Back in November, we had the idea to collectively start tracking our time.
The timing felt right to do so as our Lanzarote retreat was right around the corner, which would give us a whole month to conduct this team experiment. So we did!
First, we elected to setup a company account with Harvest, a time-tracking software. We then created a per-user account and asked all team members to track their time and categorize it for 1 month.
It's important to note that the goal has never been to go full-on Orwellian or to ensure everyone is cranking hours like Harvey Specter.
Quite the opposite, we saw it as a way to identify potential optimizations in our workflow, and to identify behaviors in how we use our time (for better or worse) that we may not have been aware of.
The goal of tracking our time was (and still is) to improve ourselves and how we work together as a team.
We elected to follow a strict process around time-tracking:
It turns out, one of the hardest part of this experiment wasn't to pick up the habit to track time but rather to define everything we track and put it in the right buckets.
We initially defined the permanent projects:
Other projects exist only while they are being worked on. For example, the API v2 project existed until it was launched in December.
After a few back and forths, we broke down everything by project, then by tasks. We chose to follow the same structure as our Github repositories with a couple additional items.
Tasks were a bit trickier to define but we settled for:
From there, most of us used the Github integration to track the specifics of a tasks.
By having the whole team tracking their every move we quickly saw the outliers—projects that either got a lot of "attention" or others that seemed left without being touched.
For example, we realized that not much love (and time) was given to "fix broken windows" (ie.: fix bugs, improve documentation, etc) and as a result we decided to bring back WTF day.
On the other hand, by seeing how much time we were spending on specific projects, it became possible to put a "time-cost" on some of them. For example, it became possible to get the average cost of writing, publishing, and promoting a blog post. Incidentally, it allowed us to put a number on what the ROI should be for it.
One month passed… As agreed, one month later, we parted ways with our Orwellian fantasy and without any surprises, most of the team stopped tracking their every move as soon as we ended the experiment.
Except for Amelia, Simone, and myself. In a future post I'll share what we each got out of it. Stay tuned!
cruising through #vanlife in a '72 VW bus.
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