When was the last time you witnessed a project you ran go smoothly? If the answer is anything other than ‘never’, either you were lucky beyond belief or we sincerely salute you.
It’s a fact of life that any project that lasts a while and includes multiple tasks and several employees that need to be coordinated is almost bound to run into a glitch somewhere down the line. No matter how hard you try. No matter how well you plan.
But you don’t come out victorious by relying on being lucky enough not to run into problems, you do it by learning to face them, re-strategize and overcome any obstacle that comes up. In order to be able to do this, you need strategic mind, problem-solving skills and cool head, but there’s this tiny external help that you can use too - project time tracking software.
All you should know about employee time tracker software for now is that it works by tracking computer activities on each employee’s machine, including which task they’re on and what apps they’re using, and collects data on how much time is needed for each activity. Pretty handy, huh?
Now, what does this have to do with project management and which potential problems can employee time tracker help your team with?
New Urgent Tasks
No matter how well you prepare or how successful you are at managing projects effectively, you just can’t predict everything. One of the issues you can run into is your client adding new tasks to the existing project. They’re usually ‘quick fixes’ and ‘just a small additional feature’ but the fact remains that they are extra, meaning you didn’t plan to fit them into your schedule.
And if, on top of this, the new task is urgent, you’ve really got a problem and you need to figure out how to deal with it without harming the entire project flow.
This is where project time tracking software steps in to save the day.
Employee time management system has all the data on who uses which platforms to perform specific tasks, remember? Well, this gives you insights into who’s good at what and who the best person to perform the extra task is likely to be.
A time keeper app, as its name suggests, also gives you comprehensive employee time record where you can see how long each employee spends on tasks similar to the one you’ve just gotten. That way, you know who the fastest candidate is, so that you can finish the ‘side quest’ quickly and get back to the main workflow.
Struggling with Deadlines
Hopefully, if you know how to use project time tracking software to accurately estimate project length and set appropriate deadlines, you won’t ever be faced with this problem. But even if you do this perfectly, some things are just out of your control - the extra side tasks we talked about earlier pile up, your client wants to add this and change that, an expert employee is out sick for a week and, all of a sudden, you find yourself struggling to fit the workload into the timeline you’ve initially agreed on.
Before you start negotiating deadline extension, try to wiggle your way out of the problem first. There are two things you could try and employee time clock app can help you with one of them.
The first thing to do is prioritize. Have your final goal in mind. Which steps and tasks are absolutely necessary to achieve it? Do those first and then worry about the little things later if still necessary.
Another thing you should do is look at project time tracking software data and analyze it carefully. Is there any aspect of your team’s performance you could improve? Maybe cut down on distractions for a while. Or you discover that one software is better for a certain task than another and decide to switch. Are there any holes in your schedule that you could fill with project work (unnecessary meetings are the usual suspect)?
Use team time tracking to the best of its abilities and optimize your performance to fit the timeline. But also - know when to give up and ask for that extension.
Getting Side-Tracked by Problems
Problems happen. Sometimes it’s a technical issue, sometimes something doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, sometimes the client just doesn’t like how you did a certain part of the project and you have to redo it. The important thing is to learn how to adapt to this change of pace and regain the momentum.
One way to deal with getting side-tracked by problems consists of three steps. First, decide who’s competent enough to solve the problem (you should know this anyway, but you can consult your task manager with time tracking for additional details like who’s most proficient in that particular platform).
Secondly, check your time tracking report to see who’s got time to deal with it. If the employee you wanted to put on this task is already busy working on something else critical to the project, maybe think about assigning the problem solving to the next best candidate.
Once you got at least one employee on the task, reorganize the team to fill in any holes left so that the project can continue to run despite the problem.
Nobody ever said that running a project is a piece of cake. You plan everything perfectly but then a glitch comes along or another client request and you have to change your plan. This isn’t a bad thing and it’s certainly not necessarily your fault. Adapting to every change and reorganizing to accommodate solving problems along the way is what really counts towards success.