Improve Project Management With Time Tracking

Leading a successful business, whether individually or as part of a larger company, comes with its own set of challenges. From failing to set clear and defined goals to mismanaging team members and assigning the wrong tasks to the wrong people, managing a business can be a struggle without proper project management

While there are many ways to improve your project management skills, one of the best and quickest ways to do so is using a time-tracking method. 

In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of project time tracking in more detail and why time tracking software is the best way to go about it. We’ll also give you a short overview of how to start your own project time-tracking journey and gradually get better at it.

Improve Project Management With Time Tracking
In this guide, you’ll learn:
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Why Is Project Time Tracking Important?

Time tracking and project management go hand in hand. Why? It’s simple:

The time-tracking data allows you to monitor and analyze how your team members spend their time on different project tasks, identify problems early on, and adjust the project pace to ensure everyone feels comfortable with it and the project gets completed within a specific time frame.

Why is project time tracking important

With project time tracking, you can easily:

  • Bill clients: This is especially true when charging clients by the hour. You’d want to have the most accurate data on how much time you’ve actually spent working on a project, so you can accurately charge your clients.
  • Review team performance: Time tracking is the most straightforward way to analyze the performance of your team members. With time-tracking data, you can get more insight into the productivity of individual members and the entire team, the tasks they excel the most at, and the times of day they’re the most productive. Drawing on this data, you can improve almost every aspect of the project completion and ensure that your team runs like a well-oiled machine.  
  • Avoid hidden costs: Not every work hour is spent doing tasks that are directly moving the project forwards. Depending on the nature of your business, your work days also include things like team and client meetings, answering emails, and doing administrative work. With time tracking, you can record these activities and ensure you know exactly how your team spends their work hours.
  • Make better estimates: By tracking time, you can track the duration of individual tasks within a larger project. This will allow you to gather the necessary data to create more accurate estimates for future projects.

8 Reasons to Use Time Tracking Software in Project Management

8 reasons to use time tracking software in project management

There are many businesses and companies that still choose to track time manually, However, manual time tracking comes with a lot more administrative work and can lead to businesses incurring extra costs for things like storage, additional workforce, and more. 

A great alternative is to use time tracking software. Here are some of the key benefits:

1. Ensures Transparency

Time tracking software will allow you to add an additional level of transparency to your business and the way you manage projects.

You’ll know exactly how much time it took your employees or team members to complete individual tasks. This will not only help you create better estimates in the future but will also ensure you are transparent with your clients about how much time and resources (both human and otherwise) it took to complete the entire project. 

Extra tip: All clients like transparency and want to know exactly what they are being charged for. With time tracking software and the transparency that comes with it, you'll ensure that the business reputation of your company stays high with both current and future clients. 

2. Less Administrative Work

The time tracking software tracks work time automatically for you. This will not only allow you to collect more accurate data (when compared to manual time tracking) but will also reduce the time and cost of payroll processing. This is especially true if you are dealing with remote teams, virtual assistants, or freelancers who work and get paid hourly.

Spending less time on administrative work means you can get your team/employees to focus their energy and time on tasks that move the project forward. 

Extra tip: Many time-tracking apps, including My Hours, can be easily integrated with other types of solutions you might be using (e.g., solutions for project management). When picking time tracking software, try to discern how well you can integrate it with your other solutions.

3. Gives You Greater Insight Into Your Team’s Performance

Time tracking software can give you a deeper insight into your team’s performance, allowing you to manage them more effectively. This is a crucial part of successful project management. 

Teamwork is dreamwork, and only when everyone puts their best foot forward and holds themselves accountable can you ensure the projects you’re working on get completed successfully. With time tracking, you can be sure everybody on your team is held responsible for the work they produce.

Time tracking allows you to review the performance of your employees, i.e., how much time they took to complete tasks and the overall quality of those deliverables, which gives you an accurate picture of how productive your team is, both as a whole and individually.

What’s more, time tracking allows you to identify patterns in people’s work behaviors by collecting information such as:

  • How long it takes individual team members to finish certain tasks;
  • Which of your employees is able to finish their tasks faster than others;
  • Do some members of your team struggle or take too long to finish specific types of tasks;

With this information, you’ll be able to identify high-performers and determine which employees are best suited for which types of tasks and distribute the tasks accordingly. 

For example, if a specific employee is great at Task A but takes too long to finish Task B, you’ll know that the best way to utilize this employee’s skill set is to give him tasks similar to Task A. This will make your project progress faster and can improve your entire team's productivity.

