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Oct 16 – How Many Hours Have You Worked?

October 2016

Written by Evelyn D. Brooks, MSM, PMP, SSGB

Project Time Management includes many processes, such as activity definition, sequencing, estimating, schedule development, and controlling. But, what about resource time management; how do you manage your contractor’s work time? Large size companies generally have elaborate time management and payroll systems to help them track, manage and report on their employee’s work time. However, outside of an enterprise system or project schedule, most are not set up to handle temporary workers, such as vendors/contractors. This system deficiency leaves the method of managing contractor’s time up to the discretionary of Project Manager to establish a tool and method for accomplishing this task.

Very often that system or tool of choice is a report format using MS Excel. As shown below in figure 1.0 is an example of a typical Excel timesheet report. It may contain the following fields (rows, and columns): Project Name, Reporting Period, Employee Name, Authorized Hours, Dates, Hours Worked, Total Work Hours and Hours Remaining.

Figure 1.0

Not all contractors’ contractual agreements are created equal. Sometimes, they are only contracted to work a specific number of hours within a reporting period. In this figure 1.0, to note this difference are cells to indicate each contractor’s authorized number of work hours. As you can see, James is authorized to work a 40 hour week, whereas, Denise and Ken are only contracted to work 20 hours per week.

To count the number of hours, use the sum function in the total cells =SUM(C6:C12)
To count the remaining hours, subtract the total from authorized cell =C3-C13
To quickly identify time reporting issues, you can create color indicators, as shown in figure 1.0. In that example, the color red identifies an overage of the employees authorized work hours, yellow indicates the number of hours worked has not exceeded the number of authorized numbers and green lets you know that the hours authorized and worked match.

Creating Traffic Light Indicators

To create color indicators as shown in figure 1.0, select the cell(s) where you would like the indicator to appear. From the menu bar, select Conditional Formatting > New Formatting Rule. Then set up the rule as shown in figure 2.0:

Figure 2.0

As you can see, this is a very quick and easy report to create and manage. You can minimize your work of creating a work sheet for each reporting period by adding multiple weeks to create a biweekly, monthly or quarterly report. To manage and report on individual consultants, you can also create a worksheet for each consultant and add additional fields such as description of work performed, contract number, etc.

Most project managers, and I’m sure you’re no exception are super busy and don’t have much time to enter employee’s time. If this sounds like you, simply lock down the fields that you don’t want others to change, upload your file to a shared space, such as Google Docs, Dropbox SharePoint, or other approved document management system.

I’d love to hear your comments on other easy and inexpensive ways to track and manage your contractors’ hours worked. I hope you found this information helpful, if so please like and share!

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