Real-Time Project Visibility: Leveraging Time Tracking for Success

All successful projects have one thing in common—they are run by leads who know how to avoid risk, drive growth, keep costs under control, and simultaneously manage stakeholder expectations and employee satisfaction levels. Doing all this, and then some is easier said than done, especially when it rests on one pair of shoulders.

Real-Time Project Visibility: Leveraging Time Tracking for Success
In this guide, you’ll learn:
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But what if it doesn’t have to be like that? What if there’s a way to keep everybody informed about the main aspects of a project, increase employee autonomy, and more easily spot and deal with bottlenecks, among other things?  

The answer—real-time project visibility.   

What Is Project Visibility?

In project management, project visibility is the process of collecting and categorizing data so that everybody working on a project can get the big picture. It ensures that every person understands its lifecycle, the progress made, and all the steps involved in completing the project, including any potential risks or bottlenecks. 

Project visibility can help you evaluate:

  • Project analytics and performance 
  • Task progress
  • Resource allocation  
  • Any potential risks and issues with meeting deadlines
  • The entire decision-making processes

A good project visibility plan revolves around visually representing all the relevant factors in a way that’s easy to understand, and making it accessible to all team members.

The underlying aspects of this type of project visibility are not only about increasing the success rate of one project, but also about promoting collaboration, transparency, and accountability among team members. All of this combined can ultimately lead to increased job satisfaction

Elements of Project Visibility

Project visibility can sometimes be difficult to understand. To make things even clearer, let’s take a look at its most vital components:

Clearly Defined Goals 

Project visibility can’t exist without clearly defined project goals. To get started on that, try and answer the following questions:

  • What is the primary goal of the project?
  • What is the goal of each task within a project?
  • What metrics are essential to track task and project progression?
  • How is task and project progression measured?
  • What are the main KPIs for each task and the whole project?

With clear goals, you can set project milestones that serve as a clear roadmap for the project. Each milestone can be a small success story on the journey towards completing a project, which is amazing for morale.  

Regular Project Status Updates 

Holding regular meetings, sharing written updates, and reading visual dashboards can all help team members better understand the current project's progress. It doesn't matter how you choose to do this, whether via a shared document or a cloud-based tool

What’s important here is that everyone working on the project receives real-time status updates. When the whole team is on the same page, their overall cohesion will stay high for the duration of the entire project.

Clear Roles for Everyone  

Every team member on the project should clearly understand their role and responsibilities. This increases cooperation, removes ambiguity, and gives team members clarity on who they can talk to when they need support. 

It’s also important that everyone gets to see the progress of each task, not only to make sure the entire team is in tune but also to raise accountability. If one employee is lagging behind, the whole team will know it and can collectively decide on how to deal with that (e.g., either by helping said employee with their task list or by switching tasks around).

Outlined and Documented Risk Factors 

A big part of project visibility is ensuring that risks and potential bottlenecks are clearly outlined for every project. Risks such as scope or budget creep or schedule and cost risks can be more easily avoided when they are documented and visible to everyone. 

Making the risk factors public and putting more eyes on them increases the chances of dealing with those risks successfully. It’s basically the “two heads are better than one” method, but for dealing with project risks.

How to Improve Project Visibility With Time Tracking?

Using technology and various modern tools can help increase project visibility and the overall success rate of each project. There’s no better example of that than using time-tracking software. With it, you can effortlessly track project and task progress, monitor resource usage, and optimize work distribution to achieve the best results. 

For example, with My Hours, you can increase project visibility by tracking various project activities in real time. The app allows you to set hourly rates for your employees, and track the progress of each task and the overall project. This ensures that everybody knows exactly how the project is faring at all times and how much time each task takes to finish. This also gives you visibility over project costs

Let’s say you’re on course to go over budget and need to change something about the project to ensure it stays on track. With the My Hours app and the increased project visibility that comes with it, you’ll see how much each of your employees costs per hour. Using that data, you can switch around resources, maybe give less demanding tasks to employees that cost less, and ultimately ensure that the project stays on budget (i.e., profitable for your company).

As an added bonus, the increased visibility you get when you use a time-tracking app will lead to an increase in employee accountability, autonomy, and ultimately, productivity. 

improve project visibility with time tracking

Improve Project Visibility: Main Things To Consider

Have a Clear Communication Plan

Regular and clear communication is vital if you want to improve project visibility. One of the main problems with that is that a lot of the time, team members fail to communicate their progress. This can happen either because they are not aware that they should share progress, or, because there’s no clear way to do it — you haven’t set up a convenient communication channel or communicated your expectations clearly. 

The consequences of that are almost always negative: missed deadlines, unexpected bottlenecks, and more. So, think about how you can ensure that a)everyone on the team knows when to communicate their progress and b) they know what channels to use. To create a clear communication plan, you should try to answer the following questions:

  • Which team members should send messages about progress?
  • When and to whom should they send progress updates?
  • Which communication channel should be used to share project updates?

Have a Project Manager 

Having a designated project manager whose sole job is to ensure that the project progresses through various phases without missing a beat (i.e., deadlines) and goes smoothly from start to end is essential. 

This is especially true for larger projects that require the simultaneous cooperation of various teams or departments. Having one person at the helm can help keep project visibility high and ensure that team members always have someone to contact about their issues or concerns.

Have a Centralized Resource Channel  

Having all information about the project (its current status and recent updates) in a centralized and easily accessible location is a good way to keep everyone on the same page. It will help your team members refresh their memories about project status, the current phase, and pending tasks. Most importantly, team members can rely on a centralized resource channel to familiarize themselves with the project developments instead of wasting their colleagues’ time.  

Benefits of Project Visibility

Project visibility offers many different benefits, including:

A Roadmap for Enhanced Collaboration

It’s difficult for a team to collaborate effectively if they don’t understand the project's vision (i.e., what they’re collaborating on and for what purpose). By allowing everybody access to relevant and important information about the project (i.e., ensuring project visibility), team members will easily collaborate and will be able to discuss each project phase more productively.

Clear Project Timelines 

When a team member misses or is surprised by a deadline, there’s a huge chance this happens because of the lack of project visibility. Project timelines that are secretive (i.e., not public) can lower employees' motivation to send in their deliverables. On the other hand, when project visibility is high, there is an increase in accountability. 

When everyone is aware of the deadlines and when everyone knows that everyone is aware of the deadlines, team members will be more likely to adhere to them and complete their tasks on time.  

Well Organized Workflows

Project visibility and clear insight into task progress and completion allow team members to manage their workloads. When the project overview is clear, and there are no uncertainties, team members optimize their workflows or ask for additional resources or time to complete their work obligations. This increases their autonomy and lowers the chances for bottlenecks.