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Journal of nicholas (3034)

Friday April 06, 2007
05:35 AM

better time reporting may be UNgood for your productivity

[ #32927 ]

Lovely insightful warning down from jplindstrom in one of the comments on scrottie's journal, which I think deserves more prominence:

At my old job I don't know how many extra hours I put in that were just "lost" for me because they were "flex" hours I could have taken by going home an hour or two earlier some other day but never did.

Then we started to report hours and I realized just how much of my time I gave away for free.

With hindsight it's obvious, but I'd never considered that starting to track employees' time to increase productivity could actually produce results counter to the intended goal.

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  • One of my favourite things in the world is that if I have to do time-accounting, I make sure there's a proper entry, with the appropriate 6 minutes increments, for "time-accounting"... billed to accounting :)
    • Yeah, precisely! If everyone did this, particularly in heavily micromanaged environments like scrottie’s where the productive people are constantly getting reassigned, management would hopefully soon realise what a folly it is.

      Assuming they still have their wits about them, anyway.

    • I've always done this, at least in the single job where I had to track my time to this degree of detail. "It cost $10 for me to fill out this form."

    • They won't enable us to do that, but I've tried. Some days I've spent up to a couple of hours wasting time putting together all the various required status reports and time accountings. I need to get faster at it, apparently.

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • They won’t let you do that? Sounds like management putting their hands over their ears and going “la la la the time consumed by all this accounting will not affect productivity la la la.” So where do you bill those wasted hours?

  • Well, in my case the reporting initially wasn't primarily for tracking people's time (that came later), but for tracking projects' time (and unfortunately, time spent on activities in projects which everyone hopefully ignored and put everything on "development" if that was the main activity that week).

    I'm not sure, but I suspect no one actually used this information for anything useful.

    Let me put it this way. This company, while very competent and cluefull in some ways, signed a seven year contract with Acc
    • Keeping track of worked hours isn’t the most important battle to fight in that situation, epecially when most people around you aren’t unreasonable morons.

      Hear here! If keeping track of employees’ worked hours seems like a solution to anything, it probably means you have bigger problems that won’t be solved by keeping track of employees’ worked hours. I really don’t understand why making the base assumption that your subordinates are shysters ever seems like a good id