This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Timesheets and TOC

Brian Kennemer touches on the issue of timesheets and project management in projectified: Timesheets. Yes you REALLY do need to fill this in! Please?!

[at the end] 10 mins a week is all you will be asking of your resources. They are grown ups. They can handle it. Explain to them what the impact is of you knowing this information. Tell them stories of cohesive teams all working in harmony. The Test Lab being ready right on time, embracing your code, helping it grow! :-)

Make your resources understand that you NEED this information. They have it. You need it and you have this nifty little web page called Project Web Access that will even help them send it to you. It is already info they give you. You just need it typed into these cells rather than given to you across the lunch table.

Usually, Critical Chain Project Management needs to know that tasks have begun, their remaining time, and those tasks that have been completed. Depending on the size and complexity of the installation, people doing these updates range from the project managers, group managers to individuals doing the work.

We went around the block several times on this topic while we were implementing Critical Chain Project Management at my last job. We ended up deciding to stay away from time cards to update progress on the projects, even though we had a time card system for (internal) billing purposes. Part of the reasoning had to do with the fact that the two systems were developed independently and were miles apart in terms of the information they tracked.

The root reason that we decided to not use time sheets for our CCPM implementation is that they are not consistent with the principles of CCPM. CCPM is interested in successful execution of the overall project: Are we working on the right things? How much longer on that task? Is Jan ready to start when Joe finishes? Time cards are focused on execution of individual tasks: Did you start "on time?" Did you finish within the allotted time? This information seems very useful for billing and managing individuals, but not the success of a project. The meaning of starting something on time is almost irrelevant in real project environments where the initial duration estimates are estimates and not carved in stone. It doesn't particularly matter if Jane takes longer than expected as long as the team sees how that will impact their subsequent work and what can be done to recover excess buffer incursions.

That said, Brian does suggest some important aspects of recording project progress, whether on timesheets or some other mechanism. Help your teams understand why this information is important and show them what happens to the project as they successfully complete their part of the work.

I also found this somewhat rambling conversation at Paradigm 360: lets talk timesheets that covers timesheets and Critical Chain Project Management (and project cost estimates to add some confusion).

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