4. Monitor Project Progress 

With time tracking software, you can monitor the progress of your project, making it easier for you to meet deadlines and send in all of your deliverables on time. It will also allow you to finish tasks on time and ultimately provide your clients with quality work.  

5. Accurate Timesheets

Project management and timesheets work closely together. If your timesheets are inaccurate, you’ll most likely have trouble with your project management. As we all know, part of project management is tracking costs, so incorrect timesheets can have some serious consequences for the project, such as:

  • Businesses incurring additional costs;
  • Under or overcharging clients;
  • Under or overpaying employees;
  • Negatively affecting project timeline;
  • Negatively affecting client relationships;
  • Decreasing team morale;

Inaccurate timesheets can also have some legal ramifications, as they are in fact legal documents.

Extra tip: Some time tracking software, like My Hours, will allow you to automate the timesheet approval process and create invoices directly from your employee’s time logs, saving you the need and cost for additional administrative work. 

6. Generate Reports With Ease

Project managers aren’t the only ones who want to keep an eye on how a specific project is going. Usually, clients and company higher-ups want to be kept in the loop, too. With time tracking software, you can create detailed time reports and send them in. 

Time reports provide clients with proof that the work they are paying for is being performed, ensuring transparency and trust and making the entire invoicing and billing process much easier.

Extra tip: With My Hours, you can automatically create time reports with your collected data and send them to your clients or company’s higher-ups.

7. Track Time for Anywhere

When dealing with remote teams, freelancers from around the world, or regular employees who have to do a lot of field work, you could really benefit from a time-tracking app. Instead of requiring everybody to track and log their time at a specific location, they can do that from anywhere, using a mobile app

8. Great for Small Teams

Some time tracking software can also be used as a lightweight project management tool. This is especially useful for small businesses or teams that can’t afford more expensive project management solutions. 

Extra tip: With My Hours, you can create projects, tasks, and to-do lists. Assign tasks to your team members with unique descriptions. Set time or cost estimates for whole projects or individual tasks, and create time reports for entire projects or single tasks. 

How to Start With Project Time Tracking?

a 4-step guide on project time tracking

1. Pick the Right Tool

Before you begin implementing a time-tracking policy for project management, you’ll first need to choose the right time-tracking app. Now, you should know that there are a lot of different time management apps on the market, so to choose the best one for you, you’ll need to take into account the following:

  • The nature of your business
  • The number of employees or team members that work on the project
  • The overall goals for the specific project
  • The amount of money you or your company are willing to spend on a time-tracking solution

Once you’ve taken all of the above factors into account, figure out which time-tracking features you need to optimize or improve upon your current project time-tracking method. With that in mind, you can start your search for a time management app that will best suit your needs.

2. Educate Your Team About Time Tracking

You’ve picked the time-tracking tool that you believe will address your needs. What’s next? It’s simple. You need to educate your team on how to use it.  

This is a really important step, as introducing a new tool into your business’s ecosystem can cause more harm than good if not done properly. Ensure that every team member knows the reasons behind time tracking and how to use the specific tool you’ve decided on. 

This might seem daunting at first and look like a lot of additional work needs to be put in before you can reap the benefits of time tracking. But don’t worry, as most time tracking software on the market comes with detailed instructions on how to use it. For example, My Hours has a video tutorial that will teach you all the basics in less than half an hour!

3. Remind or Educate Some More

Many things in project management rely on accuracy, consistency, and time. To ensure that the time logs of your team members are precise and sent in on time, you’ll have to figure out and implement a good reminder system. 

Some time tracking software, like My Hours, have a reminder system in place. You can use this reminder feature to prompt your employees or team members to send in or fill out their time logs at desired intervals (daily, weekly, biweekly, etc.).

If your tool doesn’t have an implemented reminder system, you’ll have to create one on your own. To do this, you could try scheduling a daily or weekly email chain or communicating to your employees the importance of time tracking for your business (in general and for projects you’re working on). Be open to answering any questions, and continue to educate them on the subject for as long as it takes until they feel confident.

4. Review Your Data

When it comes to project management, just tracking the time isn’t enough. Analyzing and reviewing the data collected via time tracking software is what provides worth to project management for both current and future projects.

By evaluating the data acquired from the implementation of time tracking software, you can, amongst other things:

  • Understand the ways time tracking affects your team members/employees;
  • Pinpoint the things that need to be changed or improved;
  • Identify high-performers and potential underachievers;
  • Have a better overview of your team’s overall productivity and performance.