Engineers think your timesheet is dopey and pointless. They fill 8's all the way across. Nobody cares if the numbers represent reality. They just want to get through it, and get to their real work.
Sound about right?
So what are you going to do about it? Let them keep typing 8's, and feel lucky you're getting anything at all? That's an option...
"8's in the timesheet don't help us a lot."
"Let's get something better"
But why not let engineers create and update their own tasks? Tasks can be linked to represent reality. Engineers can communicate their work back to managers without ever coming out into the daylight. You'll know the ship dates, percent competes, and even know when the schedule slips. You can even get an email notification when too much time has been entered for certain tasks, or when the entire project is over budget.
Those are good qualities for an engineering timesheet.
Engineers don't hate task management
Self-managed task management makes timesheets bearable. Engineers don't hate the timesheet when they can manage their own tasks. Managing your own tasks means not having to answer to a boss or project manager. Of course few meetings from time to time can't be avoided, but mostly engineers want to manage their own stuff. They can handle task linking, setting dates and estimates, and closing out tasks that are complete. That covers about 75% of the project management for most tasks. The other 25% must be handled at a higher strategic level.
"Bugger off! I can manage my own tasks."
Timesheet entry gets more detailed
With ownership invested at the task level, timesheet entry becomes more detailed. You get more than just 8's across the project line. Instead, you might see a list of detailed tasks created by the engineer, and actual hours on each of them. And you'll get this virtually for free, just by letting the engineer handle his own stuff. You might have to bribe them with hundred dollar bills from time to time, but the detailed time management will come.
Percent complete can be a motivator
Watching the % complete climb on realistic tasks can actually be a motivator. The actual hours are coming from the timesheet, and the estimates from the engineer responsible for his own work. When tasks near completion, you naturally want to knock them out. The act of closing out tasks feels good, so you shoot for it. And the shorter the tasks, the more often that happens. So you're motivated to create enough granularity to allow you to close them out on a regular basis. Nobody hates a timesheet that gives good feedback like that.
"Actually... this timesheet isn't that bad."
Statements like that don't come from the timesheet itself. They come from the ability to manage your own work, and seeing a sense of accomplishment you can demonstrate and discuss. The timesheet is just a small part of the big picture.
Hey… look at those engineers…
They hate every stupid app you stick on their computers and phones, including social media and text messaging.
But they don’t hate this one. Why is that?
- This timekeeping app manages projects
- It reminds you of things you forgot
- You learn which projects mean the most to you
- Plus, it has cool graphs you’ve never seen before
Try it in your engineering shop. We promise your engineers won’t hate it.