Communication, data storage, text processing, social media and global networks, document transfer, and so on and so forth - the extent of technology in our workplace is pretty much limitless these days. It seems as though there’s an app for everything, from contacting a person halfway across the globe to adding a meeting reminder to a calendar. The variety is so big that it doesn’t really come as a surprise that there are some software solutions that are easily confused, especially among the employees, who are buried in so many different systems that they need to use on a daily basis anyway.
This is often the case with project management tools and a time clock app to track employee performance. Even though they’re completely different solutions, many employers and employees alike don’t quite know what that difference is and whether they should be using one or the other. Whether it’s because they’re often used in combination or because they both have to do with tasks and projects, this confusion is best addressed early for two reasons - first, because it’ll help you choose the right software for your needs; and secondly, because it’ll make it easier to onboard your employees on what they should be using and how.
So, in this article, we’ll try to explain what project management tool is, how it’s different from an app to track employee performance by measuring time, as well as which situations call for each solution.
Project Management App
First up, let’s see what project management software is and what it’s used for. Basically, this is an app that lets you create projects and tasks within them, which you can then follow until completed. You can also assign those tasks to different employees, set deadlines, create checklists for each item, and do lots of other similar things that can make an organization of a project on a team basis much easier. Of course, the particular features that your project management tool will have depend on which one you end up choosing, but they all share the common general purpose.
As you might infer based on the capabilities of this type of software that we’ve just briefly mentioned, the main broad use case for it is easier organization and management of different projects and tasks. This solution will make the overview of projects much more clear. Work delegation is also made easier because you know how much each employee has on their plate at any given time. Project management software is also great if you want to have an insight into which tasks are completed and which ones are ongoing or in the pipeline. In addition, this app is usually very easily adapted to different project management methods that your team works by - Kanban, Agile, Scrum, etc.
It’s also useful for employees, who have a clear do-to list of their tasks, along with a time frame for each, which make it easier to keep track of what they need to do and when. Once they complete a task, instead of letting their superior know about it, they can simply mark it as done within the app.
Trello, Asana, Basecamp and monday are some of the most well-known project management tools on the market.
Time Tracking Software
On the other hand, we have time tracking software. You can use this type of app to track employee performance on tasks and projects. Similarly to project management apps, you can create project structure and assign tasks to employees, which they can then check off when completed. But unlike project management tools, an app to track employee performance can help you see these tasks through, including how long employees spend on each task, when they start working and when they make a break, which tools they use to do their assignments, and so on.
Time tracking apps are primarily useful for managers who want to estimate the efficiency of their teams so that they could better organize their workflow, and consequently increase their productivity. It’s also a great tool if you want to ensure proof of work for all your employees, which is the first step towards better regulated payroll. However, apart from using this app to track employee performance, you can also use it to get an overview of project progress in terms of time and budget, which will improve your project estimates and client management.
Time tracking solutions can also benefit employees themselves by giving them performance insights that could be useful for efficiency improvements, by easily calculating billable hours and attendance so that they’re paid accurately, and so on.
Some of the best and most popular time trackers are our very own Workpuls, Hubstaff, Toggl, etc. If you want a more comprehensive list so that you can choose the one that’s best for you, we encourage you to explore this article.
Which One to Choose?
As a manager or business owner, you might have been wondering which tool is right for your needs. And by now, these doubts should be largely gone. But let’s recap one more time.
If you just want an overview of tasks and projects, as well as to delegate work and set deadlines for specific tasks so that every employee can see what they need to do, but also what everyone else is working on, then project management software is the tool you should go with. Now, you just need to figure out whether you'll use a scrum software, or a tool which works based on another project management method.
On the other hand, if you want an app to track employee performance in depth, including productivity and time management, as well as a tool that will help you make better project estimates and analyze what went wrong when deadlines weren’t met, then you need time tracking software.
One more note, though - there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t use both solutions at the same time. And in fact, this is what happens in many companies. These tools serve two different functions, but they’re also complementary. You can use a project management app to organize and assign the tasks, and then time tracking software to see those tasks through. When you think about it, it’s actually a perfect combination.
Project management software and time tracker apps are some of the most useful and most commonly used business optimization tools today. Having this in mind, it’s important to know what each of them is, how it works and what it does. With this knowledge, you can choose the right one for your business and make your processes much more efficient and your employees much more productive.