Why time tracking simply doesn't work – and what to do instead
January 11, 2021
Problem 1: Estimated times are just plain wrong
According to the study Time is money, the accuracy of time tracking is only 67 percent - and that is only if tracked on the same day. If times are only tracked every 2-3 days or at the end of the week, only 48 to 55 percent of the times end up on the correct projects.
- No incentives for accurate time tracking: employees prioritize their value-adding work
- Short tasks are often forgotten (emails, chats and web research)
- Pleasant tasks seem shorter - unpleasant tasks longer
- Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve: the more time passes, the less is remembered.
Problem 2: Agencies lose money due to inaccurate times
According to Harvard Business Review, the U.S. economy alone loses $7.4 billion a day due to inaccurate time tracking. The average agency with 10 employees loses around $580,000 a year due to missing or incorrect project hours in controlling, planning and billing.
- Inaccurate times result in a false impression of the profitability of projects.
- As a result, proposals are often not calculated profitably and budgets are exceeded.
- Likewise, the utilization rate is distorted.
- This causes decisions to be made incorrectly or too late in the planning process.
- This again leads to unused capacity and lost revenue.
Problem 3: Stopwatch software adds to the problems
In theory, it's easy to start & stop timers or write down times on a piece of paper every time you switch tasks. In reality, you're either permanently distracted by that – or forget to click as soon as you really focus on your work.
- Stopwatches and timers constantly interrupt the workflow.
- you forget to press them as soon as you really focus on your work
- At the end of the day you have to estimate times again and end up with low accuracy.
The solution: Automatic tracking – to help you remember
Automatic Tracking is available as an add-on for any project software. It's a new concept that takes the hassle out of time tracking for agencies during the day - and allows them to track time faster and more accurately in hindsight.