Monthly Archives: December 2015

Whiteboard: Customer Login and App

Is the client asking again? What’s the project status? What tasks are you working on? Is that big task complete? How about the other one? Do you think you can finish by July? No? How about August. September?

Every day, since January!

Why not let the client check project status without asking. The following video shows how.

There are two ways: 1. Let the client log into your project portal. They will see every project you’re doing for them, and the current status. They will see every time log and expense logged to a selected project. And 2. Let the client download ProjectBot from the Google Play Store. They can see all the same status down on their phones.

Consulting Software

If you’re a freelancer or consultant, you’re in the right place. The video below is for you. It demo’s some great software for time tracking and project management that we all use in the consulting biz.

Scroll down to view it.

Consulting can be a fun business, especially if you’re solving difficult problems and producing something of lasting value. Consulting is good honest work, and you should be proud to one.

But what software are you using? Because that can change the whole universe for you.

Consulting requires software the following disciplines. So, what are you using? Is it working?

      1. Time tracking
      2. PTO tracking
      3. Client invoicing
      4. Project management
      5. Client management
      6. Relationship management
      7. Employee management

See how the software below can do those things for you, and make consulting fun again. 🙂

QuickBooks Integration

This video will show you how to integrate QuickBooks with Standard Time®.

Standard Time is a project tracker. Track time to clients and jobs, and then send those hours to QB for invoicing and payroll. But once you’ve sent those hours over to QuickBooks, consider all the other project charts and reports you can get from ST.

  1. Project revenue chart
  2. Resource allocation and employee availability charts
  3. Project triangles
  4. Employee status
  5. Hours and overtime
  6. Project history

Time Off Calendar

When taking time off work to take the family on vacation you will need to get that time off approved. Standard Time® allows you to see other coworkers time off schedule, holiday time and company day’s off.

Why is it important to see coworker’s time off?  (watch the informative video below)

So you can make sure the whole department doesn’t leave on the same day. Somebody has to man the fort. Not only can you see how many others will take time off, you can see the meetings you will miss. Most of those are a welcomed break, but some may be important.

Here is the lifespan of a time off request:

  1. Employee submits request for time off
  2. Email is sent to manager
  3. Manager reviews and approves
  4. Hours are subtracted from employee bank
  5. Employee optionally modifies the request
  6. The hours are put back into the bank
  7. An email is sent to manager again
  8. Manager re-approves
  9. New hours are subtracted from employee bank
  10. Email is automatically sent to employee notifying them of new approval
  11. Employee takes the actual time off

 

Quick Questions: Categories for Time Tracking

Define the kinds of work you do with customizable lists. The items in this list are called Categories.

So what good are categories for time tracking? (the video below tells, or read on…)

Categories break your work down to the basics. How much time do your project team spend on design work? Development? Testing? Sales? Meetings? Categories can tell you that.

It doesn’t matter which projects you worked on. It doesn’t matter which client or task. For now, you just care about how much time is spent on each type of work. Do you spend more than 10% on admin? More than 5% on meetings? Notice that those things are not project related. How about more than 25% on design? Or 50% on development. Those items are project related, but you don’t care which project. You just want to know how much time is spent on the basic activity.

Assign categories to project tasks, and you will instantly know these breakdowns. You can even get a pie chart that shows the breakdown. That would probably be interesting to know!

Quick Question: Customize Employee Rights

Did you know you can customize what employees can see and do in their timesheet?

Scroll down and watch the video…

You don’t have to let employees see all the time and expenses for other employees, and all the projects, and all the clients in your system. Instead, you can customize what they see and do. By default, all non-admins cannot see other employee hours. But you can cut that view down even further. You can assign projects and clients, so they see only the relevant ones. You can remove some of the other default views in the program, like Time Off, Project Tasks, and Billing. You can prevent certain project billing fields from being edited.

Those are the things you can do with user rights.

Choose Tools, Users and Organization. Right-click on a user and choose User Rights…

Quick Questions: Project Assignments By Skill

Find the right employee for your project. Search by skill, certification or discipline and find out if the employee is available at the time you need them.

Project managers use the technique in this video to find employees to add to their projects. Each employee has a list of comma-separated skills, disciplines, or certifications. Project managers can search for employees by those skills. Their availability is shown, which helps the PM decide if that person is right for the job.

Quick Questions: Quick Task Timer Window

Need to know exactly how long your projects are taking? Or how long tasks take? Or employees are working? There a timesheet feature for that. (scroll down to see it in action, and see the “deer slayer” explain everything)

The Quick Task window is your time tracking answer.

Every task that shows up in your timesheet also shows up in the Quick Task window. There is a checkbox next to each one. Ever seen it? Choose View, Quick Tasks to open the QT window. And just click the checkbox to start and stop the timer. That makes time tracking easy.

Do that for a while and see what happens.

You’ll quickly see how long you’re spending on projects. The actual start and stop times guarantee that. Reports will collect up all that project time and show the total. Or, you can click the Project Tasks tab to see each task total, and the project total at the top.

You’ll see a dozen other things in the Project Tasks tab worth checking out. Most of that information is based on the actual hours you collected when tracking task hours in the Quick Task window. Here are some of them: Actual work, percent complete, client cost, client actual cost.

So you see… this is more than just a time tracker!

Whiteboard: Project Portfolio Management

Here’s a project management tip: collect projects into portfolios for reporting and search capabilities. (scroll down for a video)

Project portfolios are really just collections of projects. It’s what you do with the whole collection that makes them special. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the actual projects inside the portfolio; I’m talking about the big black box itself — the actual portfolio. Consider what you can do with the entire entity.

At the bottom of this discussion are employees busy tracking time to actual projects. They don’t care or know anything about the portfolios their projects are in. They just know which tasks their assigned to, and getting those done.

At the top of the discussion are big boxes called portfolios. They just happen to contain active (and perhaps inactive) projects. But it’s the portfolio we’re interested in. How much time did we spend? How much money did we make? Which portfolios are the most profitable? And the losers? Should we shift priorities to include certain portfolios, or keep things as they are?

These are the kinds of high-level questions you can ask of project portfolios, and what typically make up the “scary” subject of Project Portfolio Management. Now that you know what it is, don’t let it scare you; instead, start using the phrase around the office and try out some of these techniques.

You’ll be an instant project management expert!

Quick Questions: Time Tracking for Mac

Yes, Standard Time® does run on Apple products. That includes the desktop-Mac, iPhone and iPad. The screens look just like the PC screens.

The video below shows Standard Time on a Safari web browser. You can track time and expenses, plus PTO and vacation accruals. Every timesheet and time tracking feature you might see on Windows or Linux is available on the Mac. And it runs as nice as any browser.

Just so you know, this is not a native Mac time tracking app. But it does work nicely on Safari browser on the Mac. The actual app is running on a Windows IIS Web server, and is being served up to any clients that wish to log in. Those clients could be Windows systems or Mac or Linux or any other. Windows is just the server, but any client can log in.

Standard Time does not have a native Mac app. But it does have a native iOS app that runs natively on iPhone and iPad. That version is available in the Apple Store. It’s not as functional as the version you see in the video below. The native iOS time tracking app is intended for short bursts of use while away from the office, like at client sites or at home. It syncs with the Web Edition you see here using web services over your data plan or Wi-Fi. All your time and expense records end up on the Windows Server database where they are available for reporting and decision-making.

Check out the Safari browser running Standard Time below.