Time Tracking For Software Developers: The What, Why and How

Time tracking software seems like an easy way to boost your productivity. 

However, you probably know that time tracking for software developers isn’t as simple as the number of hours you work! You need time and space to troubleshoot and communicate with clients about their needs. Sometimes jobs you have done a hundred times before suddenly don’t work and you need to put more time in. 

Although it may not work for every project, tracking your software developer hours can help to set you apart on the job market by improving client relationships and increasing efficiency. 

Keep reading to find out why software developers should be time tracking (and how it benefits your profitability overall). 

Why Should Software Developers Track Their Time?

Developer time tracking comes down to two things: profit and productivity. The more work you get done (while cutting down on menial tasks), the happier your clients will be and the more clients will come to you over competition. 

Here are just a few of the benefits of time tracking (especially if you are building your own developer agency). 

Increased Development Productivity

Anybody who has worked in an office knows that simply being at your desk for 8 hours doesn’t mean you have produced 8 hours worth of work. However, time tracking is different to simply logging the number of hours- you are also tracking what tasks you are doing and for how long. This boosts productivity because you can see what parts are taking longer and which you could maybe outsource. 

Improved Relations With Management and Clients

Even though it might seem obvious that coding from scratch takes longer than researching, your clients might not know it! Time tracking keeps them fully informed and makes it easier to give them a quote in advance so that when invoice time comes around everyone is happy. If you have a manager, time tracking will also keep them informed so that they can budget future projects accurately. 

Helps Set Yourself Apart

If you successfully keep all your stakeholders happy and produce high quality work in less time, you will always stand out from your competitors. Developer time tracking is the sort of practice that you can easily add to your client experience so that you can show them quantitative evidence that you are the right person for the job. 

Ways to Track Software Developers and Testers Time

As a developer, there are different ways you can track your time to measure efficiency and productivity in your projects. Software developer hours can change from client to client, depending on what type of work you are doing for them, so it is important to have a system for keeping track of everything. 

Automatic Time Tracking for Hourly Work

Time tracking for software developers can either be done manually or automatically. Manual time tracking is useful if you are working in short bursts. In comparison, automatic time tracking keeps a more accurate record of tasks and makes invoicing easier at the end of a project. 

Automated Timesheets

Developers can spend up to 3-5% of their billable hours on timesheet related admin. You can save time (and your clients’ time) by using automated timesheets. The easiest way to do this is to use a time tracking software that allows you to create invoices based on each clients’ hourly rate and that automatically calculates the cost based on the tracked hours. 

Benefits of Using a Software to Track Time

Besides the obvious productivity benefits, developer time tracking can help you work with your team better, hit deadlines, and reduce admin time that could be spent on actual client work. Time tracking for remote workers is essential for a functioning project team!

Helps Monitor Project Profitability

Time tracking can help increase profitability, both for your current project and in future client work. By keeping tabs on how long you spend on each task, you can easily see if

  • You are staying on budget/aligned with the quote you provided
  • Certain tasks are taking longer than expected and you need to readjust your quote 
  • You need to quote higher hours for your next project and therefore give clients more accurate expectations 

Keeps Track Billable Hours & Work-in-Progress

By using automated tracking and invoicing software, you can keep clients up to date along the way with accurate data. No more adding up time manually and wasting time transferring it to invoices! It also means that you are not accidentally undercharging by using approximate times. By keeping track of billable hours, you can get paid what you are owed faster.

Connects to a Range of Software 

Using tracking software streamlines your backend processes by integrating with other apps. For example, instead of using 10 different billing services, time tracking software like MinuteDock connects with tax providers like Xero and Freshbooks directly. That way, you never have to manually add payments and expenses to your accounting software. This saves you admin time and leaves you free to do the actual work and wow your clients. 

Tracks all Development Work Automatically

Manual time tracking can be beneficial if you are working in small bursts and are good at remembering your start and finish times. However, using software that runs automatically in the background means that everything you do is tracked, not just the things you remember to track (i.e. you get paid fairly for your work). 

Creates Accurate Time Sheets for Billing

Developer time tracking is not “one size fits all”. One minute you might be testing and the next you might be researching. Due to the nature of your development work, it can be difficult to set accurate expectations for your clients in advance! That’s why using software that creates accurate time sheets is so important. It gives an overview of exactly what you are billing clients for so there is no confusion when it comes time to pay. 

Lets You Focus on Your Work

Time tracking software gives you your focus back. If you are manually tracking tasks, you have to remember to turn the tracker on and make notes of everything you are doing. With automatic software, the app simply runs in the background and allows you to keep working without interruptions. It keeps track of your billable hours so that you don’t have to! 

Simplifies Communication and Reporting

Tracking your projects gives you quantitative data to communicate with. Time tracking for teams can give an accurate overview of how you price your services, whether your manager needs to set more realistic timelines, and what budget you should recommend for similar projects. Having data like this at your fingertips makes you easier to work with (and easier to recommend to new clients!). 

Track Your Software Development Team's Hours With MinuteDock

Ready to boost your productivity and profits through the benefits of time tracking

MinuteDock is an all-in-one time tracking solution for software development teams. 

It is a smart, flexible and powerful time tracking tool to help you record what you worked on – whether you’re doing it for reporting, client billing, or payroll. Not only does it keep track of developer hours for accurate client invoices, it gives you simple, data-driven insights that help you and your team make savvy business decisions and stay on target with budgets. 

Sign up to MinuteDock for your free time tracking trial!

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