All projects start with a plan. And in order to come up with a realistic plan, you must have a substantial knowledge about the elements to consider like resources, workforce and goals. Project management lets you stay on top of the project, to ensure that the only the best practices for implementation are done, and that resources are properly allocated and utilized which includes money, people and time.
Importance of Time in Project Management
One of the most important resource to focus on when it comes to projects is time. Time is a valuable criteria for the project manager to know if the project is running smoothly as planned. Time management is also essential to maximize the use of other resources such as labor and finances. Employees are paid for their time and skills, and it is their responsibility to show up every day during the required work hours, and accomplish their tasks within a given time frame.
A project manager must know how to set the priorities by giving enough time to more crucial activities to have room for better quality control. Constant reporting can also give him better insight about the workflow of the project, to ensure that tasks are properly coordinated and that the communication system is working and active. Project management is easier to implement, if everything is working within the time frame as planned.
Time is like a budget that cannot be replenished, so the emphasis is on its importance when making decisions about changes and adjustments within the execution of the project. Adjusting time frames may affect the output, and may entail additional budget for labor. That is why in the initial stages of planning, the project manager must be skilled enough to make sound estimates of the project’s start and end dates. Risk mitigation is also important, which refers to the anticipation of future risks, to consider when making schedules, resource allocation and delegating tasks to the workforce. This is done to maintain the smooth workflow of the project despite of encountering troubles or unexpected problems along the way.
The reason why project management matters is to ensure that projects are executed as planned. Time is very critical to projects, and in order to be more efficient in utilizing it, the project manager must do time tracking.
Benefits of a Time Tracking Software
The Project Management Institute (PMI), in its latest annual global project management survey Pulse of the Profession, revealed that there has been a 12 percent increase in the wasted investment for projects due to poor performance this year compared to last year. This is a situation where project management is needed to countermeasure this detrimental trend.
Dealing with fundamental elements that make up a project can help in pushing a stricter project management to be implemented. One is time tracking, which allows the transparency of the workflows and productivity levels of the team. Time tracking is an important aspect of project management that upholds accountability in executing tasks, ensures the proper implementation of plans, and that team productivity is measured, maximized and rewarded accordingly.
Effective time tracking is one of the important project management skills that managers must possess, in order to make informed and smarter decisions that will affect how projects will achieve its goals.
A time tracking software is a tool that allows a more aggressive time tracking for employees to take place within organizations, which is most important when engaging in different types of projects and dealing with different team members. It allows a project manager to gain deeper insight about how each team member executes his tasks. It also helps in making sure that resources (time, money and human resources) are properly allocated, and its use appropriately monitored.
Here are the other advantages of time tracking software in a project management system:
- Instant overview of tasks executed
Time tracking tools allow a project manager to view all the activities that his team engage in simultaneously, and how much time they spend on each, every day. This is important in pointing out which activities contribute positively to the project, and which ones are time consuming but doesn’t yield any favorable results. The project manager can also see if there are redundant tasks assigned, so as to maximize delegation and improve on the entire project workflow.
- Assigning of tasks to the right person
With constant time tracking, a project manager can assess the working patterns of his team, and assign them to accordingly to task which will maximize their capabilities and skills. Doing so will increase the chances of success for a team member, that will then motivate to stay efficient, or even to deliver beyond what is expected from him. Even economists at Warwick University found in their recent studies that people who are happy are more productive by 12 percent.
- Taking immediate action over visible areas of improvement
Productivity assures that resources are maximized, which includes time. The purpose of time tracking is to allow a project manager to know which areas to improve in each team member, in order to ensure a smooth and on-time delivery of outputs. Addressing early on everything that can disrupt the workflow of the project activities will increase the success rate of the project.
- Tracking productivity and performance levels
Time tracking also reveals a lot about the levels of productivity and performance of each of the team members, and the team as a whole. This information is important when making decisions about incentives, promotions and demotions, employee and project evaluation, and motivational programs.
- Managing remote teams
You can still effectively monitor your diverse project team using a web based time tracking software, which lets you go beyond geographical boundaries and differing time zones. Your team can work collaboratively, and you can centralize their attendance and to-do list system. You can also delegate tasks remotely, and monitor their task execution even without personal guidance. This is just goes to show how valuable is a time tracking tool for project management.
- Establish clear and realistic expectations, deliverables and deadlines
Employees tend to slack when you don’t give them a set of expectations, deliverables and deadlines to beat. It provides direction and motivation, apart from giving more specifics, that will guide them in delivering the outputs you need and expect. It is also important to remain realistic, in order to achieve greater success and satisfaction.
One of the benefits of time tracking is that it can help you set a realistic deadline and expectations for the project through the understanding you get out of the past performances of your team in a similar engagement. It helps you point out rooms for improvement, so you can apply it to your next projects.
- You can give detailed and honest feedback
With data to back you up, you can give your employees a more detailed, and definitely honest feedbacks about their work performance and output delivery. It lets you be more specific about the things they did awesomely, and as to which exact areas they need to improve on. You can also highlight their specific strengths, in order to better encourage them in always putting their best foot forward with their next project assignments.
- Multiple device integration to ensure continuous time tracking and keeping
Most time tracking software comes with companion mobile application, which allows you to stay on top of your time tracking activities even when you are on-the-go. This way, you can immediately take action over slacking behavior, or compensate for a disrupted workflow.
- Fair pay that is directly correlated to employee performance
When you pay people by hour, you can easily spot any unfavorable hours towards you, and lets you pay for the remaining that actually rendered the service you need. For employees, time tracking helps them be more productive in order to negotiate their rates better. Time tracking tools also ensure that the billing and invoicing system is accurate, which has proofs of evidence how long the tasks are executed.
- Less distractions and better focus
By simply being aware that your time is being tracked, you will be more careful on how you spend your time in doing the tasks assigned to you. Project teams can also have better focus on their work because of the sense of accountability that time tracking imposes. Distractions can lessen its effect on you, especially the digital ones that can be easily tracked.
Time tracking can help you achieve great time management skills, which is essential whether you are a project manager or an employee. It will help you to be more responsible in deciding how to spend your time, and it will make you more accountable with your decisions with regards to your team. In project management, time tracking helps establish transparency when it comes to team performance and workflows, which are beneficial to stakeholders and executive management.
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