A Step-by-Step Guide to Project Time Tracking
In project management, time tracking refers to keeping track of the amount of time team members spend doing all or part of the work they’re assigned.
Time tracking measures individual staff productivity as well as offering the team a means of assessing the effectiveness of foresight metrics such as agile velocity, project estimates, estimated sprint length, etc. It can also be used to invoice clients when you’re billed by the hour.
Project managers and relevant stakeholders can see what’s getting done, how long it’s taking, and what to do about it. Find out how project management can succeed with project time tracking.
Why is time tracking important in project management?
- Tracking time helps team members drive up their productivity and get work done faster than they’d normally take. The objective is to find which tasks take time and how you can ensure that your team is operating efficiently. From a psychological angle, it keeps you on track to focus on the important tasks.
- It also helps you identify activities that are not a good use of your time. It shows you underlying trends behind why some tasks get done faster and some slower.
- Likewise, you’ll be able to see which members of your team are particularly fast at specific tasks and assign them to those tasks more often.
4 simple ways to track time in projects
Time tracking helps project managers stay up to date on what is getting done and how long it’s taking—without having to micromanage employees or sift through the minutiae. It’s important to understand that it’s not a tool to target team members who may be having a hard time getting work done fast enough.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to seeing how much time your team spends on tasks and projects:
1. Choosing the right tool
Time tracking simply isn’t about good looking project dashboards but actually seeing how much time your team spends working. You need to document your requirements so it’s easy to choose a tool that actually meets them. To choose the appropriate time tracking tool, you and your team must answer two questions:
- What are we trying to achieve?
- What time tracker helps us do that in as few steps as possible?
Aim for a time tracking tool that delivers what your team needs simply and straight to the point.
2. Bring your entire team aboard
In order to drive acceptance and usage by your team, you must demonstrate that that time tracking will help them do their best work, and point out what you can change to simplify project delivery. Otherwise, like we all know, trying to create change arbitrarily will stagnate and hinder projects unnecessarily.
3. Remind your team to actually use their trackers
Like any change, it needs constant reminding for your team to keep their time logs accurate and up to date. Get your team’s feedback and see if it’s actually working and helping them to be more productive.
4. Analyze your time tracking data.
This is the stage where you ask the question, now that we have all this data from our time tracker, what does it mean to us? You need to dive into your time tracking data to uncover how it affects your team’s productivity and which data points you need to work on to drive better results.
Take the data points and apply them to help you better,
- Estimate project iteration lengths and velocity
- Plan workloads
- Determine resource allocation
How time tracking in project management software helps you
It works best when your project management tool has a time-tracking feature. It creates transparency in the project delivery process and makes it easy to look and capture the necessary data at a glance. Some of the benefits of having a time tracking feature right in your project management tool include:
Easy to track payments
If your team depends significantly on hourly workers to get some of your work done, it may be tricky keeping track of their compensation. But, with a time tracking tool, you’ll be able to track how long your team members spend on the job so it’s easy to determine their compensation.
Smarter resource allocation
Tracking time while managing projects offer a no-stress avenue to keep an eye on where specific staff and resources are allocated, the impact they’re making there, and where to adjust your team and resources to derive a greater level of productivity.
Smart time tracking yields actionable data that you can look at and see what to change to manage projects better, faster, and under budget. Time tracking helps measure project progress, the time individual team members spend on specific tasks, and that way, it’s easy to see what to change to increase the team’s productivity.
With a view of how long it takes specific team members to deliver specific tasks, the project manager can uncover where to assign team members to achieve maximum productivity.
The execution part of the time tracking process is the most important since here’s where time tracking is applied to improve your project management as a whole and deliver better results than you previously recorded. Try, experiment, and analyze your data with the help of project management software that has time tracking features like Kissflow Project so your project management can improve over time.
In conclusion, time tracking forms the basic foundation of increasing productivity since you can only optimize what you track. Time tracking will not only help your PM team uncover much you’re spending on tasks but will help you determine how to deliver results faster.
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