How project time tracking software can help you improve your team’s performance

Krista Krumina 29.05.2024

Whether you manage teams for a large corporation or a small business, you’ll find it necessary to use project time tracking software. After all, you and your team members cycle through multiple tasks and projects throughout the day. Tracking time spent on those activities is crucial to pinpointing inefficiencies and identifying areas of improvement.

But you might be wondering what project time trackers are exactly and how they go beyond identifying problems to delivering useful insights for your team. In this article, we’ll break down project time tracking software and how it can improve your team’s performance. We’ll also offer practical tips on how to integrate these tools into your work routine so you can lead by example.

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What is project time tracking software? 

Project time tracking software are tools that help teams and individuals record and monitor the time they spend on tasks, projects, and other activities. Key features include time entry, project management, reporting and analytics, invoicing and billing, and team collaboration. 

Using project time tracking software helps you identify the tasks that employees spend the most time on. This helps you accurately estimate how long it will take to complete a project so you can establish realistic goals and design an effective workflow for your team.

How do you track time in a project? 

You can track time in a project by using a project time tracker or timesheets. Project time tracking software provides automatic time tracking. Conversely, with timesheets, employees have to manually enter their time by using a tool like Google Sheets. 

Of the two options, using project time trackers is ideal. This is because automatic time tracking leads to more accurate time reports and increases employee efficiency

To track time in a project time tracking tool, first create a project. Software like DeskTime include “project” tabs and a way to create, name, and add details to the project. From there, add tasks and start tracking task time by either clicking the timer button or manually entering the time. Later, you can choose to view reports on team members to identify trends in their productivity. 

What project time trackers are available and how do they differ? 

There are many project time tracking apps and tools to choose from. Below, we’ve listed a few options that will help your team maximize their time and manage projects effectively.    

  • DeskTime: Provides comprehensive time tracking and productivity monitoring for improved employee efficiency and enhanced task management. 
  • Toggl Track: Offers intuitive time tracking and extensive integrations so users can streamline projects and tasks across platforms. 
  • Harvest: Combines time and expense tracking for detailed project cost management and enhanced productivity. 
  • Clockify: Features robust team collaboration tools and detailed project time tracking to manage and optimize workflows. 
  • Hubstaff: Offers comprehensive employee monitoring and time tracking to effectively manage projects and distributed teams. 

What features should you look for in a project time tracker?  

When choosing a project time tracker for your team, there are certain features you should focus on. Here are five of them:

  • Accurate time tracking: Your project time tracker should accurately track employee clock in and out times, what they do online, and their idle time to determine productivity levels.
  • Reporting and analytics: Detailed reporting and analytics will help you identify where your employees spend the most time and how to improve their efficiency. 
  • Project and task management: You and your team will work on various projects and tasks, so it’s critical to select a tool that allows you to easily organize, assign, and monitor those activities. 
  • Integrations: For effective workflow management, your project time tracker should integrate seamlessly with collaboration, communication, and invoicing tools.
  • Team collaboration: Choose a project time tracker that facilitates effective team collaboration through communication, task assignment, and project update features. 

How project time tracking software can improve your team’s performance 

Using a project time tracker improves your team’s performance in several ways. Here are a few: 

  • Enhances productivity: Project time tracking software provides detailed productivity reports so teams can identify time-wasting activities and reduce them in the future. 
  • Optimizes resource allocation: Managers can better allocate resources across teams once they understand how much time a task or project takes. 
  • Streamlines communication and collaboration: Project time trackers help team members work together more effectively by enabling information sharing, task delegation, and project tracking
  • Refines performance evaluation: Managers can use time-tracking data to objectively evaluate employee performance, which will also help them assess and address team training needs. 

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How to implement a project time tracker into your work routine

Before implementing a project time tracker into your routine, you should first establish clear goals. Think about why you want to adopt the software and what you hope to achieve. For example, you might want to prevent bottlenecks or improve team collaboration.

After deciding that, choose the best project time tracking software for your company. Consider the size and needs of your organization as well as desired software features. For example, Toms Panders, the co-founder and CEO of optimization platform Setupad, chose to use DeskTime for his company because of the tool’s app and URL-tracking and productivity reports. 

Once you’ve decided on a tool, communicate its value to employees and train them on how to use it. Then, analyze the results of adoption and adapt your approach as your business grows. 

How to use a project time tracker: 6 tips and tricks 

Here are some quick tips on how to use a project time tracker effectively. 

  1. Tailor the software to your work style: Customize your project time tracker’s project structures, time tracking intervals, and task categories to suit your workflow. 
  1. Organize time around clients and projects: Match activities to specific clients, projects, and milestones. That way, you can understand data in time reports and gauge your productivity in terms of deliverables.
  1. Use project tags: Categorize your time by task type like meetings, writing, research, and more so you can filter time reports and generate detailed invoices for clients. 
  1. Start a new timer for a new task: Instead of lumping tasks under one entry, start a new timer when switching between activities. This will help provide granular data for better work insights.  
  1. Estimate time when you forget to use a timer: If you forget to start or end your timer, approximate how long you spent on the task (or, on DeskTime, check your tracked time) and manually enter the data so you don’t underreport your time.  
  1. Audit time for accuracy: Each week, audit your time entries to ensure you’ve matched the right entry to the appropriate project. This will ensure accurate time and productivity reports. 

Leverage project time tracking software for a more effective team 

Whether you want to prevent bottlenecks or improve team communication, project time tracking software can help you and your team streamline your workflows and accomplish goals. These tools provide valuable insights into your team’s productivity and allow employees to collaborate more efficiently. So, adopt project time trackers into your work routine and relish the results. 

Keep in mind, though, that your project time tracking approach can—and should—change as your company and team evolves. Remain flexible, stay on top of software updates, and even switch to more suitable tools to ensure your organization and team continue to flourish.

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