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Author: Elyse, PMP, CPHIMS
October 14, 2009

Once I was sitting in a meeting with a soon to be appointed director, we were discussing resource needs for a new implementation and the risk we had as all 5 critical projects needed the same single resource at the same time. The poor individual would have had to develop a time machine and clone himself to perform those heroics. The upcoming director mentioned an open position on the team and said once filled that new team member could work 40 hours a week on the projects. Needless to say it was time for a discussion about the brutal facts of bringing a new individual on board, the time it would take from our single resource, and that it is rare to plan on 40 hours a week project time from any resource. All this really brings home two statements, one you can't manage if you can't measure, and two you measure to get the outcomes desired.

It is a good practice to have an understanding of where your resources spend their time and how time is spent. Our intent is not to demean the salaried individual into a clock in/clock out in 8 and out by 4:30. Just to see how the time is spent.

Please keep in mind that our team members are the individuals recording the amount of time. A standard guideline is needed as to what time goes into what category, and to highly encourage team members to add time information daily.

As a manager, the categorization of time I like to see are as follows:
  • Capital - This time category is for the effort being dispersed on Capital projects. Normally a decision has been made to include the resource effort as a part of the capitalization of the effort. Includes all activities pertaining to the implementation of this solution, including meetings, training, emails, and tasks
  • Implement - This time category is for implementations, which are operationally funded projects. Again, includes all project relevant efforts.
  • Enhance - This time category is for enhancing already existing systems with new functionality.
  • Break/Fix - This time category is for the effort extended to put out the production fires.
  • Support - This time category is for the care and feeding to keep the systems running and operational. Data Table updates, Access Administration, and customer liaison meetings are commonly included in this category
  • Operations - This time category is for the manual activity that must be completed either daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. For example using this category identified once we had an individual spending an hour every day manually integrating two systems. Which provided an automation opportunity
  • Administration - This time is for internal meetings within IS not related to the above categories, time spent donating towards community efforts, phone calls, and emails.
  • Days Off - This is the vacation or sick time.

Commonly we group our report, by departments, teams, and then individuals, including the total hours available, and the total worked. It is key to remember these numbers are not carved in stone, and can be slowly transitioned into the desired outcome. However, you need to know where you are going as a team.

Further Readings on Taming Chaotic Project Management:

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