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.

Employee Utilization Report

 

Hey Warren. We have consultants working on billable projects for clients and they have a certain client billable rate that each client works on. Problem is they don’t always work on billable projects. Sometimes they work on an admin project or an in house project. What I’d like to know is the final effective billing rate that we end up with on these consultants. Is that something that Standard Time® can do?

Absolutely. There are a couple ways Standard Time can help you. One way is you can simply look at a person’s timesheet if you want to and see what projects they are working on, it’s as simple as that. Another idea and something Standard Time offers is a report that will show you some ones billable time or their effective billing rate. Let me touch base on both of those briefly here. I’m looking at my timesheet right now. If I wanted to see what a particular person was doing or see if they were working on a billable project; I can go up here to the Users menu, as an administrator I can do this whereas end users cannot. I can go ahead and see Jordan Ford; I open up my list of users and click on Jordan Ford’s name. When I do you’re going to notice my timesheet will change because now I’ll be viewing Jordan Ford’s timesheet. If I needed to I can make changes to this timesheet or make adjustments if I have the user right to do so. Even as an administrator you can prevent people from changing timesheets if necessary. Then when I want to go back to my normal view and see my timesheet or someone else’s you can either click on another name to view another timesheet or to remove the filter all together and go back to my normal view. I click the yellow X up here on the top of the toolbar and that will take me back to my normal view. Now the report I was talking about is found here under the Management Reports. If I expand that I can scroll down to the bottom and show Utilization and rates. So when I open up this report I can view it by user, by project or any number of ways I choose to. In this case I want to just look at a couple projects. Let’s look at LBIR-Phase 2 and if I hold down my control key I can look at Chevron at the same time. And every choice I make will appear in the bottom left corner of this window. And in fact let’s make one more choice; let’s say I just want to see only This week. I’ve made these choices at the bottom and I can save these choices if I want to run reports repetitively over the course of time. In this case I’m going to run it today so I click OK. When I do the report pops up and I can see what Jordan Ford worked on, we can see that Jordan was scheduled 40 hours, he actually worked 22.2 hours and of those 22.2 hours every one of them were billable so therefore he’s considered 100% billable. However a distinction here is utilization percentage. He was only 55% utilized, in other words although all of his time was billable he was scheduled 40 hours and only worked 22. Therefore he was underutilized.

I see that Effective Billing Rate over on the right hand side essentially $51.59 per hour.

Exactly. You can see at the bottom he was a net loss for the company. And if you look at this other person here, Warren, you can see he scheduled 44 hours, worked 40.45 all of them were billable, 100% billable. My Utilization was 91.9%. In that sense if you look at the Effective Billing Rate I’m pretty accurate, I’m pretty close to where I should be. And this employee is a net profit for the company. And when you combine the two at the bottom that’s what this bottom number gives you, the combined efforts of everybody in the report. It shows you that although one person was a net loss and one person was a net gain; combined together you still had a profit between the two employees.

OK, that about does it. Thank you.

Watch the video:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKVs1XnHMPo

Project Revenue Win-Loss Graph

 

Have you ever seen a sales funnel for projects?

In other words, a graph showing how much revenue you’ll get for all your projects?

Standard Time® has one.

Of course, with any sales funnel, you’ll win some and lose some.  Proposals go into the funnel, and the best ones come out the bottom as cash revenue.  We help you close more, and finish faster.

Here’s how:

  1. Start by creating a project
  2. Set the revenue you expect
  3. Set the timeframe
  4. Set the win percentage

Now view your projected sales revenue for all projects in the funnel.

And watch your revenue grow with tools like:

  1. Project proposals
  2. Project dashboards
  3. And Project task warnings

Standard Time is the best tool to win projects.

Start a free trial today!

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY9gadNXmvE

Field Names

 

I would like to change some of the terminologies or field names in Standard Time®. Wondered if you could run through that, show me if that is possible to do?

