Time Tracking in the Agile Process

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Photo by Ryan Stone

Lost productivity on the job is costing employers half a trillion dollars every year. And this problem is even more compounded with today’s remote work environment. So, how can you encourage your team to improve productivity without impeding their feeling of autonomy and value?

The answer is combining the agile process with time tracking to improve productivity with data. Don’t worry if you’re unsure how to implement the agile process, or you’re concerned about backlash from concerned employees when you introduce time tracking. We’ve got you covered, so keep reading to learn all about agile, how to implement it, and how to use time tracking to improve it.

What Is Agile?

The agile framework was first conceived on a snowy weekend in Utah just after the turn of the 21st century in Snowbird, Utah. Several top software development experts gathered to improve the traditional waterfall project management method. This framework didn’t translate well into the newly developing software industry.

They established the agile basics to emphasize collaboration, flexibility, personal responsibility, and teamwork. Small teams work together in short sprints to deliver a quality product to the customer quickly. This new framework puts the customer at the center of the focus and delivers a premium product expeditiously.

By following the agile process your team can deliver a product to your clients on time and under budget. Your clients will appreciate being more involved in the production process and having a say before the final product is delivered.

Your teams can focus on achieving smaller goals in shorter time frames and seeing their products to fruition much faster. Communication and collaboration are vital to the agile concept. Additionally, your teams can improve their productivity regardless of where they’re working from these days.

Smaller teams across several departments work together to deliver a product quickly. These cross-functional teams work together in sprints to bring the client’s conception to fruition.

Many startups adopt agile quickly and easily. However, if you work in a large organization, or your startup is growing quickly, it can be difficult to manage the agile framework effectively.

Overall, agile is more of a culture than a process. This is why creating workflows is vital to know who is supposed to be doing what at each phase in the development process.

How to Create Your Agile Development Process

Whether your company is in the software industry or not, you can benefit from adopting the agile framework. By creating your own development process you can take the best from agile and incorporate it into your workflow.

As with any project, you must first start with the end in mind. Everyone on your team needs to be on the same page in this development phase of the process, or you’ll never succeed.

So, create a time when everyone can meet to establish the goals of the project. Every project and product development process will have it’s own timeline and definition of done. Once you know the goal you’re aiming for, the timeline for its creation, and what your team has defined as the finished product then it’s time to get started.

In an agile workflow, there are short, clearly defined sprints in which everyone is working quickly towards one common goal. The development process is built on several of these sprints building off each other. Each time a sprint is complete you deliver this incremental new development to the client. Based on their feedback you make changes and start the next step.

Thanks to these short sprints and constant client feedback your team will see much more successful product deliveries and launches to your clients. Additionally, you will have much happier clients who feel a part of the process and feel like their input is valued and listened to.

The agile framework reduces waste and increases productivity. However, how can you know if you’re truly working at your peak efficiency? You need to track your time so you can improve any backlogs.

What Is Time Tracking?

Just as you go to the doctor every year for a check-up, so too much you continually evaluate the health of your agile process. This will ensure maximum efficiency and further improve your workflow.

Usually, when managers start talking about tracking time and accountability, team members start to complain about being micro-managed. However, with the agile process, the focus truly is on continually improving efficiency.

When you introduce the concept of time tracking to your team ensure them that you’re not doing this to nitpick to meddle with their process. Instead, you’re working to develop new ways to better use their time and improve proficiency. Additionally, another concern you might encounter is that it will take too much time to track the data which will slow them down unnecessarily.

So, when you approach time tracking with the sole purpose of improving your agile process then your team members can get behind it. And by using an easy-to-use app your team won’t feel like their process is slowed down.

By tracking the data and then analyzing it you can use this valuable information to improve your processes and workflows. Time tracking is simply a tool to improve efficiency, it isn’t meant to constrain or confine your team members.

Using it in this way, you’ll see the benefits without worrying about the negative connotations. A few other benefits of time tracking include:

  • Better productivity
  • Better time estimates for future projects
  • More accurate client billing
  • Improved workflow and processes

While agile methodology values collaboration over documentation, tracking your time can allow everyone to see where they can improve. The agile process is all about self-management and autonomous teams. By tracking their time and making improvements based on that information you can actually free up your teams more.

How the Agile Process and Time Tracking Can Improve Efficiency

As the manager, it’s your job to ensure that your team has the tools they need to complete their job to the best of their ability. But what can you do if you notice the pace lags at a certain point in each process.

This is where the data can help you empower your team and equip them with everything they need to be successful. Once you notice wherein the cycle there is a lag in productivity you can analyze the workflow and determine if there is a better process or better tools to improve their efficiency.

The iterative cycles, or sprints, in the agile framework are short chunks of time. So your team can’t afford to waste any time in each short story time frame. With this in mind, encourage your team to track their time so they can improve their efficiency.

The agile development process is a simple framework for turning your client’s vision into a quality product. However, it can be hard to ensure that your team is working at peak proficiency. To know this, you need to have the right tools and data to help you make the right decisions to further increase efficiency.

When your approach to time tracking is as a tool to help improve your processes and productivity it can be very valuable. Be sure to create a culture that supports the true agile process with the addition of time tracking so that you can ensure it’s fully adopted and valued by your team.

Time tracking in agile can help your team see where they can improve their productivity. You will be able to easily see where the backlogs are or where your teams can increase efficiency.

Marry Agile and Time Tracking for Increased Productivity Across Your Teams

With this information at hand, you can take your agile process to the next level and ensure maximum efficiency and productivity from your teams. If your team is worried about clunky and burdensome time tracking then it’s time to introduce them to an app that can change their mind about time tracking.

As the manager, you create the culture of encouraging continual improvement and ensuring that keeping track of their time isn’t meant as micro-managing. With the agile process in place, you’re sure to improve your productivity. However, by tracking the data you can further increase efficiency and identify where the backlogs are for your team.

If you’re ready to introduce a way for your team to track their time without hindering their work process, then show them actiTIME. Our app is an easy-to-use software that can quickly show you where your team can better improve their workflows and increase productivity. Start your free online trial here and start using this valuable tool to provide vital data for your agile teams.

Originally published at actitime.com

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