John, on the benefits of effort reporting

February 20, 2020

Yale’s Chief Information Officer, John Barden, addresses questions asked by the community through our Ask John survey feature. This week, John explains the many uses for data gathered through the effort reporting process.

Can you give more detail about how ITS uses the data gathered through the effort reporting process? Who looks at the results? How frequently? What key decisions have been made so far based on findings from the data? How accurate is the data assumed to be?

The effort reporting data we collect in the PPM Tool is essential to several of our core processes for IT. In fact, one of our major initiatives over the past two years has been to align IT finances with lines of business based on our service catalog, to better understand our cost of services and to clarify accountability. Effort reporting data was a key contribution to that process and is used on a periodic basis to adjust the budget to reflect shifts in our work. Additionally, some of our work is billable, and hours reported are used to charge the correct amount to the related project or organization at Yale. This is done on a monthly basis and is handled automatically within the Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tool, with support by the Project Management Office (PMO) and Finance teams. Also, we are occasionally asked to participate in an audit request and find effort reporting data essential for clearly delineating work performed. Finally, many managers use effort reporting to manage their teams’ workload, helping to identify trends and adjust future staffing through the budget process. 

Over the last two years we have tried to simply the reporting requirements to improve ease of entry and interpretation. This was based on staff feedback about how to improve the quality of data and reduce complexity. As above, we rely on the data for several important functions, and striving to accurately represent our time is essential to assure we make sound decisions. 

Do you want to ask John about something on your mind? Take a moment to share questions and ideas you might have; submissions are anonymous and responses will be addressed in subsequent issues of IT Update.