This project manager went to the doctor for his annual checkup and nearly lost his spine!
Beware, Project Managers!
This can happen to you. Go to the doctor with a headache from your over-budget project, and lose your spine. Hope you enjoy the lighter side of project management. 🙂
What happens when your project is over budget by 12X? You go to the doctor with a splitting headache. Or what happens when all the employees are camping out on the easy tasks and ditching the crap? Schedule your appointment. The doctor will see you now!
There is a timesheet specially made for the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). It’s Standard Time®; it has everything you need for your project.
And just to go above an beyond… this timesheet has support for Option Year contracts and contract MOD’s. What are they? Well… if you don’t know, then you probably don’t need them! Option Year contacts are a government thing. Each year you get a new contract that specifies the scope of the projects. It lists the manpower and rates the government will accept. You assign actual employees and countersign the contract. Then you own it. ST supports that whole process. But still… if you don’t use OY contacts, then it’s more than you need.
So maybe you just need a simple timesheet that is DCAA compliant.
ST has that too.
DCAA compliance is not hard. There are some simple rules you must follow. Do that, and you’re find. The link below shows how ST complies with DCAA regulations.
Even Zombies can get consulting gigs. You just have to be smarter than the competition. Check this out.
But when you do get that awesome consulting gig, use Standard Time to track your hours. So many consultants use it that you’ll find plenty of support. Plus, you’ll find every feature you need. How about these apples?
Windows, Web, Android, and iOS apps
Billing rates for each project
Billing rates for each employee
Billing rates for each kind of work
And several other billing methods like roles, categories, or option year contracts
Consultants can customize invoices sent out to their clients. Standard Time makes it easy.
Client invoice templates in ST are simple RTF documents you can open in MS Word. That means you can customize them anyway you like. Put in a company logo… add extra text… move things around… change fonts… anything you like!
Plus, you can create your own invoice templates to choose from. Check out these videos.
All kidding aside, any project can be resurrected from the dead. But some are not so easy. Some organizations have so much politics and infighting that their projects are doomed from the start. Resurrecting a project in one of these organizations sometimes means changing the way people think. That’s sometimes not so easy. Everyone is right in their own eyes. They can’t see the trouble they’ve made for themselves. And the project manager doesn’t always have a clear vision, or even the means to inspire others to follow it. Implementing a nice project tracker like ST doesn’t always do it. You need a true visionary to pull projects out of the ditch.
So sure… it’s easy to poke fun at failing projects. But not always so easy to resurrect them. But why not try? Put a good timesheet product in place, and see what happens!
Different consultants can use different clients billing rates. For instance, a project manager can bill differently than an engineer. Makes sense, huh? This video makes it look simple.
Actually, it is simple. Standard Time lets you assign unique project rates to each consultant. And, those rates can vary by project. Project A is not the same as Project B. So the billing rates for each consultant can be unique.
This video may also help. It describes exactly how to set up client billing rates for each consultant.
You may also wonder how to verify that the rates are correct. Of course, you can look at the invoice itself. That’s the final check. But the techniques below will also help. They involve using the Time Log rate and cost columns to display the values you expect from each employee and project.
Consulting rates may be different in future years. For instance, the year 2020 will likely have different rates than today. That means you can set those rates for future years (if you know them). Standard Time uses those future rates for project costing and revenue predictions. Check out this video!
Many consultants sell blocks of support time to their clients. He/she could sell hours for supporting networks, etc. Watch this video for help managing this area of your business.
How blocks of support works
Your consulting firm has a relationship with many companies. Some small, some big. Anytime a consultant goes onsite for a job, ask the manager if they want to purchase a block of support time. Offer some choices. 100 hours, 200 hours, 250, 500, 1000. Anytime the client needs help, you jump in and fix things. That’s because you have a contract for a set number of hours.
Blocks of support time show up in Standard Time® as project tasks. You enter a name and the number of hours for the block of time. Then assign it to a client and project. That’s it. It now shows up in your timesheet and on the smartphone apps.
Getting the software
Put the Standard Time app on your phone. Android or iOS. Each block of time shows up as a Quick Task. Tap a checkbox to start the timer. Tap again to stop. You just charged some time to that block of support time. Your phone will sync with the cloud or desktop. The hours your logged will be charged against the block of time. (It will appear as a task in ST.)
Selling new blocks of time
Standard Time will tell you when a block of time is nearly finished. You simply approach the client with this information. “Would you like to buy another block of time?” The answer will be Yes!
When the client agrees, simply add a new task to ST to represent the new block. The new task will sync with all your Android and iOS devices in the field. Support engineers will see it and begin logging time to it. And the whole process starts over!
Barcode scanning can be used for assembly and manufacturing shops using Standard Time. You put a bar code your work orders and track them with Standard Time. How easy is that!
Imagine knowing how long it takes to assemble a product. Sure, you have a good guess. But you might be shocked to know the actual time. Or the variances. What’s the longest it takes? Or the shortest? What factors contribute to long assembly times? Or the shortest?
Knowing these things can change your business.
How barcode scanning in Standard Time works
First you scan an employee name. That tells the system who is doing the work. Then you scan a project task name. The timer in ST immediately starts. Scan the employee name with the word STOP and the timer stops. Now you know how long this employee worked on that assembly. The software totals up all the employee time for each assembly. Now you have the raw materials for your stats.
Standard Time Timesheets can import Microsoft Project MPP files. Actually, ST talks directly to MSP and brings down tasks into the ST database. Technical talk… sure, but that really just means that you can see your MSP tasks in the ST timesheet. Watch the video and scroll down to read more below.
Standard Time connects directly to MS Project. That allows it to pull down tasks and resources into it’s own database. The end-result is that you can see tasks in the Standard Time employee timesheets. Each employee sees their own tasks. They enter hours into the timesheet. And those ‘actual’ hours can then be sent back to MSP.
What value is this to project managers? It means your actual hours from employee timesheets ‘activates’ your MPP file. With actual work hours, your project comes alive. Tasks may be pushed out because employees are taking longer than expected. Or, they may be pulled in so others can begin. In either case, actual hours affect your schedule in real-world ways.
MSP Task Usage
Need to see how actual work affects task usage? Watch this video below. You’ll see the actual hours from the Standard Time timesheet overlaid on your MSP tasks.