Resource Allocation: Implementation

So we want to update our internal processes with Wrike to get users doing estimated durations (for tasks that aren't templated -- though we intend to make everything templated at a certain point) and the time-tracker so we get real data on resource allocation & properly price the projects we do for clients.
 
My concern is the implementation of this-- as I think many users will "resist" the change OR "be paralyzed from using Wrike" if we are tracking their time spent on projects-- people generally don't like the visibility.
 
So the question is, how have you seen other clients successfully implement these habits/processes of using Time Tracking & Estimated Durations? 
 
I think this update will make it our business much smarter in Hiring, Resource Allocation, and Prioritization-- actually being very beneficial to our workers that are over-allocated
 
Let me know your thoughts or experiences. I'm anxious to hear how many other clients have made success with this.
 
Thanks,
Josh
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Hi Josh,

This isn't the ground breaking testimony for the time function you hoped for... but I do have a couple suggestions.  I've used Wrike for multiple teams, in multiple functions.  In our processes, we don't have a great need for the timer.  However, I have experienced Wrike paralysis and developed behavioral metrics for me and my staff (Wrike and Non-Wrike).

First, if you feel that an important behavior you want to drive is time based - develop a behavioral metric WITH your team.  "Team, we know we want to get faster at X - how would you like to measure this?"  Give them the following constructs (kind of like Mad Libs).  Put a variable in front, a topic in the middle, and a time-period on the end:

95% – On Time Product Delivery – by Friday

# – of leads – by Friday

75% – Quote Win/Loss Ratio – by month-end

I wrote an article on this awhile back that might be helpful:  

Performance Reviews: Interrogation through Indicators

Another stupid suggestion, but I am going to say it, make sure your metric is customer-centric and actually important. 

Regarding Wrike:  Get your people loving the basics of the tool.  Second, be prepared to act on the first person who says "what is this timer doo-hickey" (and they will say it just like that). 

Good Luck, 

Patrick 

P.S. Have you seen this? https://www.wrike.com/deployment

 

 

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Hello,

 

We don't use time tracking in our company to do estimates but I agree with Patrick, I think if you set goals and make it more of a hypothesis, with time tracking serving as how much of a deviation there was from said hypothesis. You could announce it as a research tool, where the goal is to get information not so much measure performance (at least at first) so people won't be as paralyzed as you mention. 

Regards.

 

 

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Time tracking is always hard to set up, and maintain. It is as hard as vital for a lot of organizations, who need it to understand what really happens with the time of their teams.

My advice :

1. explain why time tracking is necessary : if you have no other response than 'I want/need to know what you're doing", let it down, it won't work. it you can clearly present time-tracking as an entry to build better processes WITH your people, it could then work...

2. try to find -in all the uses you'll can have with this time datas- the actions that directly benefits the ones you ask time-tracking.

3. Apply and communicate first of all on those actions : it will give time-tracking a "for better life" tag ;-)

 

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We've tried but it coulnd't be realized good. Sorry

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We tried to do the time tracking a while back and had mixed results.  I think there is a natural hesitancy for a lot of people to feel like they are being babysat and nervous that anything that they will be nit-picked for how much time they spend on certain tasks.  It was helpful in some cases for us to determine how long projects take, though.  We had the most success when we made it clear that we weren't concerned about the time it was taking to complete things - we just wanted to know how long things took so we could budget our time accordingly.

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We don't use the time tracking where I currently work. But I do have to setup the estimates on how long tasks will take for our developers. I prep them on this by thoroughly explaining that I will 'go to bat' for them on the timeline. I pad their timeline and let them know I am doing this because I don't want them working 80 hours a week to get the project done. For me it is about a team approach and letting them know that it isn't just them that the timeline depends on, this has helped.

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Time tracking is not something we are using in my team and I can definitely understand resistance to it. Even learning that Wrike had a time tracking feature caused all sorts of consternation in my team when they found out. I think, as someone above mentioned, if you're able to explain why you want to implement this feature to your team they may be open to it. I've found that as long as there is a baseline of trust, if you explain things logically to a team they will at minimum consider it.

