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.

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.

Project Portfolio Management

 

I was wondering if you could show me how Standard Time® handles large groups of projects or portfolios of projects.

Sure. Let’s start of by going up to Tools, Projects. I think what you’re asking is you want to see areas in the Standard Time program where it handles project portfolios or groups of projects inside of a single portfolio.

Right.

Let’s start by going to Tools, Projects. When I click on a project over on the left-hand side you see a Portfolio field, turns out that’s a drop down. You can choose portfolios from this list to put that project into a portfolio. When you click the … button you actually see a list of your portfolios you can add and delete those or rename those as you like. You’re essentially able to go through each of your projects and put them into different portfolios.

Different groups then.

That’s the first step. Now once you’ve done that you’ll see some value in the product because of that. The first area that I’ll go to is the View menu and choose Project Revenue. Inside this window you’re able to see projected revenue out into the future for a year for your project. So you can choose a single project here and see the revenue for that project. This also shows them by folder and by portfolio. Click the little buttons above the project drop down and choose Development Projects, now I’ve got a group of projects.

Isolate that group and see the revenue from that group of projects.

Exactly. This includes all the projects within this portfolio. As you go out through the months you see the various revenue projections for that. So let’s move onto another area. Go to the View menu choose Project Resource Allocation we see another area where project portfolios can be displayed. And here in the Project Resource Allocation dialog you see where employees are scheduled to work out into the future. You can choose a project or show all projects, but you can also show a single portfolio.

So you can see how heavily allocated a single project portfolio is.

That is correct. That’s two areas that you’ll see some benefit from that. There are some reports in the product as well where you can group the time logs by your project portfolios. But those two areas are probably the biggest value for that.

OK. Very nice!

Project Costing and Billing Rates

 

I was wondering if you could show me how Standard Time® handles project rates and project costing. How do you do that?

Yes, I can go into that. That story basically starts here with Tools, Projects. I’m going to go in here and show you where to start with that. I’m going to choose a project here and there’s a few fields that control or at least begin to control some of the rates and costing for each project. You’re going to see as you click on different projects you can actually have different models or ways to do your billing and have different rates for each project. So if you pull down the drop down you’ll see that there are user rates, category rates and project rates. As you click on different projects here you’ll see those two fields change to show the different models.

So each project has its own way of doing it or you can set it up per project.

Exactly. In this case we’re using project rates in which you can see here. But in this case we’re using user rates. So if you went to the Tools menu and choose Users and organizations you’ll be able to set those rates there. You start off your billing method by choosing those choices there. The next thing you’ll see in the product is a few other menu items to set the billing rates on a project by project basis. You can go in here either into Employee Billing Rates or Category Billing Rates. I’m going to choose Employee Billing Rates. And here you’d be able to choose a project from the left-hand side, set the rate for each user so that every user has a different rate for every project.

OK. Instead of using what’s in their profile, the flat rate that they have in their profile, it can be different per project based on the user or type of work.

That is correct. And I’ll show you how that works out in the product. As we go over to the Project Tasks tab, I filter this view so that we’re looking at a small green house project. I have two tasks here; one task is assigned to Ray and one task is assigned to Buzz. Each one has 100 hours of duration but one task is going to bill at $250 an hour whereas the other will bill at $50 an hour. It’s all because of the different user that’s assigned to that task.

It’s based on that user rate!

You can see that here. So if you multiply the 100 hours x $250 you’ll get $25,000 for the cost you’d charge the client. In this case 100 x $50 is $5,000 for this project task. So the total is $30,000. We also see here we’ve logged 1 hour of time for each of these tasks; that’s simply done by typing 1 hour into the timesheet. You can see there is $300 charged already. So that would go to accounts payable for invoicing. That leaves a remaining of $29,700. You can see how it breaks out on the task below.

That makes sense!

Memorize Time and Expense Reports

 

I have a tough question for you! I run reports on a regular basis. And when I do that I have to choose the same choices every time to run that report. I was wondering if you had a way to simply save those choices so I wouldn’t have to do that every time.

Absolutely! We have a way to memorize reports. Let me show you that real quick. If you go over here to the left hand side, you’ll notice we have a couple of choices of things we can do. One of them is a list of reports, so let’s click on this + symbol and open my list of reports. I’ll go ahead and choose Time logs, open up that list and I’ll go down here and choose employee by project. When I select that report you get your normal list of filters and things you want to memorize in the report. The first tab up here at the top that you can select is the list of Users, you can choose a person or group of people. However by not choosing someone it will show you everyone. So by not making a selection you get to see everything. So the same is true for projects. If I want to see one project or so I can click on that project. In this case I’m not going to make a selection, I want to see them all. The same is true for Clients and so forth… But when I click on the date range, let’s say I want to see everything from last week, so I will make that choice here. I just want to see all the time for last week; you can look at billed or unbilled time or you can look at summary vs detail. In this case all I did was make one selection; I want to see everything from last week. Then click the save button over here on the bottom right corner. When I click save it allows me to name this report whatever I like. And you’ll notice it gives it a report extension of rpf instead of rpx. It’s just going to save it under that extension on your hard drive or your network, where ever it’s located. Then I hit the save button and when I do, I now have a brand new report listed here on the left hand side. I quickly identify it because it has a little icon listed next to it and that tells me I have a memorized report for the hours for last week. If I click on that, there’s my report.

Perfect, single click! I don’t have to make those choices over and over again I just click it once.

Right. You just click it once and you’re done. This thing has already memorized all of your attributes and in fact you can create as many of those reports as you like. And every time you create one and save it you’ll find it in the list where it was originally created.

Thank you!

Windows and Web Time Tracking Apps

 

Can you show me the differences between your Windows app and the Web app for Standard Time®?

First of all there really aren’t any differences, they are functionally the same. Let me go over the Windows app first then I’ll show you the Web version. Right now we’re in the timesheet for the Windows app, we can jump over here to the Project Tasks tab. Which is a mini dashboard of all of your projects. And again I’ll click back on the Timesheet and put in 8 hours for each day on a particular task. Then I’ll click on the Time Log tab, which is a historical record of all time put into the system. We have the Expenses tab, the Billing tab, the Time Off tab. Again you can hide or display at your will, depending on the user, and of course most people just want to use the timesheet which is a very common thing to do. Then I’m going to jump over here to the Web version; when I do that you’ll notice we have the same tabs along the top. We’ve got the Project Tasks tab, which is this dashboard screen. The Timesheet tab, which of course you can see the 8 hours I entered earlier into the Windows version; you see they’re connected. Then I click on the Time Log tab, it’s very much the same. Expenses tab, same is true there. Then we have the Billing tab and finally the Time Off tab. Most people utilize the Timesheet. You can hide all the tabs you want or display them according to the user. That’s pretty much it!

OK. How about admin functionality? How do you add new projects, clients and so on?

That’s all found here in the Tools menu. If I click on the Tools menu you’re going to see a list of items available here. Let me click over to Windows real quick as well. When I do that we see we have the same information available in the Tools menu as well.

And reports?

Over here in the Windows version you’ll see we have a list of reports on the left hand side. And if I click over to the Web version you’ll see the same list of reports all well.

Nice! Thank you!

 

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