Time tracking is often misunderstood as the bane of the agency. That’s completely understandable considering that most of us creatives, who prefer organic work over the binary, would rather spend our time doing creative work, not tallying up hours and running reports. The truth is that time tracking is easier than we think, and the benefits far outweigh the initial disruption of convincing the creative team to buy in.
Ready to take advantage of the benefits? Here are three tips for getting started with agency time tracking.
Make it easy
The most common advice we give to agencies getting started with time tracking software is to start small. Don’t onboard every project and then toss your team into the fray. Pick one project — preferably one that hasn’t started yet — and have your team track their time from kickoff to completion.
This is a low-risk approach to familiarize your team with agency time tracking software. And if tracking time on that first project doesn’t go quite right, try to do it better on the second project. Take it slow and learn as you go.
Make it fun
Time tracking isn’t going to be the best thing since sliced bread, but it can still be fun. For example, you could make it a friendly agency-wide competition to see who can most accurately track their time. Or track time spent on an unconventional activity, such as playing Foosball during lunch, and build a visual report to share at the holiday party.
When you make time tracking a more enjoyable experience, more of the team will buy in to it. And team buy-in is the most critical indicator of success when adapting time tracking software at your agency.
Make it useful
Both during the project and once it’s over, review the time tracking data you’ve accumulated. Run a few reports, build a few graphs, and compare the data to any expectations you had in the beginning. The data should reveal areas where your team might be under-performing, or reasons why the project took longer than expected. It should also confirm what you did right, such as allocating enough time for meetings.
The primary reason for adopting agency time tracking is to improve productivity and profitability one project at a time. The first step is to simply track the time. Once you’ve done that you can start comparing the data to your original expectations, identify the inefficiencies, and come up with a strategy to improve.