Yes, let me go here to the Time Log first. When I go to the Time Log screen I’m going to open up a time log, and when I do you’ll notice down here at this location it used to be a text 1 field and I changed that to say location. You’ll notice also that changed it throughout the whole system. If I go to Tools, Projects, if I scroll down to the bottom you’ll see location here as well, it used to be a text 1 field also. And finally let me show you one other area. If I go to Users and Organization, you’ll see Location where it used to say text 1. The way you do that is go to the View menu, scroll down to Field Names and you’ll see that there is a text 1 and I changed it to Location. Let’s say I don’t want that to read throughout the whole program I just want to change it for one area. All I have to do is identify the area I want to change it so I’m going to do it here on the text 1 field and say I just want this changed for projects only. I’ll put the name: and once I put the name: in there save and close this. Now when I go click on another Time Log..

Back to text 1.

Exactly. Now if I go back to Projects, however, you’ll see that it’s still there. I’ve now told the system I only want Projects to be the field that is changed.

So it’s a little contact sensitive. Could you change one of the fields I would like to change is the category field in the Time Log to activity.

Sure let me show you. If I click on Time Log you’ll see the Category, let’s change that to say Activity. I’m going to cancel out of this, I’m going to go to the View menu scroll down to Field Names and right here change Category to Activity. Hit Save and Close and click back open on…

Yes!

Let me show you that again. Now you see the category has been changed to activity. Again, you can decide if you want that throughout the whole system or in one specific area.

Very good, that answers it.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iaP4MHjZWw

Project Billing Rates

 

Hello consultants!

You’ve probably heard of the Standard Time® timekeeping app, right?  But have you seen how it handles client billing rates?

It’s pretty slick!  Watch this.

You have clients you bill hourly for, right?  And you probably do multiple projects for those clients.

In Standard Time, each project can have different employee billing rates, and even different salaries.  That means you are free to negotiate rates that are advantageous to you.

You’re not stuck with a single billing rate.

Every time you log a single hour, Standard Time calculates the rate and billing amount.  It doesn’t matter if that’s on the web, or the Windows client, or even a smartphone.

Now, just click to send an invoice.

All your time and expenses are included.  And the project rates are just right.

Want to try it?  Click here!

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZI9GZ0sdrM

Personalized Timesheet Columns

 

Can you show me how to put different columns, different views in all the tabs in Standard Time®?

OK. So I guess you’re wanting to see additional information that you don’t necessarily see out of the stock views.

Right, customize my screen or each of the tabs.

OK. Let’s start by talking about the six tabs along the top. You’ve got various information in each one of those tabs. You can go to the View menu and choose Columns to add additional information to those tabs. Right now you see the time sheet tab selected. When I choose Columns you see a series of columns of information that you could add to that particular view. Let me click close here, we’re going to come back to this but when we go over to the Project Tasks tab and I choose View, Columns you’re going to see a different set of columns. Why don’t I go there…

When you do each tab has their own list of columns.

Yes. Each of these 6 tabs that you see at the top here has its different list of fields that you can display. Right now we’re looking at the Completed field, the Name, Duration and Gantt.

So the duration and the hours is there and the Gantt chart. And if I wanted to add other fields I could or if I wanted to take those away I can.

Right. So I just removed the Gantt field and put in the % status bar. Maybe you want to see the client rate. There’s some other cost client fields, cost salary fields that are available to administrators. So those are some of the things you can do. When I click on this now we’ve got some other fields here. The others are gone, we've got new fields. If I click on the Timesheet, go to the View menu choose Columns I could put the client in. Now you see another column that shows the client we’re going to log time to. If I were to go to the Time log tab, go to the View menu choose Columns. You see a completely different list, this is actually a shorter list. Let’s say in this case I wanted to see the Project and the Project task. Now we’ve got another column here, the old ones gone, new column. Over in Expenses go to View, Columns, you’ve got a completely different list here, different fields that pertain to expenses. Same thing with Billing, let’s go over and take a look at those. These are completely different fields that are related to invoicing.

Right. PO numbers and such.

The Time Off tab has fields that are related to taking time off for things like vacation, PTO, sick, training so on and so forth. So those are fields that might pertain to each one of those records. That’s the jist of this. Go to each of those tabs, put in different columns and see more information.

