5. Time tracking

How we use the time tracking software.

Unlike working in the office, it is more difficult to understand who is working on what in the distributed team, what is the load level of each employee, if anyone has any overtime, and so on. To solve these problems, we keep track of working time and use a time tracker.

It is important to understand that time tracking for the remote team is not about monitoring and keeping an eye or forcing everyone to sit by the computer from 9:00 to 18:00. It's about productivity and process optimization. Sometimes companies monitor desktops and running applications and force employees to work using time-tracking tools. We do not practice this. After all, if a person does not want to work it is strange to make him do it. In addition, the rest of the team gets demotivated by such control.

In reality, the fact of time tracking should not distort the necessary work processes. That is, if the specifics of the work require more thinking and talking rather than programming or creating a design, it should be so. The time tracker just reflects that.

Common misconceptions

How to think wrong when you hear about tracking time in the company.

You can’t take into account calls or reading documentation during working hours, only programming, creating instructions, or design.All the necessary processes for solving the tasks need to be displayed in the tracker.
One should work eight hours straight without a break.Time tracking does not regulate the strict number of working hours but helps to see and understand individual situations. How much time should be spent on work is another matter. For example, we consider six hours to be the norm.
Time tracking equals distrust.Trust or mistrust issues do not apply to time tracking. Tracking is an element of work organization and resource planning.
You can’t spend time thinking about tasks. For tracking it is important to work with your hands.Time tracking does not determine the required processes.

How we use time tracking

1. Optimize processes

We track patterns and optimize the work. For example, if during a sprint the developer managed to perform fewer features than planned, we are looking for a reason. We see that a lot of time was spent on code review or calls. Next, we analyze why this is happening and whether we can reduce the level of administrative load on him.

2. Plan the work

We collect statistics on past tasks and fairly accurately predict the speed of the team.

3. Pay for work

We pay employees by the hour and invoice customers in the same way. This is a convenient and transparent way for us.

4. Fight the overtime

It happens that colleagues begin to not work as efficiently as usual, trying to compensate for this with additional time. This is not always easy to notice while looking only at the weekly output. In this case, the tracker shows the situation clearly and serves as a signal that it’s time for someone to take a vacation.

5. Estimate the total workload of employees

Thus, we correctly allocate resources.

6. Differentiate between working and personal time

Nevertheless, the tracker develops a certain sense of discipline and puts everyone in a working mood. And when it's off, it's time to relax.