Time Tracking Made Meaningful!

The world loves data! New devices come out on a daily basis that collects more data on ourselves (see the new Apple Watch version 2 leaked below). The only problem is, most of these entries are not used for anything else but simple tracking, displaying information in boring graphs.

In the last blog post, we briefly introduced the Estimator, a key tool for entrepreneurs, freelancers and agencies to be able to obtain an upfront estimate on how much time and cost it takes to build an application. Wiredelta does this to break a non-transparent tech industry, where quotations are both random and cumbersome to achieve. In order to build the Estimator, two key tools make up the foundation of ever improving estimates:

  • Time tracking: Getting correct time entries on what features are worked on
  • Scores: People are different, and hours worked creates different output depending on who works on what

 

Time Tracking: Our new Timer is the cornerstone of good estimations. There are plenty of time tracking tools out there, but none offer the possibility to log individual task IDs. In our case we use Asana URLs for the task IDs, but this could easily be extended to Podio, Trello, Jira and so on. The Timer also allows to pin task IDs that are recurring, so developers can easily log and switch between tasks.

With the Timer entries attached unique task IDs, the next blog post will talk about how we crunch this data to get an overview of features worked on. This is summarised in Project Dashboards built for internal and external purposes, and the outcome is a full list of features which can then be analysed. “Only” question remaining in order to generate accurate estimates is to scale the time entries according to productivity levels. What the heck does that mean? Basically a team of senior-level developers will probably complete features faster than new recruits. With different productivity levels, pure time entries are not nearly enough, which is why we have built an extensive scoring system to support the Timer.

 

Scores: People are different and the time spent on each task will generate different outcomes, but how do we match time entries to developers’ productivity levels?

What we did was building our so called Employee Dashboards that aims at assessing each developer’s level of efficiency, quality, autonomy, productivity and commitment. The scoring system takes a 360-degree approach with employees and managers scoring each other based on metrics from projects. Say there is a feature that comes up again and again on many projects, an example could be Facebook Login. With different teams having different scores working on the same type of feature, a team with a low average score will most likely take longer to finish this feature than a team with a high average score. Having an accurate scoring system, Wiredelta is able to scale the number of days it takes to build a feature up and down easily, which allows us to go from pure time entries to adjusted time entries on every single feature completed.

 

Estimation: Accurate estimates is a fundamental activity of every project, as it allows managers to make informed decisions. With the setup Wiredelta has and more projects being completed on a daily basis, we are building up a data driven estimation tool that allows teams of every size, skill-level and technology to generate meaningful time entries that can be used to estimate future projects. The foundation has been laid, and we will soon invite the world to use our Estimator after beta testing internally since early 2015.

 

And now to the brand new Apple Watch:

apple_watch

 

Wiredelta is a web development agency located in Paris, Copenhagen, Mysore and Coimbatore and building web and mobile applications for high-growth companies. Feel free to reach out to us on contact@wiredelta.com

Time Tracking Made Meaningful!
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