Benefits of time tracking in a teal organization. A self-case study

Since one of the principal characteristics of turquoise organizations is self-management, it might seem to many that our actions involve a great deal of chaos in all areas. Yet in fact, it is quite the opposite!

One of our primary daily activities is tracking the time we spend on work-related activities. We do this by using time tracking software. Without this seemingly simple, uncomplicated activity, our organization would literally stop working!

Why is time tracking so important to our organization? And why does it help us so much in organizing the workflow of all team members? Let’s take a look at this issue!

Projects and Roles in a Holacracy constitution

MTA as an organization operates on the basis of a modified Holacracy methodology. Within it, all activities performed by members of the organization are divided into Roles and Projects.

What are Projects?

In short, these are all the activities performed for the client. They include performing specific “technical” tasks by a specialist, as well as project management, settling budgets and issuing invoices to clients, etc. Activities on Projects can be compared to the private sector in a country – they are the ones that generate revenue.

What are Roles?

Roles are internal activities performed for the sake of the organization’s development.

For example, one of the Roles existing in MTA is a Clockify supervisor. This is a person responsible for ensuring that all people in the organization are tracking time correctly, all new projects are added, or any potential inconsistencies are clarified.

Other examples of Roles performed at MTA:

  • Security supervisor – a person (or people, as roles are not limited to one person only) responsible for managing and maintaining the security of our organization’s Internet network, computers, and data. 
  • Levels supervisor – this Role is designed to develop and facilitate our internal program of broadening skills and knowledge in all areas of digital marketing.

Roles can be compared to a public sector in a country – they are supposed to build an infrastructure (organization), which facilitates and improves the execution of Projects. A person executing a given Role is obliged to care about its development and efficiency of tasks performed within it.

Benefits of Clockify as our time tracking software

A Clockify report on the time spent on a Project and a Role throughout one month.
Using Clockify, we generate reports on the time spent on Projects and Roles within the organization.

Clockify is a time tracker that allows us to accurately analyze the amount of time we spend on individual tasks, project stages – and finally – the project as a whole. We use this tool to measure both the time spent on activities within the organization – Roles and on cooperation with clients – Projects. 

Clockify is therefore a fundamental tool for us to create and maintain analytics of all activities as an organization. This way we’re constantly in control of budget flows – we know which projects and at what point proved to be the most and least profitable, which were or are the most time-consuming, etc.

Workflow and basics of Clockify

Tracking tasks in Clockify is accomplished using a simple start-stop system.

A gif is showing how to start time tracking in Clockify.
Task tracking is performed using the start-stop button.

Whenever we start a task, three steps are performed in Clockify:

  • we click “start”, 
  • we add a description of the task,
  • we choose the project, for which we want to track this particular task. 

When the task is finished, we click “stop”.

No project

If an activity is not assigned to a specific Project or Role, it is marked as “no project”. This means that the tracked time cannot be linked to a project during the monthly billing. That is, in practice – it will not be possible to pay the appropriate amount of money for it, and it will not be taken into account in the efficiency and profitability analysis.

Pro-Tip

It is worth establishing that the Clockify role maintainer sends messages at least once a week reminding members of the organization to correctly assign no-project time.

Getting started with a new project time tracking

One of the most important parts of getting started with a new client is having their project added to Clockify the right way. In MTA, we do this by completing a Google Form. 

The Form is used to add projects easily and contains elements that are absolutely necessary for Clockify to work properly.

Questions in the Form that are then used to create a new project in Clockify are:

  • In what team will the project be billed? 
  • What service is the project for?
  • The domain for which we create the project
  • Customer/partner name, to whom we will issue invoices
  • Who should be added to the project in Clockify? 

All the data collected from the Form then goes into Google Spreadsheet, from where it is manually entered into the tool by the Clockify Role supervisor.

Why is it important?

Without adding a project to Clockify via the form, we wouldn’t be able to track the time our specialists spend on it, and therefore we wouldn’t be able to track or analyze its profitability.

Task labeling

In order to track and analyze project profitability with Clockify, consistent labeling needs to be adopted. In MTA, it is assigned automatically based on Form data and goes as follows:

Team name_Service field name – Client domain

E.g. ANC_SEO – clientdomain.com

MTA_PPC – clientdomain.com

An example of correctly pinned tasks in the MTA_PPC project.
An example of correctly pinned tasks in the MTA_PPC project.

Roles, on the other hand, are labeled according to the scheme:

[Team name] [Role name] – Team domain

E.g. [ANC] [CONTENT] – anchor.team or [MTA] [SALES] – mta.digital

An example of correctly pinned tasks in the Content and Daily roles.
An example of correctly pinned tasks in the Content and Daily roles.

Task description

The description of each task should be added in such a way that the client, Project Manager, or Team Leader knows exactly what was performed on the project.

Example:

An example of well-crafted task descriptions.
An example of well-crafted task descriptions.

Methodology of working with external projects

Project effectiveness measurement

In order to unlock the full potential of the Clockify data that can be used while measuring project effectiveness, we created a tool that calculates the percentage of each specialist’s contribution to projects as well as teams. 

A fragment of the personal dashboard with a summary of contributions to particular Roles and Projects.
A fragment of the personal dashboard with a summary of contributions to particular Roles and Projects.

How does it work?

  • A specialist traces a task in a project in Clockify.
  • Assuming that all specialists track 100% of the time spent on tasks in this project, at the end of the month we extract information from Clockify on:
    • how many people worked on it,
    • how many hours they spent on it collectively.
  • Using the above-mentioned data, the tool compares each person with the team as a whole and calculates how much of the total tracked time was that of a particular person.

Why is it important?

Thanks to this solution we have significantly reduced the time spent on calculating Performance bonuses for our basic salaries.

Analytics of project profitability 

Another extremely important opportunity that Clockify gives us is the calculation of the business profitability of projects. All we need is to compare the number of hours that specialists spent on a given project with the amount we invoice the client for. 

This allows us to constantly monitor the profitability of projects, and we don’t “lose” moments, which are perfect for identifying solutions to increase profitability. By keeping our finger on the pulse, we can deliver more efficient and more accurate pricing estimates to our clients.

Project reporting with Clockify

What’s more, capturing data from Clockify not only benefits us as an organization in strictly business terms, but also translates into improved results for our clients as well as our relationships with them.

An image shows a detailed activity report with data extracted from Clockify.
An example of a detailed activity report we can send to a client.

It allows us to:

  • Provide the client with detailed reports of our project activities in real-time. Transparency of actions is one of our core values, and reporting with Clockify perfectly meets this goal.
  • Analyze in real-time the effects of changes brought by new technological solutions aimed at optimizing and speeding up the project process while maintaining good profitability.

Role management methodology

Additionally, Clockify enables us to determine how much time a given Role takes up in our organization. As each Role has a stake assigned to it, the Clockify data is a basis for calculating revenue for the person responsible for the Role. In addition, it supports analytics – monitoring actions taken within specific Roles and their overall impact on the organization.

The bottom line

Clockify is a tool that fits perfectly into the workflow of MTA as a turquoise organization. What’s more, it’s one of the core tools that the MTA relies on, in terms of:

  • monitoring and analyzing the time that individual specialists and entire teams spend on Projects and Roles,
  • calculating, monitoring, and analyzing project profitability, 
  • ensuring transparency of activities in Projects through real-time reporting.

Do you already use time tracking software? Or perhaps you see room for introducing it into your organization? Let us know!

Also, check out how our teal organization performs on digital marketing projects for international clients!

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