We are in the professional services industry and our bottom line is directly tied to accurately estimating and tracking the hours of work that our resources spend on a project. I’m sure I’m not alone in struggling with the perennial problem of getting our team to “enter their time.” We use a home-grown system called “Homefry” which is integrated with Quickbooks and helps us track everyone’s time against particular job codes.
Everyone has different habits for keeping track of their time—some people jot down their time on a notebook and enter it all in at the end of the day or end of the week. Others use virtual post-its on their desktop, and others use their outlook calendar. Most people, do not enter time as they go, and as a result most people are always behind and trying to catch up on their time entry. This makes accurately reporting on budget vs. actual for various projects very difficult.
A few years ago I heard of an agency that made people sing “I’m a little teapot” whenever someone showed up late for a meeting. In that vein, I decided it was time to implement an incentive, something from the negative reinforcement camp (I don’t think a reward for most up-to-date time would work).
Introducing the Public Shame 2000. We purchased this device from Karaoke.com a few weeks ago, and the mere threat of having to perform karaoke (sober) in front of the entire office during our Tuesday morning staff meetings has been enough to nip this problem in the bud once and for all. I’m pleased to report that everyone’s time has been consistently up-to-date since the day we introduced this machine.
We have yet to turn on this machine, however, I’m sure that day will come at the next after hours office party.