Timecards and Timewriting: how to manage this as a process

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This is not going to be an article that holds ready-to-use scripting code or instructions. In this article I would like to share some experiences and new insights we gained at a customer of ours.
This customer is a well-respected name and runs an enterprise business in the manufacturing industry.
They’ve been using specialized Project & Portfolio management applications for some years now and they had a working process in place but were not too happy with how it all worked.
The costs for the application(s) and the management and functional adjustments to this were not pleasing them to say the least.

Since they got “exposed” to Service-now.com some time ago now, they are now fully aware of the SaaS-concept and the (cost)benefits this can bring.
And since the Project & Portfolio Management v2 functionality became available in the Spring 2010 release, this customer started exploring the Service-now.com project-related functionalities as well.

And they are right: if you have it, can use it (because you are auto upgraded) and are entitled to use it – why not spend some time to investigate!
Great attitude, I like it J.
And maybe there are cost-savings to be gained, you might never know if you don’t check it out…..

Soon this customer realized that they could split up the organization into 2 area’s when it concerns PPM functionality:

1. The IT related projects side;
2. The core business related projects side

Both were running (separate) PPM applications, configured and used differently. They quickly realized that benefits were to be gained, but didn’t want to take high risks, so therefore decided to take the lead as IT before advising this to their business customers.

Another good sample here I think: eat your own technology – and first try it yourself before advising it to others.

Now for this customer PPM came down to 2 basic functionalities:

A: Timewriting is key! Timewriting “drives” the financial side of the organization and money talks!
B: Project Management to great detail is difficult to enforce and poorly adhered to.

To start with the Project Management part – the customer handled that very pragmatically.
They chose to administer projects as generically as possible. Basic project administration, but do register ALL projects in SNC to keep track of all projects in one (1) consolidated place.
Detailed project management is up to the project manager and he can use Service-now.com to do this or use whatever detailed project apps he/she wants – which often seems to be Excel or MS Project.
However, all required and assigned project resources need to administer time spent on projects they are assigned to via SNC timewriting.
Again: timewriting is key!

So together with this customer we implemented a full timewriting functionality that finds it base in the out-of-the-box SNC Timecards functionality.
I deliberately say “finds its base”, because although the Timecard functionality is great, to use it and make manageable process from it requires some adjustments.

And the customer needed it to be a manageable and approvable process, so we introduced the concept of Timesheets.
A Timesheet is a roll-up of Timecards for one (1) week and are managed per resource (=individual).
Timesheets get submitted per week by the resources that (needs to) write time and Timesheets require management approval (or rejection of course).
Looking at a Timesheet a manager can immediately determine if resources administered/booked all of their time.
Timesheets are manageable entities where Timecards are a lot less manageable – since you can have many, many Timecards in one (1) week if you work on different tasks in the system.
Let alone if you are a manager of say a team of 10 resources, all generating 10 Timecards per week; that’s a 100 Timecards to manage!

The whole Timesheet and Timecard generation has been automated and configured according to this customer’s process.
But it made good sense and very much applicable to many if you ask me!

Last, but not least, all approved Timesheets (and their related Timecards) drive the financial process.
All information gets recorded in a separate table – to be able to export the info, do reporting on it and make it auditable.
Quite some intelligence went in there to be able to work with (agreed) different hourly resource rates, rates that are related to resource schedules, the resource currency etc.

As I’m sure you understand I cannot share the development/coding work we performed for this customer.
But I can share the general idea and concept – and that is what I just did!

If you want to know more about this, don’t hesitate and drop me a mail at fred.kouwenberg@2e2.nl .

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