How Much Time Does Your Team Actually Spend Working?

How Much Time Does Your Team Actually Spend Working?

Category : Project Management

How much time does your team actually work during the day?

In live seminars, I run a quick survey of team productivity. I call it the “Other Stuff” list. It’s a list of all activities individuals do during the day that is not project work. I then ask students how many hours they spend on a typical week doing each of those activities. After 20 years of running this exercise, I’m still amazed at the results.

I encourage you to run this exercise with your team or colleagues. Take a white board, flip chart, or simply a piece of paper. Ask your team to list all the activities they do during the day for which they get paid. Then, ask them how much time they spend in a typical week doing each of these activities. For daily tasks, ask how much time they spend during the day and multiply by 5. For yearly tasks (vacations, holidays, etc.), divide by 50 (or 52 if you want to be more precise). Remember, it should only include activities for which they are paid. For example, if you’re paid for lunch, include it, otherwise, don’t. Here’s a sample list:

  • E-Mail, Voice-Mail
  • Meetings (non-project meetings)
  • Biological needs (coffee breaks, etc.)
  • Social needs (chit-chat)
  • Training
  • Your “real” job
  • Firefighting/Emergencies
  • Equipment problems (computer problems)
  • Mentoring, helping out your colleagues
  • Vacation, holiday, sick
  • Travel

If you’d like to see how I do it, play my short video on Estimating Basics, Micro-Lesson 1. I think the results will surprise you as well.

May all your projects be successful!


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