Thanks for sharing this with me.

Employee Availability

 

Are you with an engineering or consulting organization?

If so, here’s a question:

How do you know when your employees are available to work on new projects and tasks?

Do you have a chart for upcoming availability?

Or a tool for task scheduling?

Standard Time® does!

There’s a nice graph showing upcoming weeks and months.  Choose any employee, or the whole organization.  You’ll see tasks assigned to employees, and exactly when those employees become available for new work.

What a simple way to manage projects!

-          Find tasks that are taking too long

-          Find employees that are over or under allocated

-          Find resources by skill

Take a look at Standard Time today!  It’s more than just a timesheet; it’s a whole new project planning tool.

Click to download now.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeojAhq6bWc

Timesheet Tasks

 

Hello Consultants and Engineers!

Here’s a brand new idea that makes employee timesheets easier.

The Standard Time® timesheet displays only the projects and tasks you are working on.

That’s right.  Employees only see projects and tasks that are relevant to them.

Ever try working with a timesheet or spreadsheet with a zillion projects to scroll through?  It’s so slow you throw up your hands and quit.

Not so with Standard Time!

You’ll only see the projects and tasks you’re assigned to.

And you can even reduce those with Favorites.  Just a few clicks and only your favorite projects show up.

Nice!

This is the kind of fresh new timekeeping app employees will actually use.  You’ll get the information you need to invoice clients, or to just track projects and tasks for employee hours.

Try Standard Time!

Click to start your free trial today!

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeVLuGySiH4&feature=youtu.be

Clients and Project Relationships

 

 

 

Warren, can you outline the relationship between projects and clients in Standard Time®? In other words is there a one-to-one relationship between projects and clients or can you have multiple projects per client?

Yes, Standard Time allows you to have multiple projects per client. You would find that here in the Tools menu, scroll down to Clients, this is where you get to see a list of all the clients available in Standard Time. And this is where you create new clients, delete them and so forth. When I click on Alcoa, as an example, you’re going to see the properties now on the right hand side pertain to Alcoa. You can give them rights to log in to the web version of Standard Time, with the password and all they get to see is a summary report of the work you’re doing for their projects.  If I click on Alcoa and the plus symbol next to it you can see the projects that are actually assigned to Alcoa. We have Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3. And when I do that you’ll notice the properties have changed on the right hand side of this panel. We’re now looking at the project information instead of the client information. And typically that’s found in the Tools, Projects dialog, so let me take you there now. Usually when you assign a client you go to the Tools menu, select Projects and then you’ll see the projects dialog. A list of all my projects on the left hand side and I can click on this Phase 1 project I showed you earlier for Alcoa. When I do you’ll notice here it is, it’s signed to Alcoa. You can see its active, showing it in timesheet and allowed to log in. This is an active, current ongoing project. If I click on the Phase 2 project again it’s assigned to Alcoa, however, it’s not activated. So what we can do is activate it and allow to log time it and begin work on this project, it’ll actually show up in the timesheet.

I’ll go ahead and close out of this, well actually I’ll show you one other thing. You can in the client dialog here; this is where you choose which person you want to assign or which client you want to assign to this particular project. Ok, let’s go back to the timesheet. One other thing to notate, when you assign hours, or work hours, against a project like this 3.5 hours on this Alcoa project I showed you earlier. If I click on the Notes and Detail tab in the bottom right corner you’ll notice this is a sign to Alcoa. All this time is tracking against this project. Followed up the chain to Alcoa so when you run an invoice for Alcoa this time is going to show on that invoice for that particular client.

Perfect. That does it!

