Time Tracking - Part 3

Here's another blog about time tracking. One beef I have with most time tracking systems is that it confuses tracking status of tasks with tracking time. Here's the classic scenario:

  • You use MS Project to schedule a feature. Typically this means you have a summary task called "Feature" and several sub-tasks.
  • You estimate at all the sub-task levels, which rolls up to be the total estimate for "Feature"
  • Now you tell everyone to track time against the assigned tasks, by updating the Remaining and Completed work fields.

Here's the problem:

  • Not all time spent on "Feature" is tracked as Tasks. New stuff comes up all the time, and people don't (and shouldn't) update the schedule to reflect every new thing they discovered they had to do. 
  • Most of the time, you really only need to track time against the Feature to get all the value out of time tracking. The extra granularity is rarely used and isn't really that valueable.

I believe an ideal system would:

  • Allow you to update Remaining work at the task level, so you can still track estimates/status per task
  • Allow you to update Completed work at the Feature level, and would be used to track ALL time spent on the feature, not just time associated with tasks.

If I had my way, I would get rid of "Completed Work" from the task field, and have a way to track time at a much high granularity.

Those are my thoughts. What do you think?