21 Reasons Project Management Lives and Dies by Time Tracking

21 Reasons Project Management Lives and Dies by Time Tracking

Whether at a personal level or when managing a cast of thousands, any project manager worth their salt will tell you that time management can make or break a company.

For starters, time tracking data can let you know that you are spending more time on projects than originally planned, helping you improve future estimates and getting capacity closer to 100%. On the other hand, you can take these numbers, go to your clients, and say, “Hey! We need to charge more because it is taking more time. Look at the numbers!”

Generally reserved for law firms, advertising or consulting firms, time tracking has become an important tool for nearly any business.

What is Time Tracking?

Aside from the obvious answer of “keeping track of the time it takes to complete tasks or time spent working on projects,” time tracking for organizations requires employees to document the hours of the projects they are working on. Many organizations track time down to the quarter hour. Law firms often track time by 8-minute increments. Each organization has a different requirement and perspective on what increment of time they need to track.

Implementing time tracking is quite simple. However, gaining adoption may be difficult at first as you might expect a little grumbling from employees. Here are 21 reasons why it works.

Financial Gain

  1. The Bottom Line - As per the old adage, time is money i.e a commodity/ resource to be used and sold wisely.
  2. Resource Efficient - Planning and tracking time allows you to take advantage of efficiencies of scale when purchasing.
  3. Task Efficient - Good time managers also group activities together, e.g reading emails, to create efficiencies in working practice.
  4. Reducing Scope Creep - Planning time consumption on a project from the outset clarifies what you are doing, when, and for what price.
  5. Fees - Understanding what can be achieved in what timescale allows you to charge appropriately and competitively.
  6. Future Costing - Past resourcing and time data from previous projects will allow you to forecast time and costs down the line.
  7. Reporting / leverage - Increase project fees by demonstrating how quickly and efficiently you have undertaken similar work in the past.

Quality of work

  1. Strategy - Limited time means limited actions - resourcing forces everyone to prioritize the most valuable of these.
  2. Thinking time - Avoid rushing into the wrong solution by planning for time to be creative, time to make and fix mistakes and time to solve a problem from a different angle.
  3. Human Resources - Planning time early allows you to allocate the best team for the job rather than the one that's available at the moment.
  4. Process Management - You can't improve a process until you have measured it and understood how long it takes.

RelatedHow to Spot and Address Poor Employee Performance with Business Intelligence

Personal Development, Career Advancement and Job Satisfaction

  1. Proving your worth - Being able to show what you're capable of within a timescale is useful when the moment comes for salary review or promotion.
  2. Building Trust - Increase client confidence and improve your relationships by accurately predicting when you will deliver something.
  3. Continued Professional Development  - Understanding what you or your team are actually doing with your time allows you to challenge and develop yourselves professionally, identify training needs and helps you remain engaged.
  4. Sense of achievement - Setting realistic goals and achieving them within a timescale delivers satisfaction.
  5. Retaining Clarity of Thought - Planning and tracking time allows you to focus on one task at a time and giving that task your full attention.
  6. Easing the Pressure - Large projects can be overwhelming. Stay calm by breaking them down into bitesize chunks of time.
  7. The Right Support - With early time planning you can highlight what help you will need during a project and when.
  8. Tempering ambition - Avoid over-promising and disappointing later by properly planning time for what you can realistically achieve.

Work/Life Balance

  1. Home time - Avoid working overtime and encroaching on your personal life with good time-keeping.
  2. Freedom - Whether you're a working mom or an extreme sports fanatic, your free time should be exactly that - free from work and free from the 'guilt' that comes with an unfinished project or looming deadlines. Time management is key!

Getting Your Team to Adopt Time Tracking

If you are a project manager at your organization and spend your hours figuring out which employees are the most productive, who has available time for the next project, or are wondering how to better maximize efficiency and productivity, you’ll want to get your team to adopt tracking their time.

A suggestion to gain adoption.

Rather than making time-tracking a mandatory company policy, inform your team of its benefits to the whole of the organization (using the 21 points above) and why it benefits them at a personal level as well. Two ideas are; let your employees know that you’ll use time-tracking as proof to show how productive they are compared to other employees, or explain how tracking time will be a factor used in their next performance review or in bonus measurement.

Don’t use time tracking to threaten. Instead, adopt time tracking to enlighten everyone, gain efficiencies and more productivity.

Learn more about time tracking software

​To learn more about time tracking software with added forecasting and auto-scheduling benefits, that provides a multidimensional view of workforce and project productivity analytics, check out Allocable today.

About

Allocable is a cloud-based automated time tracking and business intelligence (BI) software platform that provides  a complete visualization of your workforce and project productivity data empowering you to turn information into actionable insight to optimize and forecast performance with more certainty.

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