Importance of Time Tracking
They say, you won’t know the value of time until you lost it. It might be slightly different with project management; you won’t know its importance until you track it. Time tracking lets a project manager be aware of how much time his team is spending in executing different tasks, and compares it to his own expectations based on the time frame set in the planning stages. Noticing some slackening can prod him to do some motivation. Executing the task ahead of the deadline deserves appreciation, or an additional incentive.
Time tracking widens a project manager’s perspective on the productivity of his team members. Daily attendance can give him insight about punctuality, but time tracking lets him know exactly the activities that his team is doing with the time they spend on the project. What project management entails is this kind of understanding. The project manager can now have a deeper criteria for evaluating the performance of each individual in the team, which is important when considering a raise, promotion, or incentive entitlement. Time tracking is also important to have a clear justification to approve an overtime.
By consistently doing time tracking with the tasks across many projects, a project manager can have a better understanding on how his team performs and how much time is required to execute different tasks and project engagements. This way, he can improve on making accurate and realistic estimates and projection on similar projects in the future. This is why project management is required to do time tracking alongside its methodologies.
Project management is crucial in ensuring accountability amongst all members of the project team in executing tasks that align with the project plan, goals and resources. The importance of time tracking is that it empowers the team to become more productive and efficient despite of the many activities to do and expectations to fill. It makes an employee becomes a self-motivated individual, which is an important characteristic whenever crisis comes. Time tracking makes one to be mindful of his work, and to be more focused in doing his tasks that contributes to the success of the project.
Time Tracking Challenges for Project Managers
Project managers wear many hats, and it is inevitable that he or she will meet different challenges along the way, which includes time tracking for employees. A Gartner survey about the reasons why projects fail stressed that it is not purely technical, which only got 1 percent, but 59 percent sees the lack of organizational skills as a contributing factor.
Supervising bigger projects
Bigger projects entail greater and more responsibilities for project managers in maintaining the smooth flow of the tasks to reach its goals. It has thus become increasingly important to maintain close supervision of the team without being too invasive, and minus the tedious task of monitoring their activities one by one.
Another challenge is associated with proper delegation. A project manager is initially clueless about how a team member will perform in a project that is different from his usual office work. Without having a deeper insight about his performance patterns, the project manager might not assign a task that he will excel at. This may affect his morale and decrease his productivity.
Instilling team accountability
Projects sometimes also fail because of the lack of accountability from some of the members in executing their tasks that are crucial for the smooth workflow of the project to commence. Missing to point out every area for improvement may produce a collateral damage in the long run, which can lead to the failure of the entire project.
Diverse efficiency and productivity levels
Dealing with different people doing different tasks becomes a challenge in evaluating the efficiency levels of each. But it is an important task to do, especially when implementing a reward system, or in evaluating probationers.
Sound performance evaluation for incentives and promotions
Projects are usually unique endeavors, therefore each requires different team members and objectives. It is hard to come up a baseline in evaluating the performance of the team members who engage in different tasks.
How to instill self-motivation skills to your team members, especially when your team is a mix of above average, average and lax members.
Transparency within the team and the project workflow
Project stakeholders, clients and the top executive management sometimes want to have a comprehensive report about the performance of your team. This helps them to know if there is a need to extend deadlines, hire additional people, or implement contingency plans.
Benefits of Time Tracking
Time tracking can benefit both personal and business productivity. The core of time tracking is to address deep rooted habits of most employees when it comes to time management. It is also beneficial for project managers who want to establish transparency in the team’s task execution to gain the trust and confidence of stakeholders and clients towards the project management.
Here are the reasons why, as a project manager, you should implement time tracking for projects:
It helps to plan more objectively and realistically
Time tracking can help set clear objectives in order to guide the team all throughout the project implementation. Realistic expectations are established because the project manager already knows how much time is spent on each task from previous projects.
No more multitasking
Multitasking as a method to increase productivity is rather a myth, wherein, according to a laboratory and social experiment study, only 2 percent of the population reaps wondrous benefits from it. It is hard to assume you are part of the 2 percent, or that successful entrepreneurs and employees all are. So probably by focusing, you can remain productive without sacrificing the quality of your work.
Time tracking helps to lessen the effects of distractions towards your work, by motivating you to focus and stay productive. Measuring the time you spent on working for a single task can also give you insights on what to improve, retain or eliminate. Say goodbye to multitasking, and hello to focus and productivity!
It provides a sense of purpose and direction for you and your team
Time tracking is an excellent motivational tool. It gives a better view of what tasks you are capable of finishing within a designated time. When you know your productivity levels, you are motivated to engage in more projects that will make good use of your time.
You can instill the same motivation to your team by giving them clearer objectives to follow and expectations to meet. Knowing individual strengths and weaknesses through their work patterns can help you come up with more ways on how to motivate them and increase their productivity and efficiency.
Performance evaluation and establishing a baseline
Detailed time sheets allow a project manager to have a solid basis in giving performance incentives or promotions. Comparing past performances to current ones can help a project manager come up with a baseline for each team member. For example, if member A were able to provide 200 articles for project A and did 250 for project B, it shows that he improved by 25 percent.
It arms you with the basis of your expectations, demands and reprimands
With time tracking, you are better informed of what your team is doing with their time to come up with realistic expectations and demands. You also have evidences to give reprimands, because it shows when productivity levels are going down and for how long. Disputes about hours paid is also easily solved through solid proofs from time tracking tools.
You can identify non-essential activities that occupy your, and your team’s, time
Time tracking enables you to lay down all the activities you engage in within the day. By looking at this perspective, you will know if there are non-essential activities that occupy too much of your time.
You can constantly check if you remain aligned with your project goals
Time tracking keeps you in constant check if your team is consistently aligned with the goals with how they spend time performing their tasks. Milestones are also beneficial to identify accomplishments worth to note and celebrate, which also helps in motivating your team.
Improves estimation and projection of schedules, milestones and project duration
Comparing with past performance reports that was time tracked enables a project manager to provide accurate and achievable estimates and projections in their project proposals.
Maximizes your team’s skills, productivity and efficiency
Most time management abilities are product of habits. Time tracking reveals these habits and points you to areas to improve and highlights your strengths as well. Knowing their time is tracked, your team can be more mindful of their punctuality and productivity. This way, you can maximize their time and skills for the project’s greater success.
You have access to time tracking tools
Time tracking is another hat that project managers wear, and the rule of thumb in increasing efficiency is to automate as many tasks as possible without sacrificing the quality of the output. In this case, there are many methods that a time tracking tool can automate like employee time tracking, billing and invoicing, task delegation, time sheets, remote management, communication systems and mobile integration for seamless time tracking.
Do you want to know what are the top time tracking tools that successful project managers use today? Check out the reviews of time tracking tools in CrowdReviews.com
Latest posts by John Tovar (see all)
- What Is Catalog Management Software and How It Helps Your Business - January 5, 2017
- What Are the Top Features of the Best Medical Billing Software? - January 4, 2017
- How the Best Hotel Management Software Will Improve Your Business - January 3, 2017