Time tracking can be useful. It helps you keep track of billable hours, gives you a detailed overview of what people are working on, and shows you which projects are falling behind schedule. But time tracking can also have unforeseen impacts on your team’s culture.

Time tracking can make your team feel like they’re being watched. The pressure to account for everything they do kills creativity and drains the fun from the work.
It can also lead an individual to question their abilities.

“Am I a bad programmer because Brian can build this feature in two hours when it took me five?”

The pace at which work is produced doesn’t represent the quality of the work. I’d rather have a great piece of work that took five hours, than an okay piece that took two. (Sorry Brian)

By far the most destructive thing about time tracking is that it shifts the focus away from the work itself. Valuing the amount of hours someone logs above the quality of their work is insane. Billable hours don’t mean a thing if they were spent producing shoddy work.

So think twice before you start tracking time. It might not give you the results you were hoping for.

Matt West