Through evolution, we have learned many things, like how to build tools or how to farm and produce our own food. But the more skills we learned, the more things we added to our daily “agenda”. As a result, the faster we developed, the more dependent we became on time management. As we learned how to grow crops and domesticate animals, we started following time frames. This, in turn, created for the first time the need for a time tracker in our daily lives.
Every chore needed to be planned in advance. Crops need to be planted and harvested during specific intervals. Animals need to be fed and tended to at specific hours, and so on. As a result, for thousands of years, humans have found ways to manage their time more wisely.
Tracking Working Hours
It’s clear to see that time management technologies evolved over many years. However, it was only when the industrial revolution started that humanity really felt the need for clocks. Before the industrial revolution, people didn’t really use timetables. As electricity was not as common, and work was done mostly outside, the working day started at dusk and ended at dawn. Also, most jobs were carried out during the warm seasons. Winter in general meant animal care and small-scale production, such as knitting and sewing.
When the industrial revolution began, work moved into factories. Workers now had fixed schedules and daily working hours they needed to respect. Thus, clocks suddenly became a necessity. Along with that, the first employee time clocks were introduced for workers. These clocks were called punch clocks as before their shift started, workers would align and punch in. At the end of their shift, they would punch out.
In places like factories and production shops, workers would be placed at an assembly line or construction sites. In such workspaces employees would have one task, such as assembling specific parts of a product, packaging or quality check.
This meant that the punch clock served two purposes, registering an employee’s attendance, and evaluating their efficiency. In other words, employees needed to finish a specific volume of work within their shift. If not, they were inefficient and therefore had to improve or be replaced.
Time Management Today
Today we work quite differently, and as our work requirements changed, so did the punch clocks. Some companies still use the same principle, only more modern and digital versions. However, today, most of us now work with projects; in Gantt charts and not just tasks. This means that not only we need to track our daily hours, but we also need to track our individual tasks.
At the same time, it also means that we need more than just a punch-in/punch-out solution, we also need a project management solution. In this sense, many companies opt for several online solutions. There are many tools out there designed so big and small businesses manage their projects and their teams. Each and every one of them is unique in their own way and each is created for a specific purpose. Some focus on freelancers, some on corporations. Some help only with time management, while others focus only on project management. The question is, how to choose the right one?
Introducing Timer, Wiredelta®’s Own Time Tracker
That is a question we asked ourselves, and one you should ask too, especially if you are a startup. Just like many other startups, we needed to invest time and money into finding the right tool. But after wasting many resources, we realized there simply wasn’t a “one size fits all”, at least not for our needs.
Luckily for us, when you are a web and mobile development company, things are a bit different. We have the knowledge and skills to develop the most efficient, economic and scalable solution for Wiredelta. So, why not build our own?
“Because we can” is not the reason we created Timer, though. We created this wonderful tool because we wanted to improve our transparency and automate our processes. But more importantly, we wanted a tool that works for us and our clients.
“We built Timer to create transparency within the company and towards our clients. Existing tools simply did not have all we wanted.”
Long story short, 4 years and many improvements later, we are happy to introduce Timer, Wiredelta’s own time tracker. But Timer is not just a punch clock. It is so much more!
Under the hood
Information such as user, client and project details are added in the PostgreSQL database because it is meant for organized data. Task information is more “custom” so, naturally, we store it in the MongoDB.
Timer in HR and Finance
“Timer provides unique insights in several important ways. We can now track a quite accurate profitability of our projects. We can measure the accuracy of our estimations and improve our already small margin of error. And it allows for a better utilization of resources on projects increasing transparency for both us and the client”
The first purpose of Timer is, of course, to act as a time tracker. This means that every day, like in the good old days, the amazing Wiredelta team punches in and out for work. We call it “check in”, but we all know it’s the same thing.
Joking aside, data collected using Timer helps us in every single department. Starting with HR, Timer shows who has logged in for work, who is on a break, and so on. As the HR department is the one taking care of our wellbeing, it is very important for them to know that we respect our free time and not exhaust ourselves. With Timer, it’s much easier for them to notice when an employee or intern tends to overwork, so they can take action.
Time management solutions
Timer plays a very important role in finance and analytics as well. Our finance department exports information from Timer into dashboards and then share that with the client e.g. when sending invoices. Further, analytics uses it to analyze the resource utilization and allocation.
Internally, the same project information pulled from Timer also helps us adjust our price strategy and cost structure by comparing the estimated costs of a project with the actual ones. In the end, it helps us assess the overall profitability of the company.
Timer in project management
“It is easy to read, one stop to see what projects are in the works and keep track of deadlines.
Also very useful for optimizing estimations and spotting problematic teams, projects or tasks”
The second and probably most important purpose of our time tracker, is project management. Ever since we built the first version of Timer, 4 years ago, we had transparency on our minds. The tool helps us build trust with our clients, as every time tracker app should. But before we can do that, we needed to have transparency and trust among our own team.
Communication is the key
Wiredelta currently has three offices, one in Copenhagen, Denmark and two in the Indian cities of Coimbatore and Mysore.
All three offices are quite the distance away from each other, and that often creates several communication issues.
First of all, when people work remotely from one another, they usually tend to isolate themselves. They forget they are actually a team and end up creating silos. In a perfect world, project managers are always in touch with the rest of the team. But because of geographical and cultural differences, that is not always the case.
Secondly, Denmark and India are in different time zones. More precisely, there is a 3.5h difference between the Copenhagen office and either of the offices in India. As a result, there is a limited interval during the day when we can get hold of each other.
In a significant proportion, Timer solves this issue as project managers always have an overview of the what the rest of the team is doing. They know exactly who is working on which project and which task. Therefore, they see how much time a team member spends on a task and take action when needed. At the same time, they can allocate more resources for certain projects or pull them away from where they are not needed. Managing resources in real time improves the company’s efficiency considerably, translating in better results.
Project management tools
In the beginning of every project, we create something we call an SoW (Statement of Work). The SoW explains in details the resources needed for completing a project. Just like with our price strategy, we can analyze the time spent on certain tasks and estimate how long it will take us to complete similar tasks in the future. By comparing the estimations with the actual data, we can improve our accuracy with every new project.
Data is not the only factor to consider here, though. Project managers also evaluate the team’s collaboration level. As we always know who is working on a specific project we see when there is a conflict. Not only that we can intervene and mediate the situation, we can predict and avoid conflicts in the future.
Having the right time tracker can help avoid many risks and improve many aspects of our daily work. But timer is not just a time tracker. Timer connects us in every way, from finance and HR to project management and development. It helps us have a better grasp of the company’s resources and better manage our tasks. As a result, we are a better team and we are able to present our clients better solutions, more accurate estimations and high level of transparency.
Are you looking for the glue your company needs? Do you want a time tracker or project management solution tailored especially for your business? We can help you connect your team for better results every time. Check out our packages and find the one that suits you, or just write to us and start the conversation. Let’s change the world together!
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