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Project Management Blog

The current state of the global economy has created new challenges for companies all over the world.  This has led to executive decisions being made out of panic, such as firing quality employees and slashing important programs.  Regardless of their efforts, many companies have seen plummeting revenue streams, sometimes being forced out of business altogether.

It may surprise you, but I actually believe that the greatest challenge in this economy is avoiding the mistake of blaming everything on the economy.  It is easy for managers and executives to wring their hands and say, “This is the worst economy we have had in 80 years, and that is why my company has all of these problems.”  To a certain extent, they are right.  Yet that type of thinking does not lead to solutions.

What if the economy never improves very much? Take Japan for example: they have been stuck with an anemic economy for decades now. Of course I know the tsunami didn’t help much either. Yet within that environment, some Japanese companies have excelled while others have withered or accepted the status quo.

Is the sale of Apple products like the iPad or the iPhone 4G suffering from the economy?  Considering the fact that people will wait in line for 12 hours to get them, I imagine not.  People will wait in line that long to buy something that they really want. 

So how can you offer something that people will want regardless of the economy?  The first step is to wake up and realize that things will never improve for your company until you do something to make it happen.  You can figure out how to improve your products or find new markets – maybe even create new markets – where you can outthink, outsell and outperform your competitors.  Is there a problem in your industry that everyone recognizes but no one is fixing?  Fix it!

Once you have convinced yourself that new opportunities in a recession are possible, you just have to convince everyone else with whom you work.

And that is the real challenge of this economy.

About Curt Finch

Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Founded in 1996, Journyx automates payroll, billing and cost accounting while easing management of employee time and expenses, and provides confidence that all resources are utilized correctly and completely. Curt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.  As a software programmer fixing bugs for IBM in the early ‘90’s, Curt found that tracking the time it took to fix each bug revealed the per-bug profitability. Curt knew that this concept of using time-tracking data to determine project profitability was a winning idea and something that companies were not doing – yet… Curt created the world's first web-based timesheet application and the foundation for the current Journyx product offerings in 1997. Learn more about Curt at http://journyx.com/company/curtfinch.  

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In today’s knowledge economy, it is hard for companies to determine where they’re profitable.  After all, how exactly do you quantify your production?  Fortunately, using time as a metric for production provides companies with not only insight, but also the opportunity to unleash profitability without significant effort or expense.  Through project accounting, businesses are able to better understand their costs, anticipate and curb project risk, and even devise efficient business strategies.  The data required to make these connections is already available, and all that is needed is the right software to deliver it. 

In the past, tracking time was essential for payroll but not much else.  New technology, however, has given us the ability to reap even more benefits from time data.  Time tracking software gives organizations valuable insight into which projects are profitable and which ones are not.  Studies support this premise. According to the Center for Business Practices, over 97% of senior level project management professionals stated that implementing such tools added value to their organizations. 

How Project Costing Software Increases Profitability

What many business professionals do not realize is that by using the amount of time spent on the first and second phases of a project, one can predict the total project length with startling accuracy.  The more difficult or complex a project is, the more time it will take to complete its specification and design, and this allows for such a formula to exist. 

Once it is determined that the first two phases of Projects 1 and 2—approximately the first 10%—took a certain amount of time to finish to completion, it is simple to figure out how long it will take to complete Project 3.  Furthermore, let’s say that the project manager discovers that after 30% of the allotted time, only 10% of the project is completed.  This is a signal that there is a problem, a signal that is much more useful when 30% of your money has been spent as opposed to 80 percent.  Simply knowing how much time is spent on various types of work makes a world of difference in a competitive business environment.

Having an automated system to take care of all of this saves time and energy that would otherwise be put into maintaining paper and/or spreadsheet-based processes.  According to a study done by the University of California, Irvine, fully automating the timesheet process also reduces errors by 75 percent.  For these reasons, more businesses than ever before are implementing timesheet applications to help them manage and track all projects as well as forecast current and future project requirements.

Automated Project Costing Benefits Everyone

Only two things are required to begin moving in this direction: the right time accounting platform and total buy-in.  The latter is important because time data has to be accumulated, and some people dislike filling out timesheets.  Describing its benefits in a clear way, however, is usually enough to get everyone on board.  With an automated timesheet system in place, employees can count on a more balanced workload. They also enjoy more job security because the company has a clear understanding of the resource levels needed for current and future projects—understaffing and overstaffing due to poor planning are virtually eliminated.  Project managers benefit from being able to complete projects on time and under budget.  They are able to pinpoint problems before they occur, and ultimately have more job security as well because they have greater control over their results.  Furthermore, executives can use the system to determine which projects are profitable, thereby helping them in future decisions.  Everyone wins.

Choosing a Timesheet Solution for Project Costing

The ideal timesheet solution will integrate payroll, billing and project accounting processes into one, easy-to-use program.  It should be effortless for the employee to enter timesheet information, employee expenses, projects and tasks with little effort or training.  It should also be web-based and enable remote access so that mobile workers and employees in various locales can login to a centrally maintained system. 

Measuring Time is Imperative to Profitability

It is essential that companies have a system in place that houses dynamic project, cost, and profitability data. Today’s competitive players need to be smarter, faster, and more accurate in forecasting projects and allocating resources. Without an automated timekeeping mechanism in place, it is difficult for organizations to understand and improve the many time- and project-related variables that affect a company’s profitability on a daily basis. Companies who fail to recognize the need for efficient project costing may not survive in the long-term. Organizations who implement the right timesheet solution have an advantage because they have the data needed to understand how time, projects, and the people who work on them impact their profitability.

About Curt Finch

Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Founded in 1996, Journyx automates payroll, billing and cost accounting while easing management of employee time and expenses, and provides confidence that all resources are utilized correctly and completely. Curt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.  As a software programmer fixing bugs for IBM in the early ‘90’s, Curt found that tracking the time it took to fix each bug revealed the per-bug profitability. Curt knew that this concept of using time-tracking data to determine project profitability was a winning idea and something that companies were not doing – yet… Curt created the world's first web-based timesheet application and the foundation for the current Journyx product offerings in 1997. Learn more about Curt at http://journyx.com/company/curtfinch.  

Published in Blogs
Monday, 21 March 2011 14:24

Multitasking's Assault on Productivity

It's seemingly impossible to avoid multitasking in today's busy world. The constant bombardment of emails, phone calls, and appointments quickly begin to pile up, so to combat this we attempt to juggle more activities at once. I instinctively answer the phone as I'm driving home from work or respond to an urgent email while I'm reading a report, but are these the best solutions to my problems?

Mounting evidence suggests that multitasking is the enemy of productivity. Though it may lead us to think that we're being more productive, we're in fact thwarting performance ability and significantly lowering quality of work along the way. While we can all recognize how multitasking affects the texting driver, the negative impact of multitasking in the workplace is not as immediately apparent.

Published in Blogs
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 08:33

The Commitment Calendar

Do you have a commitment calendar? Do you think your peers keep a commitment calendar?

Chances are that those of you who consistently stay on top of your deadlines use some type of tracking system. A commitment calendar is a tool which can help you (or your chaos challenged associates) stay ahead of your obligations.

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