Tech projects aren’t always straightforward. More often than not, employees in industries like software development, app design, and SaaS need room to troubleshoot and communicate with clients regularly on their specific needs — which can be difficult with their busy, fast-paced schedules. 

And sometimes, projects that your team has completed many times suddenly don’t work and require even more time to get just right — before the competition swoops in. That being said, efficiency is a huge factor in tech success, along with customer satisfaction, and of course, profitability. 

What if there was one tool that could help boost all three and set your tech firm apart from the rest of the market? 

Enter time tracking. Tracking hours spent on each tech project sets your team up for success by not only optimizing productivity, but also giving you a chance to build transparency and communication with your clients. 

Let’s look at a few reasons why time tracking in tech is so important, and how to implement it in a way that makes it easy for your team to build it into their busy routine. 

Why do tech employees need time tracking?

In the world of tech, profit, productivity, and client satisfaction are everything. The more efficient your workflows are, the happier your team and clients will be — meaning you have a much better chance of maintaining client retention and successfully completing each project. 

Here are just a few ways time tracking makes that happen.

Increased productivity

Not all work hours are created equal — sitting at a desk for eight hours a day doesn’t always result in eight hours of actual work, especially when certain tasks end up taking much longer than they actually should. And the truth is, your tech employees don’t have time to waste in their busy schedules.

When team members track time spent on each task of a project, you can understand exactly how long those tasks take to complete. By doing so, it’s much easier to pinpoint how to optimize different areas of a project, automate where necessary, and free up more time in the day to do the work needed to perfect the end result. 

Improved profitability

Time tracking software that comes packed with powerful insights is the secret ingredient to boosting your bottom line. For example, Harvest’s time tracking software turns your tracked time into visual reports that allow you to: 

  • Track budgets and costs: Set project budgets, see how much has been used in real time, and use alerts to help your team know when they’re reaching a certain level of costs.
  • Keep projects profitable: Track time as well as internal costs and rates so you can pinpoint which tasks are impacting expenses the most and compare actual time vs. budget.
  • Analyze time spent: Dive into visual reports featuring detailed insights that let you know what your team is spending billable (and non-billable) hours on and how much your projects are costing you. 
  • Improve project planning and scoping: Build a library of previous projects and use critical data to learn from your past experiences and make more accurate project cost estimates.

Better client transparency and visibility

Not only do you and your team benefit from time tracking, but your clients do as well. It’s no secret that tech clients often change their minds about project specificity — and typically need a certain level of communication on the progress. 

Time tracking makes it easy to keep your clients in the loop at all times. With the ability to provide real-time visibility into time spent on certain activities and project milestones, you can build transparency with clients and give exact information on things like costs and how your team is allocating resources. 

This level of transparency boosts the level of trust between you and your clients, which in turn improves client satisfaction during every step of the process. 

Convenient billing process

When your team is ready to deliver the final project, it’s also important to provide an easy, stress-free way to complete the billing process. With the right time tracking solution, you can turn timesheets into accurate, automated invoices without having to worry you left anything out.

And when you use Harvest, you can track not only hours worked but also project and task expenses and add them to your invoices in just a few clicks — and attach photos of receipts. You can even send invoices straight to your client’s inbox from Harvest. 

Plus, our integrations with PayPal and Stripe allow you to get paid fast, and make it easy for your customers to submit safe, secure payments with one click — hassle free. 

How to implement time tracking for your tech team

As you know, time is truly of the essence in the tech industry — your team is operating at a fast (sometimes chaotic) pace and often working on multiple projects simultaneously. Because of that, time tracking shouldn’t be a burden. It should be implemented as an easy-to-use, valuable tool that works as a partner to help boost productivity and benefit everyone involved. 

Here’s how to get started the right way. 

Choose an intuitive tool

Again, it’s critical to ensure your time tracking software doesn’t add an extra burden to your team’s workday. Select an easy-to-adopt, intuitive tool that works in the background and doesn’t get in the way of their activities. 

Harvest makes this part easy. It’s a lightweight solution for tracking work hours and projects that lets your team start and stop timers as they work through projects and tasks or even fill out their time weekly.

Harvest even helps your team build time tracking habits with custom reminders and notifications and lets them know when it’s time to submit a timesheet. They can also speed up the time entry process by connecting their calendar to Harvest to make it easy to remember how they spent their day.

Highlight the benefits 

Communicate to your team how important the time tracking process is by highlighting the benefits. If you set it up as a way to optimize workflows, enhance productivity, and make their lives easier all around, they’ll be much more likely to view it as a valuable tool and adopt the process without any complaints. 

Establish policies 

It’s critical to define policies and guidelines to ensure your team succeeds at your time tracking initiatives. Set expectations, categorize time and tasks, and encourage consistency and accuracy. Make sure to communicate these guidelines clearly with your team so everyone is on the same page. 

Create standard operating procedures 

Developers typically operate well when processes are organized with clear steps. Turn time tracking into an easy-to-follow formula that doesn’t get in the way of their day-to-day tasks. Categorize time and tasks into sections that could include planning, project management, troubleshooting, client communication, or whatever else your team needs to reach the finish line. 

Provide thorough training 

Your team needs to know how to use the product in order to successfully adopt it. Be sure to provide resources and support, like training documentation, video tutorials, and one-on-one sessions. This way they can familiarize themselves with the process and you can ensure they’re following the steps correctly. 

Check in regularly at first 

Time tracking needs to be consistent and accurate in order to be effective. Encourage your team to track their time daily and ensure all tasks are accounted for. Remind them about their training and provide resources that help them accurately categorize their time.

For the first two weeks or so, pay special attention and encourage them to ask any questions or provide feedback on how they think the process is going until you feel they’ve officially developed the habit. 

Harness the power of tech time tracking with Harvest

It’s clear that the right time tracking tool is essential for tech companies to fully thrive — and Harvest is the top solution. With Harvest, you get all of the benefits mentioned above, and you can implement the software in an easy way that won’t overwhelm your team. 

Boost productivity, profitability, and client trust with Harvest —sign up now for a free trial.