Time Tracking Tips for Creative Agencies

John Reeve | April 6th, 2015 | ,

Time tracking tips for creative agencies

Managing a creative agency should be both fun and challenging. Tracking time, however, is neither of those. It’s boring and tedious. Creative teams don’t to fill out time sheets. They want to focus on producing their best work, the type of work they can proudly display on the wall.

In addition to creative pursuits, agencies also need to have some business acumen if they are going to succeed. And time tracking, as much as its disliked, is one of the best data-driven approaches to making good judgments and quick decisions. If your agency is considering adopting time tracking software, here are some tips to get you started.

Start with the people

People are going to be resistant to tracking their time. It’s not fun, and it’s just one more thing to do. Get people interested by making it a team challenge and rally for the greater good of the agency. And, let the team evaluate the software before picking one. The more buy-in you have the more likely your efforts will take hold.

Track one or two projects

Don’t go “all in” with any software until you’ve run one or two projects through it. You want the time tracking process to complement your existing workflow. Once the project is done, run it through a postmortem. Did the team find the software easy to use? Did the software help you avoid going over budget or missing a deadline? Tracking a real project is the best way to evaluate the software.

Ask yourself a question, then answer it

Pablo Picasso once said computers are useless, because “they can only give you answers.” He had a point. Before you can deduce what the data says, you need to figure out what you want to ask of the data. It could be you want to know which clients are being neglected, or, which projects were the most profitable. Once you know the right question, time tracking software will give you the data needed to answer it.

Getting started…

These are just some basic ideas for how to get started with time tracking. The important thing is to find time tracking software for projects you like that works well for your creative agency. The rest is just details. If you are still looking for time tracking software, consider our flagship application Intervals.

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John Reeve
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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Jennifer Payne
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Jennifer Payne

Jennifer is the Director of Quality and Efficiency at Pelago. Her blog posts are based largely on her experience working with teams to improve harmony and productivity. Jennifer is a cat person.
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Michael Payne
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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