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Timesheets... - The highs and lows of KuteLuvr

About Timesheets...

Previous Entry Timesheets... Apr. 2nd, 2006 @ 10:34 am Next Entry
Wow, did I pick a good time to leave the HP...

When I first started at HP, it was a very "open" company... that is, things had a definate structure... but it wasn't rigorous structure. You knew (or were told) what you needed to do, but how you achieved your goals was very much up to you. Where your time went, how it was spent, etc., was up to your own understanding or decision of priorities. Making sure your time was well spent was entirely your call.

HP (especially since Mark Hurd took over, and further with the hire of Randy Mott) has been moving closer and closer to the "Do as much as possible with as little as possible" mantra. It's all in the name of cutting expenses, which HP could definately do more of. However, the direction they're taking with this is to hyper-manage things down to the individual resource-minute, which is just insane. It's micro-management and the macro-management level. Dollars are mapped to projects, and projects are assigned to development resources (aka, headcount, aka, people), which are the primary expenditure of those dollars. So, the only way to justify your headcount is to make sure that everyone is associated 100% to a project.

To some degree this all makes sense... you want to make sure your spending your money in places where things are actually getting done.... but it has a lot of drawbacks... it eliminates the idea that you trust your people to spend their time in the right places... it eliminates the idea that some things that need to be done aren't necessarily tied to project activities (ex., maintenance)... it creates angst between projects (since if you're time is supposed to be split between projects, say 50/50, both projects will have a firm belief that they deserve the FIRST 50%), which also results in a huge amount of pressure on the developers... it practically eliminates any ability to flex the time required... and it creates a ton of management overhead, since practically every minute needs to be managed and accounted for.

...and to that end, we have the final destination that I've seen coming for a long, long time... Timesheets. As an "exempt" (aka, salaried) employee, I've never need to define where my time has been spent. I mean, I've had the "I'm taking vacation" timesheet, but not a project timesheet. I've never had to say "I spent 5 minutes here, 10 minutes here, 32.925 minutes here", etc... and I've never wanted to. I HATE that kind of definition and pressure. I've always done my job... I've always focused on the things that were the most effective use of my time... and I've always focused on ensuring that everything I did created a net-negative of time consumption going forward. Now, effective sometime in May, every developer is going to have to keep a timesheet of where their time has been spent... and it's not hard to extrapolate out that this could be percieved as a justification of one's job. This is maybe 70% good for the business... but it's going to be 99% bad for the employees.

I'm so glad I'm leaving... so, so, so glad...
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From:soundofthemoon
Date:April 2nd, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC)

ugh!

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I so very much agree with you on this. I've never seen a company institute that kind of time tracking in a way that didn't create a lot of overhead or reduce employee morale. There is always a cost associated with aquiring information, including what people are spending their time on. If you want to track time to a sufficient level of accuracy to give you meaningful data, it's going to be so much overhead that usually the benefit of knowing that information will be more than offset by the cost of gathering the information. At my last job, it literally took me a couple hours a month to just enter all the stupid data they wanted to track all the projects I worked on, not to mention the bullshit projections for the upcoming month. Then there was the time spent getting them to create new categories in the system to reflect new projects, workarounds to deal with the broken system, etc. It was such a gross task that eventually the director of our department told everyone to give their numbers to his admin assistant and she would then spend about 20% of her time each week entering that data into the system. I'm so glad I don't work there anymore!
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From:sierra_nevada
Date:April 3rd, 2006 06:42 am (UTC)
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I once worked for the US Postal Service for six weeks. I had to punch a timeclock in & out, every working day. After that, I swore I never would do that, ever again.
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From:penny_lane33
Date:April 3rd, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)
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God, that does suck. That is the one thing that I absolutely LOVE about my job. I enter in my hours to payroll a month in advance. The only "record" my boss wants of our hours is a weekly planner of where we "think" we may be the upcoming week (i.e. stores we will be hitting). It is never right so he normally pays no attention to them.

I love, love, love my job!!!!!
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