If you’d like to know what your team are working on and how long tasks are taking, then ask your team to fill in basic timesheets. Unfortunately, if you mention “timesheets” to team members they will often groan! So learn these 5 steps on how to encourage your team to do timesheets. Make it easy for your team to record their time with these 5 simple steps.
Step 1: Explain why you are collecting data
People are more likely to complete their timesheets if they know what you are doing with the information. Explain how it helps you manage the project more effectively. You can tell them that it provides really useful information to validate the estimates and it ensures that everyone is working on the right things at the right times. You can adapt the project schedule depending on how quickly tasks are being done.
Step 2: Make it easy
One of the reasons why people don’t complete timesheets is because they are difficult to fill in. They don’t have to be. Choose an online project management tool that allows everyone on the team to complete their timesheet information with a few clicks. Look for one that has a ‘copy previous week’ button to save even more time.
Step 3: Link the data to the project plan
Ideally your timesheet data should link automatically to the project plan so team members don’t have to complete two sets of information. They will feel as if the software is actually helping them to do their job instead of asking them to fill in lots of forms for seemingly no purpose.
Step 4: Share the reports
Time tracking reports allow you to see if your project is running on time or if you are behind schedule. These can be really useful tools to help you manage the project successfully. You can also see how much time has been spent on the project to date. Showing the reports to your team members can help reinforce the message that their timesheet data is very valuable and that it is worth completing the timesheets.
Review the reports before you share them with the team as you don’t want confidential information to be available publicly. That shouldn’t be a problem for most projects but it is worth checking before you send the information to everyone.
Step 5: Review your estimates
Finally, use your timesheet information to review your estimates on the project. If a task is taking longer than expected, this is a great time to change your project schedule as appropriate. Use the historical data from timesheets to better predict the future. After all, if a task took longer than expected, chances are that your estimate was a bit optimistic and you’ll need to review it for next time.
Explain to your team why you have asked them to do timesheets and make use of all the functionality to make completing them a breeze.