Article #342 Why Timesheets Should Be the Only Trust-Worthy Process to Capture Actual Labor and Equipment Hours Spent on Capital Construction Projects?

One would rarely find any capital construction project that does not enforce the use of timesheets when it comes to capturing the details of actual labor and equipment resource hours spent on a project. Sometimes, we tend to confuse between resource timesheets and resource attendance systems. A timesheet is a document that will detail how each labor and equipment resource hour was spent from the time resource was present on the project until he/she has left the project. A project could relate to a project site, head office, client office among other project related locations. On the other hand, a time attendance system details when the resource has showed up on the project and he/she has left with no details what has happened in between those two periods. Even if a resource tracking system was deployed on the project, the system will detail the whereabouts of those resources but again with no details on what those resources have done during the time they were deployed on the project.

Timesheets used on capital construction projects need to be designed specifically for projects’ use requirements. For example, they need to be aligned with the resources that are used in the project schedule as well as the organization’s human resource and financial systems. In addition, they need to include the project that the resource hours will be charged against and maybe the program that the project belongs to. In addition, they need to include the cost account or cost breakdown structure (CBS) that project cost is managed and controlled at. Further, they need to include the project schedule activity that the resource hours was spent against. Since it is common that resources could be out working after project hours including weekends and holidays, the timesheet should classify the pay type for spent resources. In addition, and maybe unlike regular timesheets, project timesheets should allow capturing resource crew hours. Of course, there are other requirements that could differ from one project to another.

Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb would usually have timesheets as one of their ready to use modules. PMWeb comes ready with all the fields required for project timesheets listed above as well as with the option to create ten additional user defined fields to capture more details if needed. Those user defined fields can be text, currency, number, date, values from predefined list of values and Boolean.

The field for the project schedule activity can be selected from either PMWeb schedule module or from the imported Primavara P6 or MS Project schedule. For the reported resource hours, PMWeb allows defining all possible types such as regular, overtime, weekend, holiday for labor resources and regular, idle, standby for equipment resources.

In addition, PMWeb allows attaching all supportive documents to each line entry in the timesheet. Those could be details of completed project deliverables, site work instructions, travel ticket or any other records for event that provide details on the hours spent by the resource. Those documents can be uploaded directly into the timesheet or attached from PMWeb document management repository. In addition, there is also the option to attach documents and link other PMWeb records and imported MS Outlook emails to the timesheet as an overall.

PMWeb timesheet module also includes the option to send email notifications to the resources in case there is a need to get their confirmation on reported actual hours including those reported as overtime, weekend or holiday pay as well as equipment resources that could be reported as idle. All those email notification will be captured under the notification tab of the timesheet.

In addition, PMWeb timesheet module allows adding notes to the timesheet to provide details of events or actions that could have impacted the work progress during the week. It might also include details of important events or deliverables made during the week. There is no limit to the number of notes that can be added for which each will be time and date stamped along with the name of the user who added the note.

To ensure that all submitted timesheets are formally reviewed and approved in accordance with the project’s execution plan, a workflow can be assigned to PMWeb timesheet module. The workflow will identify the tasks, sequence, accountability and duration of tasks needed to submit, review and approve the timesheet process. Those tasks will be assigned to their responsible project team members in accordance with the project’s responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) as well as the set authority approval levels.

In case there is a need to formally submit timesheets so they can be printed, wet-signed and stamped or saved as a PDF file so it can be digitally signed, PMWeb allows designing the timesheet output in the desired form and format. The ready to use timesheet output provides an example of a timesheet template for which the details can be reported by resource name, cost account or cost breakdown structure (CBS) level, program, project on any other defined data field.

The labor and equipment resource hours captured in PMWeb timesheets will become the basis for analyzing resources efficiency, resource hours overrun, lost resource hours due to disruption events, redo work and other causes, actual cost of spent resources compared to what was earned as well as planned and other details to provide executive stakeholders with the insight to better informed decisions on resources usage. In addition, and since PMWeb allows capturing timesheets across the complete projects’ portfolio and programs that the organization has, it allows comparing achieved efficiency rates across those projects as well as the trend of resources efficiency across the project’s duration.

Those reports could represent the resources’ data in tabular as well as graphical reports to provide the information needed by the executive stakeholders in the desired form and format. The actual resource hours data captured in PMWeb can be also associated with the planned resource hours spending captured in the planning and scheduling tool like Primavera P6 or MS Project. This will enable generating earned value management (EVM) reports where it will show the planned, earned and actual cost along with the schedule variance (SV) and cost variance (CV) values.

In addition, schedule performance index (SPI) and cost performance index (CPI) values will be calculated. This will enable to forecast the estimated cost of resources at completion (EAC) and compare to what was planned at completion (BAC) to estimate what could be the resources cost variance at completion (VAC) based on the actual performance reported to date.

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About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services and project management information system to over than 400 projects with a total value in excess of US$ 400 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker in topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 years he has lectured at more than 400 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South America. He has written more than 400 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He was a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA and London Business School, London, UK.


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