- July 7, 2014
- by Jakub Szyszka
- 3 comments
Ok, we started time tracking implementation with a great kick-off meeting. We explained everything.
But it is a time to ask: how can we be sure that this implementation is going the right way? How to know this?
At first, we weren’t convinced how to check this with confidence. It was so frustrating, because we wanted to implement time tracking successfully, and we didn’t know if it was progressing!
So we’ve done an experiment and research. This enabled us to create a list of 11 items you should examine with your process. Notice, the criteria might differ from the kind of company you are.
If you will follow our checklist, you will have a tool to check whether you are going the right way or not. It’s like a compass for us and for you.
We had a short break between next posts in the cycle. However, we wanted to gather enough knowledge to share with our readers. Moreover, we wished to present it in an attractive way and provide a real value for people who care about successful time tracking implementation in their companies. Hopefully, this would be another step that will help go through successful time tracking implementation.
1) Are timesheets filled correctly?
Timesheets are the core part of the time tracking process.
Below are three strong criteria to help you identify your progress in this area. Here you’ll find some technical tips how to do it using TimeCamp.
a) Check how much time do your employees spend on doing their job.
We look at the report called “by days, tasks and people”. We analyze what single person was working on for a specific day and check if timesheets are ok.
In TimeCamp you can also compare this time, against the time of turning on/off the computer. This helps you monitor if every person tracks the time adequately to the hours spent in the office.
(BTW, it’s a boring task, so we will soon have a new feature called Approvals that will help you with this.)
b) Ask your team how would they track time for specific activities.
Not informing your team how to register time for specific situations is a common mistake made in time tracking implementation.
We talked about it during our kick-off meeting.
These are phone calls, emails, short meetings, helping others.
Very often it was hard to assign them to a specific category or task. With common and simple rules, we are able to put them into the right item in our timesheets.
We randomly asked members of our team: how would you track time, for example, when you are organizing your work or cleaning your desk?
2) Do we regularly use data from timesheets?
For effective time tracking implementation not only you need to generate reports to calculate time in projects. You also should regularly remind your team that data from timesheets are useful for the company and for people.
a) Do you generate reports at least once a month (best once a week)?
Let’s be honest. If we don’t generate reports once in a while, it means that time tracking is a waste of time.
We are doing this for various reasons: project management, regulations compliance, payroll and PTO, invoicing, etc.
It’s the essence.
But even if it happens, there is still a light in the tunnel. There’s a possibility we haven’t set clear benefits and “goals” at the kick-off meeting so it’s worth to take a note of it.
b) Do people generate reports (just for curiosity)?
If the answer is yes, it means that they are more aware of the benefits of time tracking.
Checking up on own reports first happens from the simple curiosity.
We noticed that in our team people do it.
How you can see this? It will be registered in the detailed report from activities, where you have all names of websites visited. Or you can just ask.
This is one of the premises of successful time tracking implementation.
We prepared a short tutorial on how to generate powerful reports in TimeCamp. To check, enter here.
(BTW, we will soon have new reports that have a feature to send any report to email periodically).
c) Do you feel that time tracking became your habit?
Let’s be honest, at the very beginning most members treat time tracking as an obligation. But the more you use it, the more familiar you become with it.
Finally, it becomes a habit.
You still know there’s a lot of work but you feel the progression and see the benefits.
Such feeling is very precious. Being aware of where it all leds makes you use it even more willingly.
3) Does time tracking help you execute your business goals in Project Management?
The place where time tracking is the most useful is project management. To get sure the implementation is going the right way we ask those questions:
a) Do we use time tracking data for planning and estimating?
Make sure that in the planning process you take into consideration all the insights contained in reports from time tracking.
b) What kind of activities are being registered in projects?
Contrary to appearances, time logged in your timesheets doesn’t need to refer to the real time worked on a specific project. With TimeCamp’s desktop application you can assess the reliability of time tracking.
Check what kind of computer activities are being registered by your team with simple steps. This will let you see what tools do they use. How do they spend their time in the office. If they are filling the timesheets honestly.
The thing that will show you if the members are familiar with time tracking will be also a match between projects and activities. This will show you if people pay attention to filling their timesheets right.
c) Are you aware of project profitability?
Using data collected by TimeCamp software you should be able to decide which projects are worth investing time and resources.
d) Do you share data with your clients?
In specific situations you can also take advantage of timesheets in building business relations based on honesty and transparency.
If you share the results with your clients, you can consider the time tracking implementation as completed.
e) Do you check budgeted time versus actually tracked time?
You will know that project will take more time than it should, if you will check budgeted time versus tracked time.
This helps to inform clients about the issue that might happen, or make adjustments before something very bad happens.
Some of such things you will be able to do automatically in TimeCamp very soon!
f) Does time allocation across projects fits priorities?
Sometimes the starting point to implement time tracking is to gain a valuable knowledge about your work and your team.
You need to know if you spend enough time on your key projects and tasks. If time allocation across your tasks fits the set priorities.
Then the timesheets which are filled correctly correspond to the task structure.
Following the checklist allows you to answer the questions that may bother you. Or it will make you more aware of them. Thanks to this tool you are able to easily monitor the progress of the whole process and notify the weak points you should still work on.
We created the checklist in PDF so you can download it and print it.
Share your thoughts about this topic in comments!