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Who should be tracking time in your software company?

software teams time tracking.png

We at TechTime, hear and feel you when you say time tracking is a pain. But like most things in life, tracking time isn't a choice. It's a process your organisation needs to fully commit to so that it can reach its optimum productivity

Depending on the size, a software company typically consists of individual contributors like Stakeholders, Operations Manager, Project Manager, Team Lead, and teams like Development Team, UI/UX Team, Testers and Support Team. Other roles like Marketing, Sales, HR and Finance support these teams to reach business goals. 

Some would argue that everyone on a team NEEDS to track time — yes they do, but to achieve anything big, you start small. 

Teams or individual contributors that should be tracking time:

Project Managers

According to Projectmanagement.com here are some key responsibilities of a Project Manager.  

  • Planning

A project needs to have an effective plan; defined scope, activity schedules, resource allocation and solutions for potential risk. Time spent on similar projects in the past can also a contributing factor. eg. Company ABC takes 3 weeks for approval. These factors contribute to your planning process. Making activity schedules and sticking to a time frame is paramount for successful project completion. 

  • Setting Goals

A SMART goal, (Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Timely ) needs to be set for the project. 

  • Time Management

A project manager requires to time all activities to ensure a timely completion or communicate delays to clients. All tasks have a time estimation that determines the daily priorities of teams. 

  • Budget Allocation and Cost Estimates

Resources and cost are attached to the tasks done by the team, hence the time spent on tasks play an important role.

  • Implementation and Monitoring

Project managers manage teams and see-through project completion from ideation to implementation. Monitoring the project often includes watching over the time spent on each task and executing the project effectively and efficiently. 

'Time' plays a key role in successful projects. Thus, time tracking is imperative. Project managers need accurate time and work logs to see what is being done, in how much time. This not only helps them execute the project they're working on but also plan for future projects. Time tracking is a valuable exercise for agile teams–it gives insight into how and where time is being spent at a more granular level, which allows to better account and control for non-productive minutes and hours. Time logs are the foundation for various project-related decisions. It increases autonomy and promotes productivity. 

Software Development Team:

It's no secret that most software developers hate tracking time, and even if they do - they log time in big chunks. The timesheet offers no transparency or accountability, defeating the purpose of time tracking. Team Leads encourage logging time, which often falls to deaf ears. Hence have a separate article on 4 ways a team lead can improve time tracking for software teams.

Software developers are the profit center for the business. Inaccurate time and work logs have a direct impact on the bottom line of the business. Here's how:

  • Resources are mismanaged. Either developers are overworked - that leads to burnout or they have too much time - losing the opportunity cost
  • Inaccurate customer invoicing — over-billed customers can be dissatisfied with your team, underbilled customers will affect the revenue
  • Stuck with Bottlenecks. Time and work logs provide visibility used to improve operations and decrease unprofitable tasks

Developers are working on multiple projects at a time, logging work in real-time under a relevant project is a burden. Every unfocussed minute incurs a loss to the company. Even though 'development' is a core task of a developer, the actual attribution of effort can be very different from work item to a work item. Part of a big project can be considered Operational, Billable, Non-billable, Capitalisable, Research, Development, including R&D that qualifies for tax credits. The key to tracking time is keeping time, not wasting it. Most developers won't remember to start and stop time trackers. An issue can sit in a particular status for days, so time tracking based on status transitions isn't a viable option.  A fine-grained time keeping is imperative to bill the customer accurately. Developers need something non-invasive, automatic and accurate.

 

Support Teams:

Time is money — especially for a Support Team. They have SLAs to meet, customer-facing issues to process and let's not forget all the internal work.

Customer-facing support teams are the profit centers that bill customers based on time. Internal help-desk teams are cost centers that log time to justify budget allocation. Both need to track time. 

When support engineers work on multiple issues, tracking time becomes a low priority. At the end of the day, when they need to fill their timesheets — the guesswork begins. Time is lost, impacting business revenue. 

Recording time logs is the start of the process that is followed by review and reporting and feeds into billing and invoicing. In the perfect world, an engineer would start and stop the time-tracker as they go through their issues. Alas, humans aren't this disciplined, hence we have the need for automation. 

Leave your support team with the job they do best — answering support requests. 

TechTime being a software company, knows and understands the need for a good time tracking app for Jira. Hence, EasyTime was developed. It logs and tracks time automatically without the need for changing issue status or starting a tracker. 

  • Tracks time when the issue in your browser tab is open and pauses once you steer away
  • Gives your team a customised experience with options to configure the priority of events, eg. closing an issue, commenting or viewing an issue 
  • Reflects and highlights the automated time logs on timesheet apps like Tempo Timesheet

Apart from being accurate and automatic, EasyTime simplifies time logging. When you let the machine pick up the slack, your team can be focussed on productive tasks. No training required, no 'track your time' speeches in the meeting. Just install it, and we do the rest. 

EasyTime embodies our slogan 'Be Lazy. The Machine Does It Better. — #everykeystrokematters'

3 comments

Thanks for the article! "Be Lazy. The Machine Does It Better " -  very cool slogan)

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