Supply and Demand Project Management

 

 

This little video shows some new features we’ve added to Standard Time® to address supply and demand. By supply I mean the functional managers are asking employees to enter time against certain projects that are assigned to them. The demand is the PMO group that is assigning projects to employees. Here in the timesheet you see some of the projects that have been assigned to me. You can see my user name over on the right hand side. All I have to do is go into a cell, put some hours in, press tab and I’ve done it. As an employee that’s all I have to do. What I’d like to do is go up to Tools menu, choose Projects and take a look at how those projects are assigned. And we’ll see the demand side of this. As I go to Tools, Projects I see various projects in the system. Over on the right hand side I see the assignment and then I see the percent of schedule that these employees are assigned to work. In the particular case that project is Admin and they are all assigned 5% of their hours. As we go down through the different projects we see different users assigned and different percentages of their daily working hours. I wanted you to see that area of the program.

 

There’s a way to actually check to see how employees are scheduled for their time. I’m going to go into Project Resource Allocation dialog to take a look at that. What we see here is a bar chart that indicates the percentage of allocation for each employee. You can actually go up to the drop down menu and choose different employees to see their allocation. You can also click on this little wrench icon to go in and find employees by discipline. As you choose those you’ll see how those employees are allocated, you can find employees or areas of time when that discipline has freed up and can assign those to new projects. There is actually another report that shows this as well. I’m going to go over to the left hand side to Reports, I have a little Test folder here where I’ve created a new project. I’m going to run the project without any filtering but I could filter by Projects, Portfolios, User, Skill (or discipline) and then the Detail lets me see summary. I click OK to run the report. What you’re seeing here is employees along the left hand side and then the projects that they are assigned to. You’ve got project numbers and employee’s numbers here but here you’ve got the Supply and Demand. Again the Demand is what you saw in the Tools, Projects dialog where we saw the assignments, where each employee was assigned a certain percentage of their hours. You can see the Admin project here, remember that was 5%, it was the first one we looked at. It turns out all the employees are assigned to that project they all have 5% demand in other words they are supposed to work on that project 5% of their time. And then the supply is the actual hours that they’ve entered into their timesheet. So in this case this person has worked 7% of their time. They were supposed to have worked 5% so 2% over so you see the Gap over here. In this case they were supposed to work 10% of their time, turns out they work 51 so the Gap here is huge. You want to look for large gap numbers. We have a Total Demand Assignment here of 20% that’s actually a bad thing, it should total up to 100%. That’s something to look for. This little report pulls those numbers out of the system and shows those. There is another thing you can do with this report. I’m going to go ahead and close it and run it again. This time click on Skill, click on Custom Value and type in Electrical (I could type electrical engineer). Click OK you’ll find all of the users with that particular skill then you can go in and look at their demand assignments and so on. That’s another value of this report. I wanted to point that out and show you how Standard Time handles the supply and demand side of things. Hope that helps.

 

 

 

 

This little video shows some new features we’ve added to Standard Time® to address supply and demand. By supply I mean the functional managers are asking employees to enter time against certain projects that are assigned to them. The demand is the PMO group that is assigning projects to employees. Here in the timesheet you see some of the projects that have been assigned to me. You can see my user name over on the right hand side. All I have to do is go into a cell, put some hours in, press tab and I’ve done it. As an employee that’s all I have to do. What I’d like to do is go up to Tools menu, choose Projects and take a look at how those projects are assigned. And we’ll see the demand side of this. As I go to Tools, Projects I see various projects in the system. Over on the right hand side I see the assignment and then I see the percent of schedule that these employees are assigned to work. In the particular case that project is Admin and they are all assigned 5% of their hours. As we go down through the different projects we see different users assigned and different percentages of their daily working hours. I wanted you to see that area of the program.

