Am I spending too much of my team's time on management?
I am one of a few managers at a small company. I have been doing weekly one on ones with my reports, and we have a half hour meeting every AM to coordinate tasks and get general updates on the company; there's also some chatting. Over the last couple months we have been getting pressure to minimize hours billed to overhead, which is where these kind of tasks belong. Should I slim down the activity (does a daily meeting plus weekly one-on-ones seem excessive), should we do this on our own time early/late, or eliminate? I see value in coordinating, and I have a close and high performing team, but also want to align with the emphasis on purely billable hours.

timrutter's picture

Sounds like what you are doing is working well. You will never get 100% billable hours, the human aspect makes that nigh on impossible, but what you can do is look for efficiencies.Can you streamline your morning meeting?



williamelledgepe's picture
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In my organizations (when I was still on the billable hours side) we always needed a percentage (20-50%) of the staff to be 100% billable to offset the marketing and management costs for other folks.  In our case 100% actually meant 88% for most people because of vacation and sick time.  That said, you do need some follks who are 100% billable at least 45 weeks of the year if the business will survive.  Also, all business units I was ever involved with needed some people who billed more than 2000 hours in a year if we were going to meet profit goals.  Sometimes we even had awards for staff who broke the 2000 billable hour level.  

None of that is inconsistant with O3s or project meetings.  When my staff would report to me about a project the time spent reporting was charged to the project.  If you believe O3s improve results then you believe O3s improve project results.  If that is the case it is a benefit to your projects and your client who is paying for that time and/or deliverable.  I've never been in a situation where I felt I needed daily meetings so I can't speak to that aspect, but a status update on a project helps the project and (imho) is a project cost.  

If the O3 is primarily about puppies and rainbows I think you need to evaluate what you bill and don't bill.  If you're spending too much time on puppies and rainbows your results will suffer and a client shouldn't pay for that.  Presumably though, at most 15 minutes of the O3 would be about puppies and rainbows, while your time would be about deliverables, status, deadlines, metrics, and other project related items.  

engineering_mgr's picture

Great idea to streamline. We are reducing the length of the daily meeting and I will also keep an eye on the O3O as well (they do sometimes run over 1/2 hour per report). I am glad to hear that some sharpening the saw belongs on a project which is benefitting from it.