A Project Management PDF on Tips for Time Tracking
In the business world, time is money, but how does one go about gauging the overall profit of each specific project their company is working on? Each task and project overseen by your business will take time, but exactly how much time will it take? Are you making a profit, breaking even, or making a loss? Are your projects meeting deadline forecasts or are you coming up short? All of these questions need to be addressed carefully in order to grow your business and continue to make waves in the highly competitive business world. This is why today, we are going to be looking at time tracking and why you may want to create a project management PDF for internal guidelines. To help ensure deadlines are met and that projects remain on track, software with time tracking features is proving hugely popular lately, and for good reason. But how does one go about accurately tracking both their own time, and indeed, the time of their employees? Here’s a series of proven tips for time tracking which you may also want to refer to if you’re making a project management PDF as internal guidelines for your staff.
Emphasize how important time tracking is in your project management PDF
When you initially begin utilizing time tracking software for the first time, you may be met with some resistance from some employees. This is to be expected, and it can easily be resolved. These employees may see time tracking as a way of snooping on them, making sure they aren’t slacking off or cheating the system. It however, is down to you to explain that that isn’t what it is about. With time tracking, the idea is to help ease the burden and lift the strain from overwhelmed employees. Software with a time tracking feature allows you to see how far along a project is progressing, and you can then use this info to decipher whether or not help is required. Explain to your employees that it is there to help you analyse the allocation and utilisation of resources. In plain English, explain that is there basically to help you assign employees help when it is required if they are working solo on a project that ideally requires two people. The software is there to help them, not hinder.
Provide a budgeted number of hours
The next tip in you may want to include in your project management PDF, is for you to set a specific amount of budgeted hours for each project. By looking at previous data, and past experience with similar projects, you can achieve a better understanding of roughly how long each individual task is likely to take, and you can then budget accordingly. If for example, you have a project with a 4 weeks deadline, which based on previous experience and data, requires roughly 20 hours, you can then budget for the 20 hours accordingly. How you do that will depend on how large your workforce is, and how many other projects you happen to be working on. By utilizing the software however, and comparing previous data, you get a rough idea of how long the project is going to take, and you can budget accordingly. For example, you could perhaps budget for one employee to spend 6 hours per week on the project, which, come week 4, should mean that they’re ahead of schedule with time to spare. This not only helps with project management and planning, it is also useful when drawing up rotas for the workplace as you know roughly how many hours to assign each employee.
Make sure you follow up on progress
This goes for you and of course your workforce. When utilizing timesheet software, it’s vital that you utilize the build-in reporting tools. The software itself will let you see how many hours have been reported for each specific project, overall progress of the activities, and how much time has been spent on it. By utilizing these reports all you have to do to see how far away from completion a project is, is to click on it and take a quick glance at the data staring back at you. This not only sets your mind at ease, but it also lets you keep your clients in the loop, as you can give them an accurate idea of their project is moving along, rather than simply having to guess.
Clearly and concisely assign people and tasks
When it comes to tracking time, the next tip to include in your project management PDF that we’ll be sharing with you today, is one based upon clearly and concisely assigning people and tasks. Before assigning employees to ongoing tasks and projects, it is always best to bring up previous data from similar tasks and projects, and to use this to assign manpower accordingly. If for example, you have a project coming up which is very similar to one your company worked on previously, you can bring up the data and see who worked on it previously, how long it took to complete, whether deadlines were met, and how much it cost. If you can see that an employee of yours has worked on similar projects numerous times in the past, and has always completed well ahead of schedule and below budget, the smart move would be to assign that same employee to this task. If however, you’ve had similar projects which have gone over the deadline because you’ve only had one employee working on them, you can use the data to assign two employees this time around, to help ease the burden and to ensure that deadlines are met this time around. Tasks should be allocated based upon the abilities of the employee/employees in question, in order to ensure they’re completed on time and at, or below, budget.
Analyse the data which has been collected
After time has been tracked for a project, you shouldn’t simply sit back and ignore the data because the project is now complete. What you should do instead, is bring up the data and analyse it in detail. This data not only gives you a better overview of your company, it also gives you an overview on the capabilities of your employees. Do you have employees that constantly meet deadlines well in advance, while keeping costs and business expenditure down? If you do, the software will show you this in black and white, and you can use this to your advantage. This emphasizes that the employee in question is an asset to your business, and losing them would certainly be a blow. You can therefore praise the employee on a job/jobs well done, and can even potentially give them an incentive to continue what they’re doing, perhaps in the form of a promotion and/or pay increase. On the flipside, if there are employees that seem to struggle to meet deadlines, or who are running up business expenses that are too high, you might wish to use the data collected to take them to the side and have a quiet word and figure out what’s going on. The idea here isn’t to discipline, but rather to help. It could be that the employee simply requires additional training, in which case you could send them on a course or provide them with the training they require to work more efficiently.
Utilize lists of activities
Time reporting software comes with many features to help make your company run more efficiently. For example, not only does it integrate effortlessly with Outlook allowing you to utilize it with the Outlook calendar, but it should also come with the option of adding lists of activities. With a few clicks, employees can effortlessly add a list of activities which time can then be tracked against. For example, employees could add ‘web development’ as one of the activities they wish to track time against and can then simply input how many hours they spent on web development or any tasks and projects they happen to be working on at the time. As an example, they could make an Outlook appointment with the subject for example as ‘web development for a new client’s website’ and add the time tracking info to it.
So, there we have it, just a few tips proven to help you effortlessly and efficiently track time in the workplace. We hope that these tips on what you may want to reference to in a project management PDF on time tracking have proved useful and informative, and hopefully it has now convinced you that time tracking software could be the perfect solution to help take your business up a gear to the next level.
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