One of the biggest challenges a project manager faces is finding ways to monitor employee progress on tasks without micromanaging or needlessly interfering. After all, who does their best work when they feel like a superior is constantly looking over their shoulder? On the other hand, an organization that doesn't have transparency into how workers spend their time can be caught by surprise when there's a major setback or delay.

For many businesses, time tracking apps have emerged as vital tools, providing leaders with important information they can use to make daily tasks go smoother and keep teams on the path toward bigger goals. With a simple app downloaded to each employee's mobile device or PC, it's possible to enforce team policies while gathering a huge amount of data that can lead to better planning and more informed decisions. If you're interested in improving your project management with time tracking, begin by making a plan for how to use these tools to bolster your team's performance.

Selecting the Right Time Tracking Apps

There's a wide range of time tracking software out there for platforms like Android, Mac, and iPhone, some available for free download. Leaders need to consider which solution will cover their needs. Lay out precisely what functions you need the app to fulfill before making a decision. There are a variety of common uses, including:

  • Businesses can use time tracking apps to record payable hours for non-salary employees, contractors, and freelancers.
  • Employees can be held accountable for their use of time by noting how long they spend on each task.
  • Leaders are able to report accurately how the members of their team are spending work hours.

While there are many options available, the best time tracking app is one that is integrated into a fully featured team collaboration solution like Wrike. That way, leaders maximize their ability to assign tasks and observe progress while everyone on the team can easily communicate and share documents in real time.

Discovering Insights and Making Improvements

Data from tracking apps may reveal pressing issues about the personnel and resources involved in completing a project. Filling out a project time tracking template can tell you a lot about why a team is not meeting expectations. For instance, attendance tracking might reveal employees are out sick frequently enough to impact project goals.

For leaders using a project time tracking app, the focus should not be on catching minor issues. You can expect that workers occasionally take short breaks or get distracted. On the other hand, looking at the data will likely show ways employees can better organize their days, such as cutting down on how long they spend answering emails or responding to questions from nearby coworkers. The tracking numbers may also point out areas where inefficiency has become a serious problem that must be addressed right away.

Setting Clear Policy and Goals

Implementing an employee time tracking app will only bring a project manager great results if he or she gets the team on board. That starts with being upfront about how you plan to track time spent on projects or other tasks and plan to take advantage of that information. Being open and honest about the team's policies for what time must be tracked goes a long way towards maintaining morale, as does offering incentives for contributing to team objectives.

When you set specific goals and stick to them, project time tracking plays a powerful part in motivating employees and keeping them on task. Decide which aspects of individual and team performance you hope to develop, and keep in mind that every employee has his or her own way of approaching their workload. Many factors go into productivity, and you may need to gather additional data before making changes that will result in more successful and cost-efficient projects.

Tracking time could be the beginning of bringing about better results for your team. Along with careful planning for milestones, deliverables, and long-term goals, time tracking apps support the entire team's productivity. With visibility into the factors that make the difference in getting a project in on time and under budget, leaders are positioned to make more informed decisions and motivate employees.