Coming from a development background where I can just fire up my chosen language tools and build out the utility of the day just became more complex. Since re-starting my company BITtelligent Software I’ve realized that going to C# and writing that application may not be the best thing to always do.

Case in point

All small, no all consulting firms need to track project hours. Understand the utilization of resources and trend the customers, projects and items that make up the revenue generating daily efforts. Tracking the non-revenue generating efforts is also good as one could discover patterns and look for efficiencies to reduce or remove those efforts from the day-to-day. So I could buy a product and make it work for me, I could use Excel, but from a user work flow that may not be as efficient, or I could build out an application.

So last night my mind was churning. I have the tools, I could use all of the new technology in the .net 3.5 stack and I own some great 3rd party development libraries to make a UI that did not look like something raising from the primordial goo.

But then I stopped myself. Why build all this infrastructure for a tool that is not generating revenue but for helping discover inefficiencies and track and bill for actual customer facing work. I have touted that I really believe that CRM applications are application platforms and this requirement fit well into that premise. So to that end, I have decided to build out the project time tracking tools onto of SalesLogix 7.x Web. My goals will include

  1. Creation and association of projects to Accounts
  2. Association of contacts to project roles
  3. Tracking of individual work items
  4. Tracking of non billable items
  5. User Resource Allocation
  6. End of Month, End of Year and Period Reporting
  7. Mobility support though BB, Pocket PC and Smart Phone

At the end of this project I expect to have a running time tracking extension into SalesLogix and documentation on how I proceeded to build out all of the components and layers.

– Mark

2 Comments

  1. Mark,

    I’ll look forward to seeing what you end up with. We bounce around between what we use for tracking billable work and we’ve never been that satisfied. We’ve lately contemplated biting the bullet and building our own as well.

    -Ryan

  2. Hey Ryan,

    I think their are at least 2 core applications that consuilting companies have when deailing with their customers. 1st is the Time tracking and 2nd one for me is the requirements gathering . Let me eloborate a little more. Historically I have noticed that the documents created and provided to the customer can vary dramatically between consulting resources. This inconsistency also translates IMHO to issues with the development team having to decipher intent. Having a tool that is is driven by use cases, interactions, diagrams and annotations can have raise the level of consitency of documentation and make the creation of the documentation less labor intensive. This is another tool I would like to build and seems to be a natural fit for a WPF application.

    Mark

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