Quick Questions: Gantt chart

Henry Gantt invented a chart that is named after him in 1910. This chart is still active today and is used in Standard Time®. It shows the start and finish dates for tasks. And instantly shows the relationship between them.

This is a nice column to display the in the project tasks view. That is, if you are scheduling tasks in projects. Text alone is difficult to visualize. The Gantt chart instantly removes all difficulty in scheduling.

Quick Questions: Milestone Invoicing

Projects are often billed on a one-third, one-third, one-third method. Meaning that you bill 1/3 of the total amount up front, then 1/3 somewhere in the middle, and then finally 1/3 when the project is delivered.

Here’s an easy way to do that. Scroll down for the video

You just set up a milestone configured for a percentage of the project amount. Let’s say the deal is for $30,000. The milestone is set up for 33.333%. Multiple $30,000 times 33.333% and you get $10,000 (rounded up).

Each of the three invoices can use the same milestone. That makes fixed-price billing easy.

Whiteboard: Blocks of Support Time

Are you a consultant? Do you sell blocks of support time to your customers?

Then this video is for you. Scroll down to watch.

You should consider using project tasks to represent blocks of support time you sell to clients. Here how they work:

  1. You create a project task to represent the block to time
  2. Set the ‘Duration’ to the number of hours you sold
  3. Set the ‘Percent Warning’ to 75%
  4. Set the ‘Percent Error’ to 100%
  5. Assign the task to consultants who will be logging hours
  6. When the 75% limit is triggered, you will get an email
  7. Go back to the client and sell the next block
  8. When the 100% limit is triggered, you won’t be able to log any more hours

Sweetness and cool.  🙂

Quick Questions: Task Warnings

What? Employees are camping out on fun tasks, and ditching the losers?

What does that even mean? (scroll down for a video to explain)

It means people sometimes like to stay where they’re at. They like familiarity. Easy work. Tasks where they can switch on the autopilot and Facebook all day.  Okay, fine… Not everybody is a shiftless lay-about. We take our jobs seriously. And our careers. But still… sometimes it’s nice to just keep working the same tasks until they are just “perfect.”

Task warnings shut that stuff off.

They pop up when tasks are supposed to be nearly complete. And they stop time logging when no more time is allowed. That nudges employees to move on and finish projects up. Heck, you can’t afford not to these days.

Whiteboard: DCAA Compliance

The government is a huge bureaucracy that has many rules. When you have a government project they require rules for tracking your time. Any easy way for tracking your time is with Standard Time® which has DCAA compliance built in.

Employees on your team will have to follow these rules, plus others:

  1. Employees should enter hours on the day they occur, so they are more accurate and nothing is forgotten.
  2. One employee cannot enter hours for another. No ghost posting.
  3. If you make a change to previous entries, you should enter a note explaining the change.
  4. Each employee must have a username (and password) so their postings are associated with this name. That means you can’t use a spreadsheet because change to spreadsheet are anonymous.
  5. Employees must submit timesheets so there is an electronic signature associated with this action.
  6. Managers must approve [submitted] hours for employees.

Quick Questions: Expense Templates

Expense templates simplify  entry for recurring expenses or mileage.

Scroll down for video

Let’s say you incur the same expenses on a regular basis. The happen weekly or monthly. Here are some examples:

  1. Mileage, driving to and from a client office
  2. Items you resell to clients on a regular basis
  3. Shipping and receiving the same items and weight

There’s a simple way to enter these items instead of completing all the fields or all the expenses. Just create an expense template with all the fields pre-populated, and then enter a quantity into the timesheet.

For the examples above:

  1. Enter the number of miles to the client office
  2. Enter a quantity of items you resold to clients
  3. Enter a quantity of items you packaged and shipped


Whiteboard: Customize Client Invoices

While sending out invoices to clients why not customize them? Start with your logo. Then update the fonts and colors to your corporate style. Add some graphics and colored text blocks

The Standard Time® invoice templates are simple RTF documents. So all this is easy in MS Word. Once you have your client invoice the way you like it, all your new invoices will use that new format.

Quick Questions: Graphical Timesheet

Timesheets can display a huge amount of textual information. And that can drive some of you nuts. So here’s an alternative.

A graphical timesheet.

The graphical timesheet displays time log records in block form, sort of like your Outlook calendar. Each block represents a single time log or time off request. Start and stop times are plotted on a weekly calendar so you can easily see which day and hour they fell on.

Drag and dropping time logs simply changes the start and stop times, or the duration, depending on the drag operation.

Quick Questions: Time Off Requests

Every employee, business owner, independent contractor, consultant or small business owner takes time off from their job. The following video will show how Standard Time® handles vacation requests.

New hours are accrued periodically, and hours are subtracted from that bank as time off requests are approved. Manager receive an email notification when time off is requested. And employees get another email when the request is approved or rejected.

Quick Questions: Sync Apps with Cloud

You can use your smartphone for tracking time and expenses. The information goes directly to your boss. Well sort of.  🙂

It goes up to the cloud or desktop, depending on how you sync your time and expenses.

Is that better?

The good thing is that your Android or iOS time tracking app syncs with something. It gets data from the phone to your on-premise database.  Just give it a URL to sync with, and any records you enter will automatically be sent.

That means you can track time anywhere. Even in the office. Think about that… you can pull out your phone and track project time, even in a meeting, or in front of your computer. You don’t to touch a keyboard if you don’t want to.