You have reached the point where time tracking not just for invoicing; it has become a source of data. Time tracking data can help plan and improve your team’s schedule and capacity.
Now you need to convince your team to track time accurately and consistently. You need your team to make time tracking a habit. Implementing time tracking for the first time? Download our free time tracking policy template.
Time tracking goes beyond invoicing and payroll. Accurate timesheets can:
It can be helpful to use a problem/solution statement. For instance:
It is key that your team understands time tracking will improve their workday. It is not just an administrative nuisance or an overbearing invasion of privacy, but a source of positive data.
Setting reminders to record time is similar to setting an alarm clock. Identifying when you will track time is as important as setting the reminder. Common times to track time include:
Reminders can be divided between physical and mental.
Physical reminders include notifications such as email reminders or in-application notifications. This type of reminder is useful for when you are recording time once a day. Many time tracking applications feature email reminders that can be set up by a manager. This is a quick and easy way to remind your team to fill out their timesheets. Calendar reminders are a good alternative if your application does not feature reminders.
Mental reminders work best when logging time multiple times a day. logging time when switching tasks is the most common mental reminder. The key is to build a subconscious habit and associate switching tasks with recording time — “Now that I finished this task, I need to record time”.
Read about creative time tracking ideas.
Intertwining your timesheets and routines makes it easier to communicate the value of tracking time. The data you are collecting is useful for a number of activities that your team is already doing, including:
Your team will be more energized as they see the results of reviewing time data. Using timesheets proactively will provide improved capacity management and more accurate scheduling.
Making time tracking a habit requires effort. Recognizing your team members for tracking time ensures that they feel appreciated. One-on-one meetings and standup meetings are a great time to recognize milestones — or program timesheets to unlock the beer fridge.
Every team member is different and should be rewarded in their own unique way. One person may crave public recognition while another will be more appreciative of a small but meaningful gift. It is up to you as their manager to decide what is best.
Make sure to continually reiterate the benefits of recording time. Long-term benefits, such as increased employee utilization, may take longer to see. Focus initially on the short-term gains such as delegation of tasks and more accurate project planning.
Time tracking is your key to continually reflect on the effectiveness of your project and capacity management process. Improving the process of time tracking also requires review and improvements.
Analyzing your timesheets will allow you to improve your feedback loop. The key is to use your timesheets to keep an open dialogue with your team. Continually ask you and your team questions, such as:
Additionally, having a tool that does the analysis for you will help take your project planning to the next level. Bric uses analytics to improve project plans automatically. Once a project is completed Bric will provide suggestions based on the timesheets for that project — Try Bric Free for 30 Days
In conclusion, time tracking is just like any other habit. It takes an effort to build the habit and you may be inconsistent at first. However, the data you collect will help your team make better decisions, improve scheduling, and lead to better projects.