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Why miss-out allowing time recording on so many Actions? Why not all?


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Why is the product configured to not allow time recording against all Actions (in red below from Service Request Config)? Surely it should be all as a standard?

I am going to make a guess that it's because someone assumed the ones missed-out are such short tasks it can't be useful?

image.png.5188663eb9ff0507aaceb8b4b2809128.png

*the similar situation exists for Incidents, Changes, Known Errors, Releases.

It's certainly not always the case that any of these Actions are just a few seconds:

  1. Linking another Request is a few seconds but FINDING that linked request and checking with colleagues and asking the customer, could take 2-10 minutes before coming back to the first Request, linking it and then not having an option to 'bill' the time
  2. Assigning takes a few seconds UNLESS you also spend 5 minutes writing a handover comment in the box provided; then there is no option to' bill' the time
  3. Asset is the same as Linking Requests: you may have to spend 5 minutes finding (or even creating) an assets in the DB and talking with the Asset Manager before then returning to book the time against the Asset Action on the Request; and finding you can't

I have a straight-forward requirement from the Directors here that the time MUST be recorded for ALL ACTIONS on a ticket. At the moment, I have to reply that the product 1) only presents the options to do so on certain pre-selected actions and 2) time recording cannot be mandated (another post). It's not looking like a positive story to the Directors at the moment because it's going to result in poor data that we can't use for billing.

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@Berto2002 thanks for your post.

Initially when the Service Manager > Timesheet Manager integration was done, the requirement was to be able to record the time taken to add updates to requests (which could then be passed onto the customer as chargeable work). As time went on, the functionality was expanded to additional actions, driven by feedback from our customers. There is no reason why we can't open up time recording to more actions in the future. I've referred this post to our product team for review.

Alex

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@Berto2002

From what I understand it, the actions chosen are broadly the actions that require you to enter some written information, which is broadly in line with how one would use a timesheet.  

Now you have rightly said that some actions, for example finding a call you want to link too can take more than a few seconds.  What I would suggest here is this is an operational issue, and not something you should seek to solve with a product feature.  If it were me, it would make sense that when I record time, I would want to add some form of narrative along with that time recording entry.  You could tell a POSITIVE story to your directors by simply ensuring operating procedures mandating that you always perform a text/timeline update where time recording is required.  This way, you might, for example, link two or more calls, you might categorise the call and you might link a service, all as part of the same action, you could perform these actions and then finally do an Update action where you write your narrative and record your time. 

Especially if you are using this data for billing, you are going to want to pull detailed narrative in the cases where your customers ask you to justify your charges for any given time spent. 

I am pushing back slightly here because I am not convinced that having options to record time on actions that are *often* just a couple of seconds to do is needed for most customers, but I do appreciate that in some operational cases those sorts of simple actions could take more than just a few seconds - this though can easily be overcome taking the approach I have described above.  If you were asking for actions that have a text input that contributes to the customer-facing request updated to also include time recording that would make sense, but I am not sure any of the highlighted actions fall into this category. 

I am not sure what your goal is to frame this question/request as something you need in order to not tell a negative story to your directors, I think you could easily tell a positive story to your directors if you adopt a way of working that meets what is being mandated by your directors, you can of course choose to tell a negative story if you wish, thats really your choice and if you feel thats necessary then I doubt there is anything we can ever do to the product that will change that. 

Gerry

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@Gerry thank you for the thoughts; always good to have your input. I think my judgements are coloured by the fact I hate the idea of time recording as an individual!

Before I lose your attention, @Gerry, there was a statement in the Timesheet Wiki that you were looking actively for feedback on TimeSheet Manager; presumably to encourage it's uptake and usefulness. If aspects will improve greatly soon it could change our approach to our current plans. If that notice is current, what is the best way to frame our positive requirements to you to be best received and reviewed?

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@Berto2002

Lol you are probably right, absolutely no one likes to be accountable for their time, especially down to the granular minutes level.  However, there is a reality that goes along with being able to charge for time spent, and that is, you have to justify that time, this is one of the reasons why at Hornbill we try our best to charge for, and be accountable to outcomes and not hours... if that makes sense. 

We are always looking for good feedback and suggestions, everything that gets suggested and asked for is considered at some level or another. What is important to understand is we are serving a lot of customers, and we see a lot of variations in use, operational practices and requirements, and what we have to do is balance every individual need with what is good for the general population.  If we over-populate the features in every area of the product we end up in a place where most customers will complain about complexity, and they would be right to do so. So in your example above, while I totally understand you appear to have a need to record time against, say, linking a call, as a product team its our job to question that.  Is that a feature that would benefit customers, does it make sense, or is there a way to better use the product that would make even more sense, and when it turns out to be the latter, in the absence of any other insights we should be advising you of that alternative way, which I hope above I did and it makes sense. 

Timesheet is currently a free "application" that all customers that subscribe to Hornbill can make use of, its free because we know that its not perfect, and it certainly does not really compete with some of the stand-aline timesheet tools that are out there today, but its big advantage is it is perfectly integrated to the reset of our system, in that regard our customers today see Timesheet as a "feature add-on" rather than an application in its own right.  One day though, we will probably introduce Timesheet as a stand-alone and chargeable application so we are always looking for ways to improve it, so we very much appreciate it when people do take the time to ask questions, make suggestions and so on, but we are selective about what we will do as Hornbill generally is more like an "off the peg" solution that you can customise rather than a "bespoke per customer" solution that we build for individual customers. 

"what is the best way to frame our positive requirements to you to be best received and reviewed?"  I am often one of the people that considers these requests as I know our strategic product goals very well, so I would say, if the request makes sense, if there is something to learn about how companies (by which I mean our customer population, rather than any one individual customer) may get more value from using Hornbill then we are always happy to build that into our thinking and our backlog for considered inclusion.  There is no doubt our customers know more about their operational needs than us, and we are very greatful for all that take the time to help is fly the Hornbill plane so to speak.  I would say, the kind of "our directors are not happy because we do not have X" - when you have an alternative way of achieving what your directors want, feels a little like a veiled threat, thats not a particularly good way of getting stuff onto our queue - I would suggest :)  Sorry for my candid response here, but I think folks that know me tend to know I can be forthright for the sake of brevity. 


Gerry

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