How To Include Time Tracking In Project Management

Did you know that adding time tracking to your project management process is key to bring projects to success?

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of implementing time tracking in project management. These benefits reflect on the team, the project outcome, and you – the manager, too.

Why should teams track time for projects?

I can already hear an objection from the crowd:

“How on earth do I add time tracking on top of all I have to manage?! Aren’t mean clients and crazy deadlines enough?!”

That’s understandable. Timelines, planning, project objectives, team members, meetings, communications to balance every day, are definitely hard enough, especially when managing multiple projects.

Employees don’t like wasting time filling timesheets, and managers don’t want to chase people around because they’re not submitting them.

However, time tracking should be part of the workflow.

Think about these project management statistics:

  •  In 2018, only 37% of teams in the U.K. reported completing projects on time more often than not. (Source)
  • 58% of organizations report more defined processes and practices as their key step to project success. (Source)
  • Managing project costs (49.5%) was the biggest problem faced by manufacturing project managers in 2017. Hitting deadlines (45.8%) is the second most common problem. (Source)
  • 80% of organizations report that they spend at least half their time on rework. (Source)

From these statistics we can see that time management, resource management and communication are the basis of project success.

Although every project is different and every company has its own processes, time management and process success go hand-in-hand.

Benefits of time tracking in project management

Good time management is crucial both in work and in everyday life. And managing time starts by knowing where you spend it.

All companies should help employees improve their time management skills. That’s even more crucial when having to deliver many projects for many clients, within tight deadlines.

And that’s where time tracking comes in.

Having you and the team track time will have several beneficial effects on the projects’ success:

#1 Better time management, better organization

The obvious one is that tracking time improves our time management skills.

Everybody has the same number of hours in a day. By keeping track of where we spend them, it’s easier to understand what’s wasting our time. We become aware of how much time we need to execute a task (our brain is bad at estimating on its own).

As a result, both employees and managers can keep organized during the day and complete tasks on time.

#2 Keeping up with timelines and deadlines

Missing a project deadline can lead to cost overruns, delays, and very angry clients.

This is why it’s crucial to keep an eye on the calendar, and make sure the project processes steadily.

Adding time tracking to the project workflow will make sure everybody knows clearly if they’re sticking to the timelines or not.

If someone realizes they’ve been spending three days on a task that should’ve taken three hours, it’s time to sound the alarm.

#3 Sticking to budgets

Many projects in IT or marketing and advertising agencies are quoted in hours. (For example, a new website: 12 hours for development, 8 hours for contact, etc)

To stick to an hourly budget, managers have to distribute the hours among all the people that work on the project. Once the budget is assigned, how do you know how many hours have been used if people don’t track their time?

Even if the project has a monetary budget instead of a time budget, tracking time is essential to avoid delays. That’s because delays almost always translate into increased costs.

#4 Easier to correct before disaster

Take another look at the picture above.

The orange of that budget bar is a massive warning that something is not quite right with the hour progression of that project.

When a task or a specific project phase starts to cannibalize the team’s time, it’s still possible to correct the course before the project goes off track.

Thank goodness the whole team has been keeping track of their time, right?

#5 Accurate data to quote future projects

“How much will it take?”

To accurately quote a project to a new client, time is definitely a factor that should be taken into consideration.

With tracked records on how it takes to complete certain projects, it’s easier to provide clients (and the business, too) with accurate estimates. It’s also useful to evaluate profitability by weighing the employee costs compared to the quoted price.

Time tracking software for project management

Now you know the importance of tracking time in project management.

What are the best ways to do that?

Spreadsheets may work for a little way, but it’s a method that gets clunky very soon and it’s not very scalable.

Timeneye is a time tracking tool specifically designed for project management.

Employees need an easy way to track time that doesn’t disrupt their work, and managers need reliable data and monitoring tools to keep the project on its rails.

In Timeneye you can track time by clicking in a button, and managers can schedule reports or check the project status progression in the dedicated views.

Ready to start tracking time for your projects? Get started with Timeneye project tracking functionalities!

About Stefania

Project Manager at Timeneye. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and belting out tunes from Broadway musicals (although the neighbours don't seem to appreciate that).