 

Good luck!

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My previous company didnt track time... or anything for that matter.  Everything was a perpetual swarm of chaos, which sales people battling for everyone's attention. 

My current company is HUGE on time-tracking... time is logged weekly using an online portal down to the quarter-hour.  The accounting bottom line is KING.  While great for accounting (who is not required to log time) this tends to be THE biggest pain-point for employees.  I've heard stories of near-anxiety attacks on "Timesheet Tuesdays"

So, I've seen both sides.

But I haven't had to implement.  But my thoughts are:

  • First, you need the policy well clarified and top-dogs in alignment.  This must be championed by a high-level person who has authority to lay down the law, potentially with consequences.  This leaves the manager free to be the "good cop".  If you don't have that, have fun running on a treadmill going  nowhere.
  • Roll out the new policy to employees in a personal way.  Either a small team discussion, if not one-on-one discussions.  Be open to their concerns to clear the air.  Remember, you're the good cop.
  • Explain that it's not about micro-managing individuals... It's about quantifying to gain insight.  It's about holding clients responsible, so either (a) the company bills them appropriately for the employees hard work, or (b) you can reject projects that are a waste of time.  You can't do that if you have no idea which projects are weighing everyone down!  Preferably, this shouldn't be a lie.  
  • If you ARE micro-managing individuals... Few people look at themselves as the weak link, even if they are.  So emphasize the OTHER person or team.  Explain how it will help hold the other person or team responsible for not pulling their weight, which helps who you're talking to to shine even better than they already are.
  • Explain how it this policy will help understand projects, which translates into better client billing, which turns into better salaries / bonuses.  Again, preferably, this shouldn't be a lie.
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Bringing up 'time tracking' definitely created a bit of negativity with my team. And, yes, they didn't like being micro managed by watching their every minute. I sat them down and said: "You can't manage what you can't measure". That is why we are tracking our time, to measure how long it takes and what additional projects we can (or can't) take on.

I met with the team and explained that I'm not expecting every minute of your day to be tracked, but when you are working on a specific project, it is imperative. Utilizing the time tracking, we were able to realize that a project we thought took only 3 days, would actually have to take two weeks, spread out over the days so that we could accomplish our other daily goals. 

We also learned that what felt like it took 'hours' to complete, in actuality only took an hour. This helped with the "I don't have time to do that today" syndrome. Yes, you do, it only takes an hour. 

We love the ability to categorize the time as well, helps us know just where most of our time is spent and where we need to allocate time for other items.

At first, it was hard to get into the habit, especially with interruptions throughout the day. I created a task called Daily Activities. This task's time tracker is for daily activities, checking email, sending faxes, making copies, answering the phone, that kind of stuff. I even had a task once called Interruptions, my assistant and I tracked for a week for all unnecessary interruptions. What an eye opener! So much time.  We created a plan to cut down on them, and have seen major improvement. 

One of the best parts of time tracking - have you ever gotten to the end of the day and said "I feel like I've not accomplished anything", yet you can see, right there in the time log all that you have done. My Assistant particularly likes this part. 

I have an automatic report created that comes out every day at 8 am to all team members showing them their time log for the previous day. They enjoy seeing the recap. 

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Stephen

Hi Sam and Marj, thanks for your brilliant insight here. I find this thread so interesting. Not only discussing the practical side of how to best track time but how to manage your team's expectations and implementation is something I'm sure many managers are concerned about. It's fantastic to get your take on it. I'm sure others reading this thread will learn a lot 🙌

If anyone else tracks time, I'd love to hear your insights!

It really makes me wonder what other implementations are difficult for managers and team leads? We can start a new post and begin a discussion about any obstacles you've overcome from an implementation point of view. Looking forward to hearing from you 👍👍

 

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