It had been two years since Cella's first-ever survey on time tracking practices. Therefore we reached out to our network to refresh our data with a 15-question survey that addressed who (if anyone) on their teams was tracking time, their "billable" goals (percentage of time against projects), specificity of time tracking practices, and other related topics.

To present the results in the most meaningful way, we filtered the survey results from more than 160 unique participants into two groups: the first group being "Best-in-Class and Good Tracking Teams" (N=56) and the other "All Time Tracking Teams" (N=104; which is inclusive of the first group).

Specific results of the survey were shared with the survey participants. Below are the Survey key takeaways:

  • Teams that label their time tracking practices as "best in class" or "very good" are more likely to be chargeback department.
  • While time tracking consistency and accuracy may vary, utilization goals across all time tracking teams have similar trends.
  • Traditional Creative Services individual contributor roles (designer, writer, editor) continue to be most often goaled at 80%, plus or minus 5%.
  • Higher achieving time tracking teams are more likely to require that all team members track their time.
  • If any roles are exempt from time tracking within a department, most often those are senior management roles.
  • Higher achieving time tracking teams more often expect their teams to enter their time daily--though not by as large a margin as one might expect: 61% vs 55%.
  • The vast majority of teams are tracking time at the job level, and more than 50% of teams track time at a granular task level.
  • The tool the team is using for time tracking doesn't impact the quality of their time tracking; there is not one dominant off-the-shelf tool that is being used.

While time tracking trends did not correlate to team size, the survey participants' creative team sizes did tend to be slightly larger than the general population:

  • Small-Size Teams: <=10 (40%)
  • Mid-Size Teams: 11- 30 (34%)
  • Large Teams: 31 - 50 (8%)
  • Mega Teams: 50+ (18%)

It goes without saying that tracking time is an industry best practice--though of course we've said this many times on our blog. If you're not tracking time, you're unable to provide quantitative data that will lead to creation of best-in-class KPIs, which are instrumental in informing business decisions, amongst other things. In our constantly evolving environments it is critical to demonstrate operational effectiveness and have data that can support leaders like yourselves to drive business decisions.

There are several blogs on our site related to time tracking, for more information on this, please read:

Implementing time tracking is only step one; a complementary metrics strategy will allow you to fully realize the benefits of time tracking. Both time tracking and metrics reporting are made easier through the implementation of an appropriate tool. Cella can provide varying levels support in evaluating, selecting and implementing the right tool for your organization.