Time Track Your Way To Improve Your ProjectsEveryone in business today is constantly seeking ways to improve. No onecan afford to remain stagnant or complacent, unless they want to beovertaken by their competitors in an ever-growing market. Here are somesurefire ways to improve your business and get ahead of your competitorswith very little effort or investment.Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to gauge success.KPIs are used to measure the performance of an organization, frequentlythrough measuring activities such as performance improvement derived fromtraining, labor utilization rates, or customer satisfaction. KPIs are often tied tostrategy through techniques such as the Balanced Scorecard, but they don’thave to be as complicated as that to be useful and effective.As with most things, simplicity increases efficacy.KPIs can differ depending on strategy. They help an organization to measureprogress towards their organizational goals, such as increased penetration ofexisting customers or markets, on time delivery or reduced scope creep.A KPI is a key part of a specific measurable achievable relevant time-basedgoal (a SMART goal) which is made up of a direction, KPI, target and timeframe, e.g. "Increase Average Revenue per Sale to $10,000 by December." Inthis case, Average Revenue per Sale’ is the KPI. The above mentioned goalwouldn’t be SMART if it wasn’t an achievable goal. Nor would it be SMART ifthe word ‘December’ was left out or if it was not relevant, e.g. if this was aportion of the organization that had nothing to do with sales or marketing,like HR.Track time in order to manage project risk.Time data can make a fundamental difference to your company if collectedand used correctly. One of the ways in whichtime tracking can lead tosuccess is by using it to plan for projects and then follow their progress alongthe way. Knowing a project is behind schedule or over budget towards theend of the project’s life span does no one any good. Knowing this information
sooner, however, will help you act accordingly and stop wasting time andmoney.How can you do this? It is quite simple. The early phases of a project areusually referred to as ‘requirements,’ ‘design,’ or ‘specification.’ Let’s say thatafter carefully tracking time on a batch of similar projects you find that thefirst two phases take approximately 10% of the project time. You can thenuse that data to predict the length of future projects. I’ve found this projectestimation technique, an example, to be extremely accurate, regardless ofwhether your company’s magic number is 3% or 30%.Automate your time tracking system in order to reduce errors in datacollection.Not only should you track time within your company, but you should find theappropriate time accounting platform to automate it for you. According to amajor research advisory firm, fully automating the timesheet process reduceserrors and staff time by 75 percent or more. Automation technologies andpractices reduce improper time tracking activities and associated costs byvalidating project/cost code lists and monitoring approval processeselectronically. Additional savings are realized by eliminating paper costs, andpolicy and regulatory compliance is improved.Ensure that your company complies with SOX, DCAA and/or other relevantstandards.When payroll executives implement time and attendance systems to automatepayroll, they often miss the chance to facilitate greater profitabilitythroughout the entire company. These payroll executives are, of course,payroll experts. They are usually not, however, experts at project accountingor billing automation.However, the time data, if collected appropriately, can also be used toautomate project management, project accounting, project tracking andproject estimation improvement, as well as for internal, external and reversebilling automation -- and any of these can become SOX concerns. Most payrolland HR executives know little about these subjects, but increasingly, they arebeing asked to rise to new challenges with federal regulation requirementsbeing just one of them.
Effectively manage PTO.Controlling and understanding PTO expense allows you to recruit bettertalent. You can promise people more vacation than your competitors if youknow that its controllable. This tips the balance in your favor, allowing you tobuild a better team. It’s another way to win.The first issue businesses need to address when creating their PTO plan iswhat to do about employees who quit or are terminated. Many states requirethat the balance of vacation pay be paid when an employee leaves the firmunless the company has a policy that states otherwise. If you choose todisallow vacation time to resigning employees and you run a company of highturnover—a fact of life in certain industries, like retail or food service—thisallows you to reallocate the PTO that those who leave might have used infavor of those who stick around. In essence, you can offer more generous PTOpackages when recruiting than your more lenient competitors can offer, at noadditional cost. Considering the fact that employees deserve benefitscommensurate with their loyalty, it is also arguably more ethical.According to a recent Expedia.com study on U.S. vacation habits, in 2002, atypical American was granted 16 vacation days, but only took 14 daysoff. Consequently, American workers handed back over $21 billion in unusedvacation days to employers that year. So be generous when you hire. Theyprobably won’t use it all anyway.Consider SaaS (Software-as-a-Service).We’ve already covered the need for an automated time tracking system. ASoftware-as-a-Service or SaaS solution may be just what you need to increaseprofitability through time tracking. Consider the following:It removes much of your IT cost.It reduces the risk involved in acquiring new software.It allows you to influence product and service quality via an ongoingrelationship with the vendor.It gives you the flexibility to change usage commitments as businesscircumstances change.
It allows you to predict more accurately your ongoing expenses as your ITbudget is tightened and scrutinized.The prevalence of hosted project- and time-tracking solutions is on the rise,and many companies will be willing to try the model out -- especially if theyunderstand the clear benefits. After all, all they have to lose is one monthsrent.Improve employee buy-in by clarifying rewards.Choosing the appropriate time management SaaS solution will only benefityour company if you can get your employees to actually use it. Hourlyworkers are easiest to convince because they want to be paid, so they alreadyhave an incentive. And yet, everyone regardless of status should want thecompany to be a success, so once they understand that using time tracking toautomate billing—thereby making it more accurate—leads to more revenue,they should become more open to it. (If your employees do not care about thesuccess of your company, timesheets wont help you. In that case, you’d bettergo back to the basics of creating a moral, compelling vision of how yourcompany makes the world a better place.)Project accounting is more abstract than payroll or billing, and you don’t wantto wind up with unnecessary overtime, stressful blown schedules, badestimates or cancelled projects. Try relating specific examples where goodtime collection could have prevented problems in order to make thatconnection in the minds of your employees.Time tracking and SaaS solutions are the tools that will see your businessthrough to the next level of profitability, and in today’s competitiveenvironment, thoroughly understanding your costs is no longer an option.Reference Link: http://theicpm.com/blog/item/4656-time-track-your-way-to-improve-your-projects