# How should time spent in project's meetings be recorded?

For example, if 10 team members of a project spent 1 hour in a meeting, should the time spent record for that meeting be 1 hour or 10 hours since everyone contributed an hour of his own time?

Same question applies on tasks that is being done by more than 1 team member.

I am confused between both ways since both have some valid logic reasons to use.

## 3 Answers

Depends on the metric you want. If it is about the meeting, one hour describes time spent on it. If you are after how much it costs, you are going to need the five labor hours.

For any metric, you have to answer a question. If you are not answering a question, you don't need the metric. Your question here implies you don't have a business question to answer and you are capturing the metric for the sake of capturing a metric.

So back at you: what is it about the meeting you need to know?

• You are right, it depends on the metric that should be reported. For my project, I should report the total man-hours per sprint/project. Commented Sep 16, 2012 at 17:07

Well, if you were recording it in MS Project, you'd simply untick the effort-driven box. It doesn't matter how many people you pile into that meeting, it's still only going to take an hour.

For effort-driven tasks, you can use man-hours, man-days etc.

For example, if we consider that it takes 2 man-days to build a wall, assigning one person to the task should get the wall built in 2 days. However, if you assign 2 people to the task, it can be completed in one day.

But for timesheets etc. you would consider each person's hour separately.

Let's put ourselves in the shoes of the client. Assume that each developer is billed out at \$100 per hour. If you have a 1 hour meeting, and there were only 2 people present, then sure, \$200 makes perfect sense (provided the meeting was constructive and there were demonstrable, value-adding outcomes). However if I'm your client and I receive a bill of \$1000 for a 1 hour meeting because there were 10 developers present, I'm going to be wondering whether all 10 attendees added value to the meeting. In other words, how do I know you weren't just piling more people into the meeting to rack up the bill?

The way we've addressed this at our work is by only billing for meetings between 2 developers. If you need to get information to 3 or more developers, and you want their feedback, set up an internal Q&A / brainstorming forum. Then you can ask each forum contributor to accurately calculate the amount of time they contributed to the brainstorming session, and bill the client accordingly. Should the client want to scrutinise your bill, you can share the forum conversation with them.

However if you prefer an in-person conversation with 3 or more developers, then you may as well have it over lunch, and send your client the lunch bill (and be frank about why you're doing it this way). Your client will appreciate your resourcefulness as well as your honesty. You get a good meal with some team building thrown in, and they get a good discount.