Measuring Team Productivity with a Time Tracker

Photo by Ian Dooley

If you want to achieve remarkable business results, you need to ensure your team is productive. Plenty of useful techniques and practices are readily available to help you with that. However, applying them without measuring your team’s productivity first is of no use.

Time tracking software is a perfect tool for measuring team productivity. Hence, in this article, we will explain what you can do in order to track and analyze productivity in your company more efficiently and how a time tracker can assist you with this task.

Basically, there are just five things to focus on in this regard:

  • Define productivity goals and metrics,

Now, let’s explore them one be one below.

1. Define Productivity Goals

There’s no universal definition of productivity.

In a generalized sense, productivity is the level of efficiency in the production process, team performance or individual behaviors. Nevertheless, it can be analyzed based on a variety of criteria, such as output, compliance with task estimates and profitability.

To implement any of them, you need merely two things:

  • A clearly formulated productivity objective to compare your performance data against,

Here are some more details:

Output ÷ time invested in a task

Output is any quantifiable result of your activities. If you’re a car manufacturer, it’s represented in the number of vehicles produced, and if you’re a student — as the whole of new knowledge acquired.

But whatever the form it takes for your team, when measuring productivity, your goal is to divide the total volume of output by the number of hours invested in work. Based on this simple formula, the less time you spend on a task, the more productive you are. However, there is no universal numeric indicator of business or personal productivity. You have to find which output-time ratio is optimal in your case, either through benchmarking or personal experience.

Task estimates ÷ the number of hours worked

For many businesses, the adherence to schedules is pivotal since the failure to finish work on time often leads to severe repercussions. So, if deadlines are important for you too, you may measure team productivity by comparing task estimates with the actual number of hours worked.

In this case, an employee’s inability to comply with estimates equates to low productivity. In contrast, if one completes their work just on time, it means they are efficient enough. However, the accuracy of your initial estimates is a significant variable in this formula. If the deadlines are unrealistic in the first place, failing to meet them is not a sign of inadequate performance. It simply means you need to improve your time estimation skills.

Profit ÷ volume of resources put into a project

Not all the efforts invested in a project or task bring earnings. However, most of the businesses are mainly profit-oriented. Thus, it’s useful for them to measure productivity by dividing the total of money gained by the overall amount of resources utilized.

Following this principle, if you spend hundreds of hours on an activity that brings small to zero profit, your business productivity is low. However, when high earnings are an outcome of a minimum time investment, your productivity is on top.

To make this measurement method work better, be sure to track both billable and non-billable time. Even such non-billable activities as team meetings and phone calls incur costs. Hence, they inevitably affect your companies’ profitability and productivity.

2. Consider both Individual and Team Productivity

Paper timesheets are appropriate for evaluating individual productivity. But to analyze team productivity using this old-fashioned tool, you’ll have to sum up all the numbers for different employees manually.

The same applies to many digital spreadsheets.

However, a smart time tracker, such as actiTIME, will readily do all the complex calculations for you and provide you with an in-depth overview of both personal and collective performance. And that’s very important.

As noted by Jayson DeMers, the CEO of EmailAnalytics:

“Focusing exclusively on individual productivity will blind you to the failings of the group, like inefficient processes or poor collaboration. Focusing exclusively on team productivity will blind you to the unique individual strengths and weaknesses that need to be exploited and mitigated, respectively.”

Therefore, to obtain objective information regarding the state of productivity in your company, it’s pivotal to analyze both collective and individual results.

3. Run Reports

So, how easy is it to review team productivity trends with a time tracking app? Very easy — just click a button to generate a report.

Let’s assume actiTIME as an example. It allows users to:

  • Create charts showing the total working hours, leave hours, billable time, cost of work, as well as many other performance criteria;

This way, actiTIME enables you to identify any time wasters, i.e., the activities that take a lot of time but don’t result in much progress and don’t contribute to your goals. After finding all the bottlenecks and low-value tasks, you’ll be able to replace them with more productive processes without trouble.

4. Monitor Overtime

As a manager or business owner, you would likely be pleased to see your team members staying at the office for extra hours and cracking the assigned tasks one by one during their personal time. However, the overtime rate going upwards is always a warning sign.

In the short term, it’s possible to show positive performance outcomes while focusing on professional matters for 10–15 hours each day for a week or two. But in the long term, continual overtime work is counterproductive — it causes stress and leads to burnout. In the end, it reduces motivation and depletes energy like nothing else.

Increased overtime rates are linked to many more serious problems, including the increased risk of workplace injury and detrimental effects on employees’ health. Therefore, if you care about business productivity, you have to care about your staff members as well:

  • Never force overtime in excessive amounts and when unnecessary,

5. Plan Workloads

Just like overtime, excessive workloads can lead your employees towards burnout. However, without enough tasks assigned to them, your workers won’t put their best effort into performance and, in the worst case, will spend a lot of time slacking off and doing nothing important.

To help you manage team workloads better, many time trackers offer at least basic task management functionality. In actiTIME, for example, you may not only manage the work scope, create and assign tasks to responsible employees but also indicate estimates and deadlines for different pieces of work. Knowing how much time it will take your staff members to complete each task, you will allocate just the right number of duties to them per certain period. And to acquire accurate task estimates, you may implement actiTIME as well.

Use the data on your previous task and project performance to identify how many hours you need to invest in your future, similar tasks. This process is called estimation by analogy, and you can learn more about how to apply it with the help of actiTIME here.

Conclusion

Time is a crucial variable in your company’s productivity. Therefore, if you want to analyze how productive you are, you have to measure the amount of time put into work and compare it with other important productivity criteria: output, efficiency and profitability.

A time tracking app is the best instrument for collecting info about your employees’ use of time. This type of software streamlines the process of productivity measurement and, if it includes such features as reporting and task management, lets you plan workloads and monitor overtime and revenues with ease. Doing all that, a time tracker informs your decision making and helps to adopt effective strategies to boost productivity.

Originally published at actitime.com

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