Monthly Archives: May 2015

Utilization Rates

Here is a utilization report that records the number of hours employees spent working on projects in a given date range.  You see how many of those hours are billable verses non-billable.  That results in a effective billing rate.  I.e. the true rate you are getting.

Why is a utilization report important?

Utilization reports tell you how effective your business is.  They tell you how much you are earning.

Let’s say you have ten consultants on staff.  They all bill out at about the same rate.   Nine of those employees have an average of 20% administrative time.  The other has only 15%.   Nine of them are working about 40 hours, while the tenth one is consistently working 50.  Sure, not all 50 are billable hours.  But still, 50 is huge.

You can easily imagine that the ‘star’ employee is pulling down a lot more dough than the other nine.  But how much?  Run a utilization report and you’ll see.

Here’s an example of two consulting scenarios below.  Your star consultant is banking a lot more than the other nine.  And the effective billing rate is higher.

180 hours 150 billable $100 per hour $15,000 revenue $83 effective rate
225 hours 191 billable $100 per hour $19,125 revenue $85 effective rate

But do you know the utilization and rates your consultants are working at?

It’s real easy to find out.  Just run one of these reports.  When you do, you must choose a date range.  Try running monthly reports, and then try quarterly, and finally yearly.  You’ll learn a lot about your actual track record.

Download from www.stdtime.com

But wait… people are not machines

There’s just one thing… people are not machines.  Don’t expect to measure things like horsepower and mean-time-between-failures and such.  If you want higher effective billing rates, more hours, and more revenue, you’ll have to inspire employees to want to do more.  You can’t wave a utilization report in front of them and demand more.  It doesn’t work; they’ll probably quit unless they really need the work.

Employees want to be inspired and be part of a cause.  That cause often includes stepping stones to more responsibility and promotions by becoming an integral part of the organization.  It involves fulfilling the long-term goals of the company and securing long-term viability in the marketplace.

So… utilization reports are nice.  And probably a requirement for viable consulting firms.  But are you using them to inspire, or just to demand more?  Something to consider…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better Than a Spreadsheet

Don’t use a spreadsheet to track your projects. This video will show you a better way.

I guess every hardcore project manager knows that.  But it’s worth a reminder.  Watch the video.

Here’s the first point.  You can’t sync Android and iOS with a spreadsheet.  That means somebody is stuck entering time on a desktop.  What about your employees in the field?  How do they get their hours back to your project?  Why not just use an app that syncs?

Second: In a spreadsheet, your billing rates will get so out of whack you’ll want to off yourself.  There are tools for this sort of thing you know.  Just sayin’  🙂

Third, your spreadsheet is not likely to look for user mistakes.  So you’ll be correcting them every week.  Is that a good use of your time?  And what if you make a mistake.  10% of those mistakes never get found.  Multiply those hours times your billing rate.  That’s how much you lose in human error.  Uggh…

Fourth, sure, you can create some charts to show project status in a spreadsheet.  But are they all encompassing?  Or do you update them every time something changes.

Fifth: Can you log in with the web.  Sort of… I guess.  But now you have sharing issues.

And lastly, you really don’t get a lot of project management in spreadsheets.  Standard Time has PM aplenty.  Like that word, aplenty.  Me to.  😉  PM aplenty.

 

Five Timesheet Features

This timesheet will help consulting and manufacturing business keep on budget and keep their projects on task. Here are five ways it can help you!

The five timesheet features are these:

  1. Unique layout
  2. Project tasks, with hierarchy and rollups
  3. Time log list
  4. Expense tracking
  5. Client invoicing
  6. Time off (vacation tracking and PTO)

You get a lot more than a timesheet with Standard Time®.  There are numerous project management features that tightly integrate with the timesheet.  Project managers will love the actuals entered by employees.  Consultants will use client billing.  And employees will find the timesheet simple and useful.  Plus, you get PTO accruals and time off tracking.

