Posted by:Ranjit Anand June 12th, 2014

How do you gauge the profit of a project? Have you ever had issues in tracking actual time spent on projects? Every project gets completed and many times, according to planned dates, but one of most important questions to be answered in the process is, did the project get delivered according to budget? Did you spend the budget as planned?  Was there optimal resources utilization? This may seem complicated, but can be solved by taking a few simple measures.

5 tips that can help track time on your projects:

  1. Address the importance of time tracking

First of all, your team needs to understand the importance of tracking time on projects. Make sure you explain the real intent of time tracking. The intent of time tracking should be for accounting and analyzing the resource allocation/utilization.

  1. Define people and tasks

Before starting the project, make sure resources and tasks are well defined and assigned accordingly. The tasks need to be defined and allocated in such a way that all the stakeholders, from developers right up to the client, understand individual tasks. Tasks have to be allocated in a manner that aligns with the capability of the person taking it up. For instance, ensuring accountability for critical tasks lies with a senior developer..

  1. Map time on individual tasks

Every single team member might track his/her time on the project, but when it comes to reporting and analysis, this data won’t be helpful. As the tasks are defined by individuals on their own terms, this might not be understood by other stakeholders in the project. What would work is having a business analyst define all the tasks upfront so that each team member gets to log time according to preset ranges and limits.

  1. Get rid of the myth

Many times, it is assumed that time tracking is followed to evaluate the performance of the employee and that it would invariably affect their performace review. But it is the project manager’s responsibility to understand and impress upon the team that time tracking is purely for reporting and analytics. It is imperative for the project manager to gain the team’s confidence by breaking this myth.

  1. Fact Check

Once time is tracked on projects, the data can be used for lot of management reports. But as a project manager it is very important to use this data to perform certain fact checks. One such check is to compare it against the estimated times, to determine if the actual time spent on the task is in sync with the estimates. This analysis is hugely helpful in planning future projects more accurately and assessing the team’s capability.

Simple measures like this can make a positive impact in the way you track time on projects. What has your experience been while tracking time? Share your thoughts!

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