The Value of Time Tracking in Project Management
Time is money. But working longer doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to make more money. In fact the more time it takes to complete a project the more you may end up paying for it.
So how do you attach value to time spent working? Track how that time is spent.
Time tracking is key to understanding how time is spent on your projects. It can also be helpful for increasing team productivity and implementing realistic workflows.
You may be hesitant to implement time tracking because it may come across as micromanaging your team and curtailing creativity in the process. However, when implemented correctly, time tracking can offer huge benefits to your business. In this article we define time tracking, the benefits of time tracking and how to effectively tracking time in Project Management.
What is Time Tracking?
Before we get into the benefits of tracking your time, let’s take a look at what time tracking actually is (and isn’t).
In simple terms, time tracking is the process of recording what time on a project is being used for.
In addition to assisting with payroll, time tracking allows project managers to see whether the time is being spent in the most productive way to create the best outcomes for your business.
It’s important to note that time tracking isn’t about micromanaging staff or watching their every move. You simply want to be aware of where effort and time are going, to ensure projects continue to move forward and deliver as planned.
A project management tool can be a very useful partner to help you with your time tracking efforts. At the very least, it allows you to see how many hours are spent on projects or tasks so you can compensate your workers accordingly.
8 Benefits of Time Tracking for Businesses
The insights you get from time tracking can often be an eye-opener. They show you how your people and processes work and how you can make them better.
Here are eight ways time tracking for projects can help your business:
1. Improve how you work and increase productivity
At the end of the work day can you tell what your team spent time working on? Perhaps they spent more time attending to emails than working on assigned tasks? Or maybe most of the day was spent in meetings instead of getting actual work done. Would you say all this was productive?
When you use time tracking you’ll be surprised at what your timesheets reveal about your team’s work habits and even your own! You may even find some inefficiencies in the way you and your team work.
These insights can then, in turn, help you set up better processes in order to eliminate these inefficiencies and improve the way your team works.
You can also review any unproductive patterns and time-wasters within teams. Additionally, you can see any bottlenecks in your system that are holding you back, as well as review tasks that take longer than they should.
Once you deal with these setbacks you’ll likely see an improvement in the way teams work and consequently an increase in productivity.
2. Identify distractions
It takes on average 23 minutes to refocus after getting distracted. Needless to say, it’s important to control daily disruptions for better productivity.
Time tracking can be helpful by mapping out daily interruptions such as “quick” unplanned meetings, distracting tools such as Slack, email, etc.
Unplanned tasks that creep into the team’s workload could also distract them from higher priority work. Fortunately, with good project management software, you can block any new tasks until those in progress are completed.
Time tracking will also help team members keep procrastination at bay. Putting tasks aside for later opens up room for distraction. When everyone is tracking their time, you (and they) get better visibility on how often—and what—they procrastinate on and put processes in place to remove these distractions.
3. Direct team focus on strategic projects
Time tracking puts a huge data resource about jobs, suppliers, and your staff into your hands.
You can see what everyone is doing (in a non-creepy way) and with this data, you can ensure all stakeholders stay focused on strategic tasks that will help the team achieve project goals.
Time tracking also encourages deep work and minimizes multitasking. Mapping out what each person in your team does helps you see how often they split their attention between tasks. You also know how many different tasks they work on in a day. Then if it’s necessary, you can reduce the workload to help all stakeholders focus better and get more done.
Time tracking also enables you to view if everyone is working on the most valuable tasks and actually sticking to priorities.
With a time tracking tool like Mission Control, you can use The Kanban Whiteboard features to make adjustments to schedules. This enables you to easily manage assigned tasks and change deadlines for high-priority projects.
4. Keep teams on track and beat deadlines
Is your team sometimes unsure of what projects they should be working on? Is everyone trying to get everything done last minute? Then you have a problem with your processes.
You may have the best employees but if they’re not aware of what needs to be done within what timelines, they will not fulfill your expectations as you need them to.
Time tracking also helps you to offer your clients proper time turnarounds. You don’t want to over-promise and miss deadlines. Setting realistic estimations at the beginning of a project will help you build a good relationships with clients. It also helps you to plan better and take on work that you’re sure your team can handle and complete on time.
5. Identify where you need to improve
Manual productivity audits can be a headache. How do you justify your reviews to your staff?
When backed by data collected from your time tracking reports, you can easily rate individual employees and see how they compare to the rest of the team.
This data also helps team members to see how their performance stacks up, and together, you can identify strengths to highlight and weaknesses that need to be worked on.
Productivity audits are a great way to implement a continuous improvement strategy. Identify areas and tasks that seem to take too much time and take note of whether team members are struggling with the timeframe for certain tasks. This could point to a need to adjust your processes.
6. Better team management
Time tracking allows you to easily see who is handling what and when. This makes it easy to identify when someone has a bigger workload than they can handle. You can then offload some of the work to avoid creating a bottleneck in the process.
This could also help you justify the need for a new hire if your team is unable to handle the workload at its current capacity.
Allocating appropriate workloads will also make sure that your team doesn’t burn out. When your team is aware that you’re prioritizing their wellbeing, they’re more likely to embrace time tracking and actually do it. Additionally, you’re more likely to have a happy, motivated team.
7. Create more accurate quotes and estimates
Time tracking ensures you have accurate records on exactly how long each type of job takes. This way, you can estimate the resources a project will require as well as how much it will cost.
When it comes to billing your clients, time tracking can beis especially important if you charge by the hour. It takes away the guesswork and ensures you’re not underestimating how long a project took hence getting underpaid.
Time tracking also helps you to send clients more accurate quotes. You’ll have a clear picture of what is spent on a particular project in terms of time and manpower. So when you’re creating quotes for your clients, you’ll be able to quote prices that match the effort and resources used.
8. Make payroll and invoicing less painful and more accurate
Want to get better at automating repetitive tasks within your projects? Time tracking can come to rescue here too.
It makes preparing your payroll a breeze. When you use a comprehensive project management tool, it becomes easier to pull everyone’s timesheets, see all their billable hours and pay them accordingly. Often, it’s possible to automate this process and reduce the manual hours spent on this task.
Time tracking also makes invoicing clients a much smoother process. All you need to do is to pull your work data from your tracking tool and invoice for exactly what was worked on.
By the way, Mission Control can help with this by generating automatic invoices from your billable hours. This makes it easy to automate this process based on time tracked for the project.
You also get a clear picture of whether you’re turning a profit or not. You may even realize that your team is spending a lot of time on tasks that don’t contribute to your bottom line!. This may mean refocusing on tasks that have a return on investment.
Get Started with Time Tracking Today
Time tracking allows you to keep your team focused on what is important and work at a healthy rate. When it comes to billing, you have real-time data that lets you bill clients for exactly what work has been done.
Ultimately, you have a more productive team, better processes, and projects that are delivered on-time more often.
Kickstart your time tracking with a tool like Salesforce native Mission Control which is designed to make it easy for all project stakeholders to log time effortlessly. It gives you an overview of time spent on projects, your team’s overall productivity, and is a very useful addition to your overall project management processes.
Request a demo to see how Mission Control can help your organization track time efficiently and effortlessly and enhance your project management.