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Planview Customer Success Center

Encouraging Adoption by Time Users and Timesheet Approvers

Time tracking improves the ability to accurately forecast project timelines and deliverables, helping to predict and measure task and project progress. It enables you to realize billing and chargebacks, understand resource rates and perform quick reconciliations, and generally manage expenses. Visibility into what your resources are working on, whether task, portfolio, or administrative, helps you ensure appropriate balance. To get the full power out of time tracking in PPM Pro it is essential that your users enter and submit accurate information and that your approvers diligently review to correct or approve; user adoption is a must for success. Below are various time tracking adoption challenges and methods to overcome them that have been experienced and have worked for our customers. If you also have adoption challenges for other roles and users, please see the Encouraging Adoption by Project Managers, Resource Managers, and Others topic. If you have an example not portrayed below that you would be willing to share, please email productmanagement-ppmpro@planview.com and we will gladly add it!

Timesheet Adoption Obstacle Adoption Methods

Organization has never had to report time before now, and change is never easy.

Users had a poor experience with a prior timesheet reporting system.

 

  1. Communicate about the upcoming time tracking effort:
    • Target messages to key groups and users, focusing on the importance of their role in the process (people-focused, not time reporting-focused) and with transparency for pros and cons
      • Meaningful posters for what is coming and why
      • Leadership videos and messages reinforcing the importance (and ideally, that they are participating too!)
      • Meaningful and helpful email campaign, before, during, and after rollout, with links and attachments to training materials
    • Be concise but informative, remember this is extra effort so value your people's time
    • Share organizational, departmental, and user benefits and expectations, emphasizing how people's input is important (see Stepping into Resource Management topic, Step 3: Analyze the Basics)
      • Highlights when a person is working too many hours, to help justify additional people and resources (see Track Time to Inform Allocations PPM Pro Business Value topic)
      • Highlights when a person is stretched too thin, working on too many things
      • Eliminates the need for manual resource timekeeping, which can be inaccurate and take unnecessary effort
      • Enables comparison of budget to actual costs, identifying variances and needed adjustments
      • Enables reporting on hours spent by project, including capturing capitalized vs. operational work
      • Enables billing for time worked, for internal people's billable work and for contract labor
      • Is needed for SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) or other controls and compliance
      • Helps the organization to better manage key projects and key people
      • Allows a person to quickly update hours to complete a task without having to visit that task directly, in case more (or less) time is needed
      • And any other benefits that will resonate with your timesheet users
  2. Involve users in the implementation and on-going process:
    • Discuss with users existing stigmas and concerns about time reporting; use logic to dissolve concerns and the intent is NOT to micro-manage or be Big Brother, this is all about helping the company to understand work and make the case for additional people when needed
    • Identify the value to the user, letting them know their input is important and critical for success
    • Continually re-evaluate how time reporting is being accepted, adjusting process as appropriate
  3. Provide training, live or by videos and with concise Quick Reference and How To materials, being sure to demonstrate time saving features, such as:
    • Timesheet entry pinning, so the user doesn't have to add a task with each new timesheet period
    • Use of Total time field entry, so that the user doesn't have to enter daily time if they want an even spread across the timesheet period
    • Use of Entry Notes, Timesheet Note, and Bulk Edit Notes to document work status and progress, in lieu of a separate status report to their manager
  4. Ensure that only users whose timesheet reporting is key are required to enter timesheets
    • Individuals whose work impacts project financials and compliance
    • Management of those individuals, so that they can "share the pain" and show that even they are doing what's best for the company!
  5. Simplify timesheet entry requirements
    • Ensure only truly needed information is included within the timesheet entry; avoid adding required or even optional fields that aren't meaningful to the user and don't support key data analysis
    • Decrease the number of tasks a user could charge time to
      • Use timesheet filters to weed out unlikely and unnecessary tasks, making sure your project managers are aware of the filter rules so they know what tasks will and will not show up for time entry
      • Consider if a single "Time tracking" task within a project is sufficient
  6. Use time reporting and published dashboards to:
    • Show where and how much people are working, highlighting over/under worked people and how time is spent
    • Justify the need for additional resources to meet work demand and shift work when necessary
    • Slice and dice time by strategic business objective, by division, by different project categories, by project vs. admin/keeping the lights on work, and many others
  7. Congratulate and reward
    • Communication on successes and improvements in adoption and compliance
    • Leadership recognition of groups, departments, and potentially individuals
    • Tangible and meaningful rewards for participation
    • Sincere thank you emails and messages for success
Users come and go, such as consultants that rotate in and out of the resource pool, continuously.

See Adoption Methods listed above, particularly 1 Communicate and 3 Training, to assist with time reporting onboarding.

Users forget to submit timesheets.

 

  1. Use timesheet alerts to remind resources about submitting timesheets
    • Set up a daily alert to all resources whose timesheets are overdue
    • Set up a daily alert to the immediate supervisor of all resources whose timesheets are overdue...or you can cc the supervisor on the individual resource alerts per bullet above, but that will generate an email per resource versus having a single email listing all of the overdue resource timesheets
    • If after a few weeks there are still users who are chronically late, set up a daily or weekly reminder for "Unsubmitted but not overdue" timesheets ahead of when timesheets are due
    • Ensure there are timesheet alerts "On user action" for rejected timesheets, so that users understand they need to make corrections and resubmit
  2. Enable mobile timesheet access for your organization, so that users have an easy alternative way to enter their time
  3. Show timesheet reporting performance
    • Track and publicize relevant organization and departmental performance for on-time reporting (see Stepping into Resource Management topic, Step 3: Analyze the Basics)
    • Start friendly competitions between groups and departments
    • If feasible, incentivize with tangible rewards (such as report on-time for a half, get an extra half day off)
Approvers forget to approve timesheets.
  1. Use timesheet alerts to remind approvers about approving timesheets
    • Set up a daily alert to all approvers (Project Manager (PM) and/or Final) whose approvals are overdue
    • If after a few weeks there are still approvers who are chronically late, set up a daily or weekly reminder for "Pending PM/final approval" timesheets ahead of when approvals are due
  2. Consider if it would be acceptable to automate the approval process by adjusting your organization's Timesheet Settings
    • If Project Managers need to be part of the approval process
    • If timesheets could be automatically approved <n> days after submission
  3. Enable mobile timesheet access for your organization, so that users have an easy alternative way to approve timesheets
  4. Show timesheet approval performance
    • Track and publicize relevant organization and departmental performance for on-time approvals (see Stepping into Resource Management topic, Step 3: Analyze the Basics)
    • Start friendly competitions between groups and departments
    • If feasible, incentivize with tangible rewards