There’s a way to actually check to see how employees are scheduled for their time. I’m going to go into Project Resource Allocation dialog to take a look at that. What we see here is a bar chart that indicates the percentage of allocation for each employee. You can actually go up to the drop down menu and choose different employees to see their allocation. You can also click on this little wrench icon to go in and find employees by discipline. As you choose those you’ll see how those employees are allocated, you can find employees or areas of time when that discipline has freed up and can assign those to new projects. There is actually another report that shows this as well. I’m going to go over to the left hand side to Reports, I have a little Test folder here where I’ve created a new project. I’m going to run the project without any filtering but I could filter by Projects, Portfolios, User, Skill (or discipline) and then the Detail lets me see summary. I click OK to run the report. What you’re seeing here is employees along the left hand side and then the projects that they are assigned to. You’ve got project numbers and employee’s numbers here but here you’ve got the Supply and Demand. Again the Demand is what you saw in the Tools, Projects dialog where we saw the assignments, where each employee was assigned a certain percentage of their hours. You can see the Admin project here, remember that was 5%, it was the first one we looked at. It turns out all the employees are assigned to that project they all have 5% demand in other words they are supposed to work on that project 5% of their time. And then the supply is the actual hours that they’ve entered into their timesheet. So in this case this person has worked 7% of their time. They were supposed to have worked 5% so 2% over so you see the Gap over here. In this case they were supposed to work 10% of their time, turns out they work 51 so the Gap here is huge. You want to look for large gap numbers. We have a Total Demand Assignment here of 20% that’s actually a bad thing, it should total up to 100%. That’s something to look for. This little report pulls those numbers out of the system and shows those. There is another thing you can do with this report. I’m going to go ahead and close it and run it again. This time click on Skill, click on Custom Value and type in Electrical (I could type electrical engineer). Click OK you’ll find all of the users with that particular skill then you can go in and look at their demand assignments and so on. That’s another value of this report. I wanted to point that out and show you how Standard Time handles the supply and demand side of things. Hope that helps.

SQL Server

 

This is a video to help answer the question of how to connect to SQL server. Sometimes companies have SQL server already set up and have employees on it. But they may install Standard Time® onto a new work station for a new employee. When they do that by default you’ll see in the title bar Standard Time uses a Microsoft Access database. You’ll also see if you go to the File menu and choose Database, we have the name of the ODBC ‘File DSN’ right there. That’s a good tip off we’re using the default Microsoft Access database. All we have to do is change the name to a new file DSN that connects to SQL and we’re probably good. But I’m going to show how to create that file DSN using the steps here below and get connected to SQL. Before I do that I’d like to switch over to SQL and show you some other things. You probably already for SQL server setup but if you don’t there are some videos showing how to do that and how to trouble shoot connections. I want to show one quick thing; I’ll open up the Security section in the Logins. You probably already know that you need to connect to SQL with a login. You can use either Windows authentication or SQL authentication. I’m just going to open one here that’s a SQL authentication login. You’ll notice the default database is Standard Time. If I switch over to the User Mapping and click on the Standard Time row you’ll also see we have db_owner rights. And that allows us to modify the database should we need to do that. I wanted to point that out.

Let’s switch back over to Standard Time. What we’re going to do is create a file DSN that will connect to SQL. I’ll open up ODBC Data Source Administrator, click on the File DSN tab, then we’ll click add. We’re going to scroll down to the bottom and find SQL server, click next. The name of the file DSN will be Standard Time sql. Click next again, then you have to enter the Server, this is where I can’t really help, you’re going to have to know the name of your server for where your database is located. Enter that, click next. In this case I’m going to choose SQL authentication, again you can use NT authentication [Windows authentication] if you have that set up, if you have your log in set up. But otherwise you would need a log in ID and password. So I’ve entered those, I’ve clicked next. I’m going to connect to the Standard Time database by default; click next, finish. Then I’m going to test that and it says the test completed successfully. So I know now I have a good file DSN that can connect to SQL server.

I’m done there. The next thing I need to do is, if I’m using SQL authentication, is to open that up into Notepad and add one more line to the bottom. That is “PWD=password.” I’m going to save that because the ODBC administrator does not save it. Close that, switch back over to Standard Time, now we can go to the File menu choose Database. Here we saw the name of the File DSN that was used for default Microsoft access database. So I simple enter sql, the name is Standard Time sql. I click OK, OK, OK; Standard Time will restart, you can see a completely different set of projects here. If I go to Tools, Projects, I see all of my projects and then you know you’re connected to Standard Time. Make sure the user over here in the upper right corner is the user you are expecting.

That’s pretty much it. There are other videos for trouble shooting SQL connections if you need those.

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