Businesses have grown mature in their time tracking approaches over the years. Be it customer demand or competition, organizations have moved swiftly on adopting the best possible time management practices.
Time management is one of the most sought after skills for success both individually and as a business. The benefits of time tracking are known since time immemorial, yet we struggle to manage it optimally.
When time isn’t managed optimally, you get caught up with:
- Project timeline and budget breaches
- Over stressed teams
- Sub-quality deliverables
- Very high cost of delivery
- Reduced margins
- Customer dissatisfaction
It all starts from a single distraction and/or procrastination. And soon spreads like an epidemic eventually eating up your entire project execution and delivery.
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Disciplined time tracking helps you overcome the most common pitfalls while running your projects and business.
Be it filing taxes on time, delivering on time, billing and receiving payables on time to disbursing salary to your employees.
Imagine if your employer was erratic in paying your salary. Wouldn’t your financial planning for the months take a hit?
It is for these reasons that there is a disciplined approach to settling dues, submitting claims within stipulated time.
I put the above example to the forefront to showcase that time and money go hand in hand. Any mismanagement in either of the 2 departments and things take a downward spiral.
And it goes without saying that project execution is directly tied to a company’s finances. There is a lot at stake. The firm’s reputation, competition, employee productivity & satisfaction and profitability.
Let’s take a look at some of the simplest thing we can practice with the help of time tracking tools to keep us and our projects on track.
Time Tracking in Business Project Management
Project budgeting is directly dependent on the effort estimates required to fulfil the project objectives. Thus a lot of effort goes into the project planning phase.
Extreme caution is exercised to make as perfect a work breakdown possible to track the minute of the costs associated in meeting the deliverables.
And the fun begins once rubber meets the road – Project Execution!
Setting time expectations
As a Project Manager, the first thing to do is ensure clarity around acceptable turn-around times. Rope in your experts in the task breakdown exercise and set realistic estimated hours against each task.
Bake in the required and available skills and estimate right. This will ensure the team understands the task at hand and the associated estimated hours to return quality work on time.
Enable time tracking measures
Give your teams the right time tracking software to track their efforts. Tools like Orangescrum provides multiple time tracking measures.
- Time Log entry
- Daily & Weekly Timesheets
The teams can start tracking time spent on their tasks from the word go. They will be able to see how close they are to the defined estimated hours. It would also generate a sense of urgency leading to focused execution.
Also, the multitude of options gives them enough flexibility to choose the option they are most comfortable with. Most importantly, time entries are logged while they focus on their tasks reducing manual efforts.
Planned vs Actual – Resource Utilization
Monitoring is crucial to see how your teams fare w.r.t defined timelines. As PMs you must review resource utilization on a weekly basis to keep a tight noose over your execution speed.
A typical resource utilization report would provide you the key inputs such as
- Task title and task type
- Estimated and spent hours
- Billable & non-billable hours
As a result you can quickly gauge
- What type of tasks consume the most of your team’s time?
- How many tasks breached their estimated hours?
- What is your billable to non-billable hour ratio?
- Which task estimates need revision?
- Which tasks can be reduced or eliminated?
Most importantly the ability to know each resource’s billability and productivity index at regular intervals helps you strategize execution in a way to generate maximum revenue with less.
Resource Availability – Leave Tracking
Resource availability is integral to delivering the project on time and with quality. Having a central platform that can list out all resources’ availability is a huge plus. And if it is baked in with your project management, nothing like it.
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Basically, as you start assigning tasks with estimated hours, the resource calendar starts to fill up. Hence over time you come to know when and how many of your resources will be available for your project or the ones in your pipeline.
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management for growing teams
This gives you an edge to plan ahead for your upcoming projects.
An organization wide view enables you to do your resource capacity planning as well. Hence you can ensure all your resources are assigned to billable projects!
- All team members know the impact of their efforts on the project deliverables.
- Paperless time tracking on a central platform makes it easy to collaborate across the board.
- Historical data across multiple projects enable you to make aggressive estimates with available skills to deliver at speed &generate more profits.
- Improve team motivation & productivity across the organization.
- Optimize existing processes for agility and quicker turn-around times.
- Invoice with confidence and on time to receive your dues on time.
- Build customer trust with detailed time sheet and resource reports to showcase the deliverables and eliminate billing ambiguities.
- Robust project, task, time and resource reports enable quick & insightful decisions
- Take on more work, deliver better, and get paid better.
How would you rate time tracking practices at your organization today?
Whether you are a digital or IT agency, an engineering team or work extensively with remote teams – take a test run with Orangescrum & hone your time management skills. You can thank us later