[callout class="tip"]“Every line is the perfect length if you don’t measure it.”
— Marty Rubin, Author of Boiled Frog Syndrome[/callout]
In a previous post, we talked about how time tracking and invoicing data go hand-in-hand. We’ve established an equation that looks like that:
[tweetme]Time tracking = Accurate invoicing data = Happy customers[/tweetme]
Indeed, time tracking is useful in helping you plan your hours and days. We’ve seen the way software development teams are using the data from time tracking to ensure transparency in generating invoices. But did you know that your data is also an indication of the areas of improvements?
Believe it or not, your project managers hold the key to this knowledge.
Wait, but why?
Like any other team, the main reason to track time is to understand how much work is put into a certain project.
We’ve iterated in our previous post that behind every invoice is an extensive amount of data that leads to the sum stated on the invoice. When it comes to managing projects, no matter which team, this data will help you effectively keep your projects in check.
Here’s an example:
Time tracking data is vital when it comes to charging your customers for the amount of support provided such as helping users get up to speed with a solution or service to resolve technical issues with SAAS solutions as well as IT support and so on.
[callout class="user"]Support is typically charged in two ways — pay as you go (PAYG) or on a monthly basis.
- Pay-as-you-go support charges customers every time they request support and is generally charged by the hour. Metaphorically speaking, it is like going grocery shopping for a very specific dish.
- A monthly contract, on the other hand, charges a fixed amount to cover the customer’s support needs which may include a service level agreement. That would be your monthly shopping to cover your basic needs.
- Then, there is also the mix-and-match of charging for support using both PAYG and a monthly contract.[/callout]
Let’s assume you are operating a SAAS solution and part of the package includes offering your customer 300 hours/month of support free of charge which are covered by the contract. It usually also states the type and cost of services that are included. Anything else in addition will be charged additionally.
This kind of setup means that you need to keep track of how many hours have been spent and update your customer accordingly, especially if it is exceeding the agreed amount of hours, using a comprehensive data. This is to ensure they get a clear overview and understanding of time is spent.
As before, you can use the data to gain a more accurate idea of how much support is needed. This includes estimating the amount of hours of support that is provided to your customer during the negotiation.
What could go wrong?
Having accurate data is equivalent to having accurate facts to back an argument. It is better to have an abundance than to not have enough supporting information.