All your project estimates are done and you’re comfortably monitoring progress. But something is missing. Unless you know how long tasks are taking to complete you can’t assess whether you are on track or not. You need to know How To Track Time On Your Project. Working out hours spent on tasks is easy when you know how.
Set up online timesheets
Online timesheets have a big advantage over paper-based timesheets or a standalone time management system. When you have everything online it is easy for your team members to get access to their records wherever they are working and at any time of the day. It’s also easy to link the time management data to other areas of your project like your schedule, as we will see next…
Link timesheets to your schedule
Use your timesheet data to populate your project schedule. You can set it up so that the data feeds in to the relevant line about each task and marks it as a little bit more complete. It saves your project team (and you) a job as you don’t have to update your schedule manually quite as often.
There is a built-in link between the project schedule and timesheets in ProjectManager.com so you don’t even have to set that up yourself. It’s the easiest way to get regular status updates from your team.
Collect time tracking data
OK, so you’ve created timesheets for each person on the team and you have linked them to your project schedule so that everyone can see the data and what it is used for. Now you have to get your team to fill in their timesheets so you can get the data in the first place!
Some individuals can be reluctant to complete timesheets as it can feel as if their work is being judged, and it can turn into a competition about who can work the most hours. The best way to avoid these challenges is to be honest about what the data is being used for: improving your project tracking. Let them see how it is being used and why it is helpful for you. Try to create a culture in the team where there is no competition and that people complete their timesheets accurately without feeling under pressure to justify themselves.
Make it real-time
Another concern with collecting data about how people are spending their time is that it needs to be as it happens’. There’s not much point collecting historical data about what people did two months ago as that won’t help you monitor and control the project today. You need your timesheet information to be in real-time, so encourage your project team to enter their data regularly. Online access makes this easy as they can fit it in whenever and don’t have to be in the office. They should do this at least once a week, but more often is better. After all, think back to what you were doing last week. Can you remember everything you spent time on? Probably not, so get that information out of your head and on to your timesheet as soon as you can.
Make it easy!
Your project team will fill in their timesheets and tell you how long things are taking if you make it easy for them to do so. Make sure that they have a link to the online timesheet tool from their desktop, or that it is saved in their favorites. Limit the amount of tasks on the timesheet so that they don’t feel it takes too long to complete. And check that they all have user names and passwords so there are no excuses!
Tracking time isn’t difficult, although many project managers find it hard to get to grips with gathering this data. Use your tools and your team to help you and you’ll find that monitoring progress on your project is really straightforward.