Do we still need timesheets?

It is 2020, and we still need to fill these timesheets,
We are working on an agile project,
who needs a timesheet these days?
It involves time….

Well, these statements are ubiquitous among employees across industries, who are required to fill timesheets. Are timesheets a thing of the past? Or do they provide any relevant data for organizations? The answer is yes, they do provide insights to critical data points and it’s not necessary to be time-consuming and unproductive activity. Though balancing the time tracking and productivity loss can be a challenge but it needs the right level of governance as well.

We need to align the business’s specific requirements with the time capturing activity. It may vary for different organizations and within organizations as well.

With Agile principles in full swing, the timesheets are also evolving, though without making headlines. There are different options of reporting time, based on the organization’s governance and needs of the different stakeholders.

The probable options for timesheets could be:

  • Traditional timesheets for project planning (i.e., actuals based on planned work)
  • Manager-level timesheets (i.e., summary time tracking by a team’s manager)
  • Automated timesheets in Agile organizations (i.e., actuals based on card movement on a Kanban board)
  • Individual timesheets

While using resource management to plan upcoming projects, the accuracy of planned work relies on the actual time spent. There could be some exceptions to allow individuals to tweak entries and a manager’s approval on this ensures that actuals are correct.

The managers can submit high-level timesheets on behalf of the project team, wherein the planned work of a certain period is mentioned and they just submit the actual (with tweaks, if required). It is another view of timesheets without the hassle of filling daily timesheets.

The Kanban board considers OpEx (Operational Expenses) & CapEx (Capital Expenditure) differently. The activities are categorized by type of work i.e.: planning, building, or support tasks. The cards are laid in different lanes and the efforts are linked to precise OpEx/CapEx codes. The card movement across lanes on the Kanban board determines the actual time. It considers the card count and time spent in each lane along with the individual’s available time. Well, in all this time, we didn’t open our actual timesheets.

Now comes our traditional timesheets; most people hate submitting timesheets even when it is required for billing and governance. Logging timesheets at the end of the workweek for 5-10 minutes, doesn’t push the weekend far. Just need to check the planned work & include any additional work to log time.

From a governance perspective, managers need to approve the timesheet logs, so that if something is not correct, it can be adjusted and corrected by the team members.

Well, Timesheets are there to stay, as they continue to provide critical information about the project status and are used to split costs into CapEx & OpEx codes. The organizations can choose the option or combinations that serve the organization’s need for data and governance.