You are leading a project management organization in a large company. You have found out that you had some issues to achieve proper cost allocation and recovery for your resources. You have heard that time tracking what the right approach to tackle this problem and you’d like to learn more about this technique.
What is time tracking ?
Time tracking is a process where employee will log the time spent on a task on a daily or weekly basis. Most of the time, employees will work on multiple tasks and projects during a day. Some of this time is recoverable by invoicing the customers and some of it is not. But to invoice work performed to customers, you need to have a detailed view on what exactly is being done by your team.
This is where time tracking is coming into the game. To achieve that, you will use a time tracking software. The staff will connect to it on a regular basis to log hours. Then the timesheets are going through a validation workflow. At the end, the business operations team gets the time report with consolidated hours for each customer. Those can be invoiced to the customer thus allowing your organization to become a profit centre.
Why is time tracking important for an organization ?
As a leader, you want to understand how your organization is performing from a financial standpoint. Time tracking will help achieving this target. Without this process, you can’t understand easily if everybody has enough work to do or if some are overbooked. Time tracking is essential to get a detailed view on the workload level for each individual.
But this isn’t the only benefit. It is also useful to follow-up on a project roadmap. Every project has some timelines with a set volume of hours. By logging time spent every week, your employees will help you understanding where they are with the project. You will see directly if you are on track or if some tasks take more time than what was originally planned.
Who is using time tracking ?
Companies where staff is working in project mode are using time tracking. But this is not the only situation where this process is used. For instance, manufacturers with a technical support department will also use time tracking for their teams. This allows managers to get a clear view on which customer is making your team busy.
Nowadays, organizations are much driven by metrics. Time tracking is one metric that can be used to check on performance. Obviously, this isn’t the only one. But this one is pretty interesting as it can be used across the organization and it gives a common baseline.
Caveats of not using time tracking
You aren’t using time tracking and you aren’t really convinced about its benefits ? You can probably work without it if you have a small team focused on very few activities. But once you start to have multiple projects and customers, you will have issues keeping control on the costs if you don’t know how much time you spent on each activity.
Some customers won’t worry if you bill them for what they had signed up for. But for others, as soon as you will start to have a delay or request extra budget, they will ask you for details to justify your request. This is where time tracking will help you. Otherwise, you will have hard times justifying the delays and costs increase.