Learn some dirty secrets of project tracking from the Master, Ray White.
Meerly understanding that these exist puts you farther ahead. Now you can adjust your tactics for maximum effectiveness.
Hi, I’m Ray White, and I’m with the Standard Time team. Today I’m talking about eight dirty secrets of project tracking.
These are just some things I’ve pick up along the way working on projects… working with engineers… project managers… managing projects myself. And so hopefully, they’ll help. Let’s take a look.
These are the eight things I’m going to go into.
1. Let’s start with “Our stinking projects are always late.” Really, this could be a hundred different things. But one of the things I’ve seen is projects that don’t have a clear end-game strategy. What I’m talking about is, we’re going to do this, this, and this, then then we’re going to finish up this project. Without such a strategy, people sometimes feel welcomed to indulge themselves into any task or project areas they want to go into. And so consequently the project goes on and on and on, and sometimes can be consider late. So with a strategy like that have to have pretty deep pockets to keep the project going.
2. Number two: “Pry my actual hours out of my cold dead hands.” Now, sometimes people don’t like to give up the actual hours they’ve worked on projects. Especially if they are higher on the food chain. You’ll hear lines like “it will get done when it gets done,” or “making me fill out a bunch of paperwork isn’t going to make it go any faster,” or “do you want me to work on the project and sit here and talk to you about it all day?” Alright… I get that. I understand. Creative people need to have their space… work on tasks that inspire them… come and go when they please… all understandable. But accountability is still a pretty high priority in getting projects done.
3. Number three: “People camp out on tasks they like.” This is a little bit like # 1 but not really. Have you ever seen this where a person gets on a task that is familiar or easy to them and then they just stay forever. Maybe they’ve looked out into the future and they see upcoming tasks that are unfamiliar or uncertainties there are things they’re unsure about and it’s more comfortable to stay where they’re at then go off into the unknown. So if you can find a product that nudges employees along through the tasks to completion you might be better off for that.
4. Number four: “You probably spend more time on secondary projects than you know.” So here’s a question; have you tracked your actual hours for all the projects you work on and then compared those hours with the corporate priorities. So in other words, do the actual hours that we work relate to the priorities we’ve set for those projects? If you haven’t done that then you might be spending more time on secondary projects than you realized, not even knowing it. And that can cost you money.
5. Number 5: “More time goes to admin than you think.” People sometimes are reluctant to report their admin hours because maybe they feel like they’ll be punished for it. After all we’re supposed to be working on the projects, right? These are my 8 hours, these are my 40 hours, they are all project time, right? Well all right, we all realize that we work on non-project, admin things every day. Meetings, emails, talking with our boss, talking with employees, things that are not project related. So if people are not secure or are not encouraged to give their admin hours then they won’t and you won’t get that information. But it’s valuable in forecasting upcoming projects.
6. Let’s see, number 6… are you loving this so far? “Timesheet clutter ruins your metrics.” What happens when a person looks into a spread sheet or a timesheet and they see 400 projects and tasks that don’t apply to them? What they do is look through and minutes later they find the project they work on and to escape the pain they write 8’s all the way across. How does that help you? You already know their working 8 hours. So if the time keeping app is not simple and relevant to the person entering time you’re probably not going to get any useful information from it.
7. Number 7: “You’ll never get the data you need by rolling your own.” What we’re talking about here is rolling your own timekeeping app with a spreadsheet. Sometimes people get the bright idea to just use a spreadsheet to keep track of our time; we’ll use rows and columns… and put projects here… and put the employees here… and they’ll just fill in their time. That’s a wonderful idea… and a wonderful way to trick yourself into thinking you’re doing something useful until you find out how much that cost you in the end.
8. Number 8: “You’ll probably never find out how much time people spend on the web.” That’s a fact! Everyone surfs YouTube, Facebook, on-line shopping, vacation research, texting their friends, email, all that, we know that. We know that. But you’re never going to stop that, and you’re never going to track that. The best you can hope to do is inspire people to do something different. Like get onboard with your vision and do the impossible. That helps them, it helps the organization. It’s a win-win. But there has to be something in it for them or they will just serf funny videos for an hour a day.
So that’s about all. Eight dirty secrets of project tracking. I’m Ray White. See ya next time!