Project time tracking can help you improve every aspect of your project’s performance – from project estimation and management, through to accurate reporting and invoicing. And with the emergence of automatic digital tools able to track project time, there’s no need to spend any time doing it yourself.
What project time tracking reveals
You’re about to start a project and you want to make sure all your work is accounted for. As an essential lightweight project management tool, you’re going to want to get a project time tracker set up. It will let you:
Capture all the time you spend on the project
See where your project budget has been spent
Break down all project activity across your team
Understand how long each project phase takes
Compare the billable to non-billable ratio of your work
See what tasks employees are working on
See how employees are working against their capacity
By collecting all project data together in one place, project time trackers also make it easy to analyze and act upon your findings.
What you can do with that project data
Tracking project time is one thing – actually making use of it is another. There is a TON you can do with all your tracked project data to move to a more proactive, supportive model of project management. These are some of the most effective things you can do with your project time insights:
Get complete time sheets for your whole company
Capture previously hidden billable project hours
Bill transparently and honestly for all your project work
Take proactive action for projects likely to go over-budget
Cost and estimate future projects more accurately
Balance workloads for overtasked employees
Keep employees with extra capacity engaged
Address where employees struggle and need support
Quickly pull and share project reports with clients
Make strategic decisions for your business based on reliable data
How to start tracking project time
1. Keep it user-friendly
Your time tracking tool shouldn’t demand any time or extra effort – its purpose is to make your time more efficient. It also needs to actually provide you with the full picture of what’s going on, otherwise you’ll still be depending on an element of guesswork.
2. Choose automation over manual input
The most accurate project time trackers are automatic. They capture everything you do on a project in the background while you work. You can focus on actual productive work knowing an accurate private record of all your project time is being created for you.
3. Ditch spreadsheets for good
Even if you’re an Excel genius, it’s just not possible to create a complete data set for your projects using manual input – there room for human error is huge and it’s just not possible to have that level of constant oversight. Plus, pouring time into managing and updating spreadsheets undermines the end goal of simplifying project time management.