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#28: Keeping Time Records

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, April 14, 2009
My client just wants me to track my hours on a weekly basis and submit totals with my monthly invoice. How good should my records be to track time for a client?

Tracking your work is for your benefit as well as for your client. Just because your client only wants a number of hours does not mean you should settle for this level of detail. More important than the hours you are tracking is what you did during that time. Many consultants will write on their time record nothing more than the hours worked and a cursory "interviews." This is insufficient to help you recall what you did, why or where the products of that work are now. Also, it won't help you evaluate whether your time was estimated correctly or whether you are working on the right tasks. You and your client are best served by a full accounting of work and the context for that work.

Tip: Create a tracking sheet for your own use that records five items: (1) time, (2) where you did the work (your office, client site, or other location), (3) what you did (description of the nature of the activity), (4) what value this provided in terms of the project deliverables (tie to milestones, project task, or deliverable), and (5) reference to work product produced (briefing, analysis, interviews, slide deck). You can share these with your client of not (they are sure to be impressed with your professionalism) but these make a good record for your own. Also, use them to better understand how accurate your estimated times foo future tasks.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  engagement management  performance improvement  planning  practice management  project management  recordkeeping 

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