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Top 15 Reasons to Track Your Team’s Time & Tasks
In any business environment, all supervisor-assigned tasks, self-assigned tasks, client-generated tasks AND the time applied to any of those work-related tasks should be tracked daily in real-time and only in an approved tool provided by the business. Why?
The following list represents 15 of the most important reasons why time and task tracking and reporting is so critical to the level of success you will achieve in your business.
Time and task data when properly collected become
powerful sources of business intelligence and
performance management support.
- Create Objective Standards of Measurement
Real data provides for objective standards of measurement, particularly for any work-related performance appraisals. Subjective opinions and biased points of view no longer form the basis of team members’ evaluations or feedback.
- Track Progress Toward Goals
Tracking daily and weekly activity provides visibility into on-going progress toward goals which helps individual team members stay on track to achieve their personal objectives and the business achieve collective goals.
- Reveal Hidden Best Practices
Tracking data helps identify where efficiencies and improvements are being executed locally by high-performing team members with above average performance but not yet shared more broadly with other team members. Sharing the best practices moves the entire team toward high performance.
- Identify Opportunities for Improvement
Tracking the time required to complete various steps or components of any process or project helps identify opportunities for improvement. Efficiencies and improvements also generate performance achievements and accomplishments for team members who contribute to process improvements.
- Expose “Scope Creep”
Tracking time and task trends may be the only visible sign of “scope creep” – the inadvertent acceptance of additional work outside contractual obligations. “Over-worked” team members may have improperly absorbed more work than contracted in an effort to “service the customer.” Without the time data, there is no visibility to the fact that they are the cause of the increasing load.
- Establish the Baseline Speed of the Process
Working faster frequently compromises quality. Being told to get more done at a faster pace isn’t necessarily better – nor does it create an optimal work environment. Measuring the speed of the process is the first step to improving the process and preventing unreasonable productivity expectations. Time-related data associated with process execution establishes a standard (the speed of the process) and prevents unreasonable productivity expectations by managers until the process itself is improved.
- Enable Data-driven Decision-making
Time and task tracking data gives us the ability to make informed decisions about many operationally critical issues such as, productivity expectations, job standards, capacity planning, line balancing, cost reduction opportunities, utilization, etc.
- Facilitate Accurate Client Billing
Tracking time is essential for accurately billing hours to a client. Instead of estimating the amount of time it took to deliver a project, specific time records provide for accuracy and transparency which result in proper client billing and stronger trust.
- Establish Support for Future Work Estimates
Time and task tracking form the basis of the critical historical data needed to properly estimate future work and projects. This historical view is essential for proper competitive pricing of products and services and establishes credibility for estimates to prospective internal and external customers.
- Enable Accurate Work Delivery Timelines
Proper estimation of delivery dates is equally as important as cost and pricing estimates. Historical time and task data is the basis for accurate estimates and will always improve the probability of delivering projects on time. Delivery estimation needs to be accurate also for the purpose of estimating the future start date of the next project, assignment, task order, etc. – another factor critical to building client trust.
- Reveal a Total View of Project Labor
Time data that is consolidated is frequently the only way to see the full picture of how much time is actually invested by all team members engaged in a project or assigned to a delivery team. This is particularly essential for a distributed workforce with remote team members.
- Accumulate Support for Appraisals and Feedback
Task data is a powerful historical view of all the good work being performed by a team or delivered to a client – internal or external. The reporting is an effective way of highlighting the value being delivered to any client or customer. The historical accumulation of completed tasks is also an outstanding source of support for accomplishments and achievements during performance reviews.
- Ensure Proper Work Prioritization
Task data is particularly valuable when tasks are prioritized and the level of effort is estimated. These data points provide the means to focus on the highest priority tasks first and make capacity adjustments in real time when more effort needs to be applied to critical activities. This ensures that one team member is not smothered with critical tasks while other team members coast with a moderate load of low priority tasks.
- Expose Poor Performance
Time and task tracking reveals where under-performing team members’ performance may be negatively impacting the whole team – more opportunities for improvement and/or additional training. Tracking also exposes the performance of dishonest team members who may be under-performing intentionally and negatively impacting morale and culture. Usually, their peers cheer first when the supervisor finally lets them go.
- Improve Productivity and Utilization
The final reason why time and task management is so important is that by simply implementing time tracking, a team will typically realize an immediate 10% – 20% improvement in productivity – simply because the time is being tracked and there is increased visibility into productivity. It is normal human behavior that we will improve our performance when we are being watched.
All team members should be expected to understand how these essential concepts and apply them to their area of operation as well as to the execution of their duties and assignments. Cooperation with time and task tracking and reporting should be required because any business is dependent on the information for operational visibility, client reporting, accurate cost accounting, cost modeling for service pricing, etc. Literally, the level of your and your team’s success will be determined by it.
Mark Galvan is the Talent Acquisition Practice Lead, Chief Innovator and Founder of P4S Consulting which is globally headquartered in Dallas, Texas USA.
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