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Time-Reporting - unwittingly or deliberately faking

Some time ago I did my time-reporting somewhat different. The project-leader approached me and demanded what I had been up to last month for our client. In order to do so he set up some time-accounts for us to book on to. Well, then I stopped developping for two hours to invent some reasonable looking figures for these time-accounts. It didn't take long to find out that there was a discrepancy between the existing time-accounts and the ones I should have booked on, at least for the passed month and as far as I could remember. But don't bother I thought, our client only seems to want the time-reporting in the categories available and that's what really counts. I obviously have no idea if what I had recorded as activities were any close to accurate. How should I, there were only a few sources to make assumptions of what I had been up to that month:

  • start and shutdown times in the event-protocoll of the computer (just my bad if I had left it running through the night)
  • in Outlook the sent mails (I must have been aware then)
  • the "commits" in the versioning-system (preceeding I must have worked for these changes)
Anything else, short notices with starting- and stopping-times, intelligent Excel-Sheets which are supposed to do things automatically or any other time-reporting system XYZ which just offers long rows of input-fields, have not really sustained my task over the long run consiquently enough: too fixed in categories, too painful for entering times, too many clicks to achive at least a decent accuracy.
I tend to call these kind of approaches unwittingly faking time-reporting.

Nowadays I am more honest. I know when I fake! I'm constantly logged in to the emphasize web-service for time-reporting and move my pawn as soon as I start a new activity or resume a paused one. For this I need: one single click! That does not hurt, looks nifty as the figure hovers in mid-air. If I for once forgot to set my figure, I just turn back time and correct it. I'm not a fussy stopwatch-lover. I tend to forget the current time when I'm working, just when I'm leaving my desk I want to know if I did any surplus or not. This is optained through the "daily report". My system of fields where I do my booking on is changing very frequently, just to fit any current need. And then, when I'm supposed to fill in the other time-reporting tool of a client, I switch into that with a click on the activity (just now I am working with JIRA) and copy'n'paste the duration. Or I fake adjust the duration deliberately, but at least I know what I'm up to!

From a project-leading point of view I am now more capable to justify what I have really done without to much bothering about. From the client point of view the numbers which sum up are actually worthy now. I think this is just the point where the duty of having to report and a voluntary control done by oneself approach and supplement each other.

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