Time sheets are a soul-crushing relic of the bygone industrial age.
What more are time sheets than a lazy substitute for a watchful managerial eye — which itself has outlived its expiration date, replaced by a well educated, self-motivated, engaged and autonomous workforce of thinking professionals. What a statistically imprecise and inadequate measure of work volume, effort or quality — not to mention the squalid (and ironic, and counter-productive) waste of time spent managing the time sheet system.
“But what if I don’t trust my employees to be self-motivated, engaged and autonomous?”
“But what if I need to bill my clients for the resources they consume?”
Try billing by project.
“But what about scope creep and other unanticipated resource drains?”
First, stop trying to compete on price in your services business. Price competition is a short race to the bottom; not somewhere you want to be. Be confident that you’re delivering premium work and don’t hesitate to charge a premium for it. You’ll have the margin to absorb some inevitable snags.
Second, be real, transparent, and firm with your clients. When a request or a side-track threatens to derail your team, tell your client they’ll need to pay for the work they want done. In the end they’ll trust you more. So will your employees.
And more trust means more business in the long run.