anonymous tech woman

Yet another woman in technology blog. I'm actually a developer who uses a variety of Java and database technologies on a variety of platforms.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Time Sheets

One of the things that I seem to spend about 1 to 3 hours a week doing in all the office jobs I have ever done is filling in time sheets.

In my administrative jobs time sheets where easy they were just paper-based sheets where you put in the number of hours a day you were at the office. You didn't need to break it down by tasks so if you were in the office from 9 to 5 or 5.30 and had lunch, you just put the correct number in the appropriate box.

In my tech jobs all companies decide to break down their time sheet into tasks so they can bill the customer correctly. However all companies start of simply - with an Excel Spreadsheet and the customer name in full, so if you spend 3 hours on Monday working for Customer X you can just put that in. The time sheet takes about 5 minutes to complete.

Then the time sheets get more complicated as the company is now doing two or more tasks for customer X. So now you have to work out whether you were working on the Widgets 1 Account for Customer X or the Super Widgets Account for Customer X. This is still quite simple because all you learn to do is write either on a scrap of paper, in your diary or even update the sheet daily what you were doing i.e. Tuesday Super Widgets Account Customer X 7 hours. The time sheet takes 10 minutes to complete.

Then the company decides that the Spreadsheets are too complicated so they have to go and get a Web-based or SAP time sheet system. Not only do they do that they decide that they need to break down the tasks for Customer X into more meaningful items, and because now there are so many tasks they need to give each task a code. Also now they also have Customer A, Customer D, Customer F and Customer XC so each customer has to be given a code as well.

So while you are still record daily what you do i.e. Wednesday Super Widgets Account Customer X 4 hours you find that when you come to complete your time sheet on a Friday you need to work out whether Customer X was XCD or XFD and whether Super Widgets was task SuperWidgets Dev or Super Widgets Design.

This gets you fustrated so you put in the same thing for every incidence of Customer X who is now code XFD. Then you work out your hours match the required total and press "Submit". To get to this stage has now increased from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

This is where the real fustration starts. You discover that you cannot put the same task, Super Widgets Dev in for more than 2 days in a row for XFD. So you now have to go through and change everything. Finally after another 30 minutes you press "Submit". And the time sheet is sent. It has only taken you 60 minutes to get to this stage.


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