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Why every developer should use a time tracking tool

Tope Longe
© Shutterstock / Cienpies Design

While some argue that software development isn’t the kind of work that benefits from time tracking, others swear by it, saying it is an invaluable tool for increasing productivity and ROI. Here are a few reasons why you should get on the time-tracking bandwagon today.

Whether you’re an in-house developer or a freelancer, there’s no resource at your disposal that is greater than time. However, there is a lot of controversy among developers as touching whether or not time-tracking tools can aid their productivity work. While some argue that software development isn’t the kind of work that benefits from time tracking, others swear by it, saying it is an invaluable tool for increasing productivity and ROI.

But here’s the solemn truth – time tracking can help everyone… including developers. As more and more development jobs are focusing on contract and freelance developers – who typically charge per hour – time-tracking is becoming increasingly important. Here are a few reasons why you should get on the time-tracking bandwagon today.

It’s so easy

In the past, time-tracking used to be a long and dreary process, especially in large organizations. Fast-forward a few years and the story is far from the same. Today, there are myriads of time tracking tools that can help individual developers, as well as large software companies, keep track of how their time is being spent.

The best part is that many of these tools are very affordable and some even come with free trials that allow you to test-run the tool before making a purchase decision. And upon installation and entry of some basic data, everything else is pretty much automated, which means you can focus on working, while the tool keeps track of where and how you spend your time.

It boosts productivity

Believe it or not, time-tracking can actually make you more productive as a developer. This is because time-tracking makes you more time-conscious, which, in turn, helps to shut out distractions and focus on productive work.

Furthermore, when you assess your daily/weekly time-tracking report, you may suddenly realize that you’ve been spending a huge chunk of time on minor tasks that don’t add much to your wallet or the progress of the existing project. This insight allows you to re-organize your daily work schedule to focus on the really important stuff. The result, of course, is increased daily productivity, which ultimately translates into a smiling bank account.

It helps you deal with managers and clients

Managers and clients can be sometimes pushy – expecting you to magically deliver in 3 days what typically could take a whole week. In such a situation, using a time-tracking tool might just be a lifesaver. Although, time-frame estimations aren’t always accurate when it comes to coding tasks, using the time-tracking report generated on similar past projects can help you negotiate a reasonable deadline with your manager or client for a new project.

Furthermore, time-tracking tools also send periodical reports – including screenshots – about the on-going project to the relevant client or manager. This improves accountability and convinces the manager or client that you’re actually doing the job for which you’re getting paid. And this is a win-win for everyone.

It helps you focus on projects that are worth your time

All projects aren’t born the same. And as a freelance developer – or development agency – the difference between financial buoyancy and bankruptcy might just lie in the kind of projects you take on.

Taking on a project simply because it is “doable” isn’t enough a justification to invest your time and effort into it. The savvy approach is to take on projects that will give you the highest compensation for your time. And how do you identify such projects? Simple… by using time-tracking tools to correlate the financial reward of a potential project, with how much time it took to execute similar past projects.

It can land you more clients

You need clients to stay in business! And if you’re still pretty new in the game and don’t have decades of experience to leverage on, the competition can be quite stiff. But by using time-tracking tools, you can set yourself apart and move ahead of the competition.

Think about it… if you have two developers with similar credentials bidding on your project but one of them promises to accurately track and report the status of the project as it moves along, while the other simply promises to deliver, which one would you rather go for? So, in addition to a solid portfolio, if you can prove that you’ve used quantitative means to track and boost your productivity and efficiency, you might just find clients queuing to hire you.

Author

Tope Longe

Tope Longe a Content Marketing Specialist at Time Doctor – a time tracking and productivity tool for tracking the productivity of remote teams. He’s a visual content junkie and lover of marketing automation technologies. Follow him on Twitter: @TemitopeLonge