It’s easy to see the benefits of tracking time on your project work. Time tracking allows you to monitor the cost of project execution, accurately bill your customers, and forecast how long future projects will take.
But getting your team to accurately track their time can be a challenge.
Here are seven reasons that time tracking isn’t working on your project.
- Your team doesn’t understand why time tracking is important. As the project leader, you can see the benefits – but what’s in it for your team? When implementing (or enforcing) a time tracking system, be sure to identify benefits to the team members, like improved visibility of their efforts, or bringing in additional resources to help their workload.
- You’re not enforcing time tracking. We all know the dentist is going to ask if we’ve been flossing. Most people say they have, even if it’s only true for the few days leading up to their appointment. Why? We don’t see the benefit to it, and there’s no one to enforce it. It’s the same with tracking time.
- There isn’t a deadline for entering time. Were you the student up all night before a big project was due because you didn’t work on it until the deadline was looming? If you don’t have a deadline for entering time – like weekly time entry – it’s easy for your team to procrastinate. Forever.
- The team forgets what they worked on. Along with the procrastination, it’s easy for us to forget what we were working on, and mistrack our time. We’ve all had those days when we know we worked all day, but when we try to remember what we spent our time on we draw a blank.
- You haven’t established best practices for tracking time. Are you asking team members to track time down to 5-minute increments? 15-minute increments? How often should they record time? What about bathroom breaks? Make sure you’ve identified and communicated your best practices to help your team track time appropriately.
- Time tracking isn’t integrated with your project systems. Anytime your users have to log into a new system, it creates a barrier. If your time tracking system is separate from where your team is managing their tasks, it’s harder to make time tracking a habit.
- Your team feels micromanaged. Depending on the system that you’re using to track time, and the granularity of your time tracking requirements, your team may rebel against time tracking and the micromanagement it causes.
Time tracking is a vital element of measuring your project performance. But that measurement is only as good as the quality of your time entry. If you’ve felt the challenges of tracking time, you’re not alone. Clear communication and expectations paired with easy-to-use tools can make time tracking an easier part of your team’s project delivery process.