Consultant Time Tracking Tips

Time entries can help you gain valuable insight into inefficiencies with how time is allocated. However, it’s only as good as the data you have. It’s import that time entries be logged in a way that is meaningful. A detailed comment, is unfortunately not enough. Your time tracking system needs to have the capability to categorize time entries. Without categorization you can’t know the total costs of things.

Think of what information you would like to see during and after the project is over. For example, if you would like to see the following chart.

 

Then these are the category options that you should have on your time entry system. Every business is different and is concerned with different things. For company A meetings might be a subset of communications. Or it might be important to separate client communication from internal communication. It is important that there are not too many categories. When data is broken down too granular it has a tendancy to lose its meaning. Categories should be different enough and generic enough to quickly and easily choose from when logging time.

The description of what is done during the time should be a single sentence, but enough to point someone in the right direction if more information is needed. After all, we want to utilize the consultant for more programming rather than becoming a court reporter. If more information is needed the time entry comment should be enough to point a resource towards a tag, branch, or issue # for more detail.

If these metrics are important to you then you will need to audit it tightly. Review this at least weekly to make sure that the entries you need are present. If you get to the end of the project and want to know why you are over budget and then realize your consultants have been logging 10 hour days to “Development” or “On Site Support” then it is too late. You can never reclaim that information and any attempts to would produce fictitious results. Knowing where your inefficiencies lay could give you the ammo to ensure that they are improved on the next go round.

Time is a very large part of the equation when working with consultants.  So be prepared and figure out what knowledge you want to glean from where they spend their time.

Read the first part in our series.  How to get more out of your consultant

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  • Scott Denver

    Its a real fact that time management is one of the most required hack of successful completion of any work force. And when the talk comes with a consulting firm, it really reveals the effectiveness for the requirement. One of the fact that I would like to derive your focus into is its not practically easy to manage the time as the world has acquired a steady speed and to accordingly to cope up with the same, the basic necessity for the time management does keep importance.

    I own a firm basically which deals with the freelancing projects, its a kind of consulting only. ANd I know better that how much importance time tracking is for our business. After struggling a lot with the time management practice, the real fact that I derived is time tracking is more important to be followed rather than time management. When ever we take a step forward for time tracking, time management automatically goes up with the segment.

    Well overall I would like to say that the tips mentioned here are clear and upto the mark and is subjected to a successful and streamlined end up of any tasks initiated there of.

    • Martin Murphy

      Thanks for the comment Scott. Any strides that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear what’s happening in the wild.