Work Organization - Estimating Time

Our goal is to gather data to improve the presentation and planning of our work. So far we have data that describes:

Existing Time Commitments

The next data that we'll need is an idea of how much time is available for a specific goal, or put another way, how much time we're currently spending on existing commitments.

In practice, every support organization (computing or otherwise) spends time on activities that just have to be done. Such work often dominates available time. Plans that don't take this into account are doomed to failure.

An Approach

So we need to identify these repetitive activities and the typical ongoing time spent on them.

How is that best done ?

Time Tracking ?

If all of CSCF did the kind of detailed time tracking that the research support group engages in, we could eventually deduce how much time was being spent, and where.

However, detailed time tracking imposes an overhead, especially when engaged in multi-tasking, and/or work away from a convenient way to record the time.

Just Estimate

Extreme accuracy isn't needed in this case, and the time spent on repetitive activities doesn't change a lot, so it's likely more practical to have people estimate.

We've made such estimates at least twice before. The most recent was for time spent on activities related to teaching (we had to estimate per-course support costs). The difference this time is that we want to include all repetitive activities, and keep the estimates up-to-date.

The Goal

So, please ask yourself where it feels that your time is typically being spent.