Tips for tracking and analyzing time and budget
Don’t track more than you need
Tracking time puts a burden on the person who needs to enter it. It’s more efficient to track as little as possible to meet your organization’s goals.
Some organizations don’t track time at all. They assume what was planned is what was incurred. These teams calculate incurred hours and amounts as confirmed and unconfirmed past-scheduled hours.
Other organizations need more information, and record only the hours needed for each project. They set time tracking to hours and minutes.
Detailed tracking requires your team enter notes for each time entry. This method allows for more filtering and analysis of reported hours.
Enable good decision-making
People who do the work are better at determining the best time to do it, as long as expectations around deadlines and how much time they should spend on something are clear.
It’s best to make assignments as high-level as possible, for example, a week-long assignment of 20% of a person’s allocation rather than a day-long assignment of eight hours, for example. This way, people have the ability to plan their entire week around higher-level expectations.
Analyze across segments
Reports allow you to group incurred and future hours, budgets and utilizations, and more, from different perspectives. You can analyze the hours for one project, all hours grouped by client, discipline, role or month, or many other pivots.
Analyzing reports helps you make strategic adjustments going forward. You might find certain people always need more time for work or certain clients always go over budget. These details help adjust your estimates going forward. For example, that client that always runs over? You might add three extra weeks when you start your next project with them.
You can create project templates with suggested budgets for certain activities. Report data gives you real insights into how to set up those templates, improving your baseline planning every time.