Proof of Work

Steven NgCommunication, Productivity, Project ManagementLeave a Comment

Progress versus Proof

In developing Assign It To Me, we had a lot of interesting discussions about the definition of “What am I working on?”

In our previous life, the only way we got the answer to that was to either have your team send you a status report (which nobody liked to do) or to ask them. Both methods were a bit of a time suck. Your team members want to work on what they’re working on, not waste time on status reports, meetings or calls. And the team leads would rather not waste time gathering this information, since there were bigger fires to fight.

On the surface, it sounds simple. If you update the percent complete, you worked on it. Easy peasy. Right?

Wait, Not So Fast

Well, of course, things aren’t so simple. A team member can game the system by tweaking the percent complete progress even if no progress has been made.

But remembering that Assign It To Me is designed for companies that do time based billing, we realized that booked time on a task is a more authoritative piece of proof that work has been done. That time is an artifact that is highly likely to show up on an invoice to a customer. This proof of work, so to speak, was the best way to know what someone worked on.

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

Of course, there’s yet another catch. Time bookings generally happen in the past. They don’t tell you what someone is working on now. And what does now mean? Does it mean the current moment? Does it mean today? Any mechanism to track what is being worked on “now” needs to provide some flexibility since now in your company might mean something else in my company.

I’m Working On…

We recently added a “working on” flag that you can set on any task assigned to you. The intent of this feature is for you to be able to say “I am working on this today”. This gives your manager or project manager the ability to see what you’re working on without having to ask you. We also plan to use it in Assign It To Me’s status reporting. It also lets you prioritize your current work for the day.

This Working On feature will be appearing in Assign It To Me in the coming weeks, and we think you’ll like it.

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