6 tabs along the top and the timesheet and time log tabs are right next to each other. In fact some have asked what is the Time Log at all. Let’s take a look at that. Essentially these two tabs are close relatives. In fact they display the same information, they just look a little different. Let’s click over on the Time Log. Here you see a list of records and it turns out those records are the same ones that are displayed in the Timesheet. It looks a little different; you’ve got the Monday-Sunday view or whenever your first day of the week starts. In the Time Log you’ve got a list top to bottom of all the same records. These are the same time records you see over in the timesheet. One way to verify this is open up one of these, click notes and details, 1st thing we can see is that this is on 4/9 and starts at 11:30am. And the notes this person put in was Installed web server. Let’s go over to the Time Log and because we have such a long list let’s go over to the Date range and look at This week. We’ve got records here, turns out I’m looking at this week for Ray which is the same filtering we had over in the timesheet. If I look at the 4.5 hours we see that this is 11:30am, installed web server. You can go over to the timesheet, click on this triangular dropdown and choose Daily Hours and there is a graphical timesheet. We see this same 4.5 hours just displayed in graphical format. If I were to double click on that we’ll see it starts at 11:30am, installed web server is the notes that the person put in. We’re seeing the same information it’s just formatted a little differently depending on the view you have. There are lots of ways to look at timesheet data (timesheet records). This Time Log is useful in a lot of other ways. If we go to the View menu, choose Column, let’s get rid of the Client rate and Cost client, useful fields but for this case we’re going to put in the Client and the User. A couple different fields, you can add a variety of different columns to this display. So we now see some new columns here again we’re looking at all the records for Ray. If I click the yellow X I’ve now removed all the filtering, I see all the records in the whole system because I’m an administrator. Let’s look at This week; now we see a mixture of Ray and Buzz. If I went over to the Users section I could click on Buzz see all of his records or Ray see all of his records. This is that 4.5 hours we saw earlier. So the Time Log can be useful to find things that are not immediately apparent in the timesheet as your looking through a Monday-Sunday view. Simply seeing them in a top down fashion can sometimes be useful. That’s why we have the two views in addition to the graphical timesheet.

Hopefully that helps in distinguishing between these two close relatives. 

Watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwmgIgx2Mgw

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