Task Warnings

Stopping the employee camp-out syndrome. This video show you how! This is an important way Standard Time can keep you on budget and your project on task.

Here’s the issue: sometimes employees camp out on tasks they feel comfortable with.  They may be scared of upcoming tasks they don’t know the details of.  Or they may not know how to perform those upcoming tasks.  They may not know that your project must move forward to make a profit.  After all, few employees truly understand profit and loss.  So stay where it’s comfortable — right there on the comfy tasks.

This Standard Time feature give you a way to move employees through project tasks quickly.  How?  Employees get a popup when their task is nearly complete.  They get an error when it’s fully complete.  Little messages like this are usually enough to ensure that tasks are completed quickly, and employees move onto new tasks right away.

Want something else just as cool?  There are project task rollups in Standard Time.  That means you can see at-a-glance how many hours have been charged to each task.  And those values roll up to the project level, so you see that too.  Getting project status is easy.

 

Quick Tasks

The Quick Task Window makes keeping track of your time easy! All you have to do is click to start a task, and then click to stop.  This starts and stops the timer. The time between clicks is automatically put into the timesheet. This is then sent to your manager automatically. This keeps your projects on task and keeps you on budget!

Any time you can collect employee hours close to the actual job, you will be ahead.  The closer the better.  That eliminates human error and gives you exact times.  Of course, this feature is optional.  You’ll have to decide if using the timer fits your corporate culture.  In other words, will it spark an uprising?  Will employees hate it?  Sure, that can happen.  But a timesheet timer is sometimes a welcomed convenience.  Give it a try and see how it works for you!

 

 

Timesheet Favorites

You’re going to like Timesheet Favorites! You can select your favorite projects, or just the ones you are working on now.  Only those will show up in the timesheet. If your company has 499 projects, you don’t have to see all those in your Timesheet.  That’s a lot to scroll through.  Just pick your favorites from the Favorites Menu and you’re good to go!

Project Rollups

Project rollups in Standard Time are a welcomed feature for project managers. The Duration and Actual values show at the project level, just like MS Project. When time is added to the timesheet, values roll up and managers can see employee hours at a glance!

 

Time Off Accruals

Standard Time will track PTO and other time off accruals.  E.g. vacation, sick, personal, etc. An employee can request hours that have been accrued in Standard Time. Email notifications are sent to managers and an email comes back when approval occurs. Its that easy!

 

Project Revenue Forecasting

Standard Time® helps you win by increasing your sales! It can keep track of project proposals and task lists for your clients. Your employees can download an app for their Android or iOS phones.

Scroll down for the video.

This project revenue chart is like a sales funnel.  You can set the percentage of possible win, and the chart will forecast how much revenue you are likely to get from all the deals.  So let’s say you set the percentage to 50%.  the chart will show half the expected revenue.  If you set the win percentage to 100%, it will show the full amount.  The fact is, you will either win the proposal or not.  There is no such thing as winning 50% of a proposal.  But the chart is trying to forecast the probably income from all the project proposals combined.  You probably won’t win all of them, so the revenue shown is your probable results.

Standard Time does a lot more than project project revenue.  It’s got a full task list for each employee.  There is time and expense tracking.  And PTO time off accruals.  You can run your whole consulting or engineering organization from it.  Not bad for a timesheet app!

 

 

Project Billing Rates For Client Invoicing

This video will show you how Standard Time uses rates for client invoicing. Different rates for different employees. Once Standard Time is set up you won’t need to fuss with it.   Just set each project rate for each employee and you’re done.

You have several models to choose from:

  1. User rates (Default.  Each user has their own rates for each project)
  2. Role rates (each role a person plays on a project has it’s own rates)
  3. Category rates (each kind of work has it’s own rate)
  4. Project rates (each project has it’s rate, regardless of user or kind of work.  Least flexible)
  5. Option Year rates (for government contracting)

Check stdtime.com for more details.