Tracking time is one of the most crucial, yet often neglected and hated, elements of project management. Timesheet management and time tracking is even more important for professional service organizations that bill on a per hour basis or work on retainers.
Why Track Time?
Of course, one of the most important reasons to track time in project management is for accurate billing. We often under-estimate the amount of time that it takes us to complete a task. When you under-estimate in a PSOG, you’re costing your company money.
Beyond the financial, there are other reasons for your team to track their time.
- Better estimating on future projects. As we mentioned, it’s easy to under-estimate how much time a task or project will take. When you accurately track the time your team spends on tasks and projects, future bids will be much easier, and more accurate.
- Identify inefficiencies. Perhaps you think that one task should take 30 minutes. When you track the time it takes, you find that for some members of your team it’s taking over 60 minutes. Using this information, you can identify an opportunity for training, automation, or a change in resource allocation to a more efficient team member.
- Understand utilization. Time tracking gives you the ability to see how your time (and your team’s time) is being used. From this information, you can identify the need for different resources, or additional staff members.
- Track revenue against costs. With accurate time-tracking on tasks and projects, you can make sure that you are achieving your target ROI on every hour.
How to Track Time
From spreadsheets, to stand-alone tools, to your PM system, there are a multitude of stand-alone time tracking tools in the market that you could choose to use with your team. Here are some key characteristics to consider when choosing how to track your time:
- Ease of Use. Tracking time is not something that most people enjoy, so having an easy-to-use system is important.
- Validation and Approvals. If you use tracked time to pay team members, or to bill customers, having oversight and the ability to approve spent time before it’s paid or billed is important.
- Level of Detail. How much detail do you need about how time is spent? Do you want time tracked to the minute? In 5 minute increments? 15 minutes?
- Organization. When you’re running a project or service organization, you need to attach the tracked time to specific projects or clients. Is this easy to connect using your time tracking system?
- Reporting. One of the key benefits of tracking time is the ability to build reports and identify opportunities for improvement in your business processes.
Tracking Time in Cloud Coach
We believe in the old adage “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” That’s why Cloud Coach built our time tracking system to give your team multiple ways to track their time – either through the quick-time entry widget, chatter quick entry, or directly on the time sheet.
Since not all of time may be spent in Cloud Coach projects, we built our time tracking tools to be used on any object on the Salesforce platform. This quick-time entry widget can be added to any object page in the left-hand column. Using a Chatter quick entry will also add the time tracking to that object.
If you prefer to use the timesheet method, you can still add time to objects. With the Timecard Genius, Cloud Coach recognizes which objects you worked on over the course of the week, and provides you with a field to add time against those objects. This can make it even easier for you to make sure you capture your time on everything that you’re doing with opportunities, Remedyforce tickets, and more.
The timecard view also lets team members see the status of their approved time. If a time entry is not approved, the team member can see why the time wasn’t approved (for example, if not enough detail was given in the record comments), and make the required changes.
Want to see Cloud Coach time tracking in action? Watch our 3 minute time tracking video.