One of the recurring themes of our interactions with new users is what makes Tick different? A more direct way of asking some of the same questions is: Why does Tick matter? Let’s be honest, there are a lot of time tracking applications out there. Some do a lot, others do a little. Some do it well, and some…..not so well. So why does Tick matter?
When we first decided to create tick, it had much less to do with time tracking than it did with hitting budgets. If we’re honest, tracking your time is simple. You can do it in your head, on a legal pad, in Excel or in some other homegrown application that you decided to build to make your life easier. And if we’re REALLY honest, tracking time is a waste of time….if it’s being tracked simply for the sake of tracking it. But budgets (time budgets) are rarely simple, and not always easy to track or hit.
When we were doing custom web work we were forced to learn a painful lesson. Time is a perishable commodity. Every hour of the work day was inventory that we couldn’t get back once it passed. And our budgets were contingent upon us not wasting inventory. That’s the service industry in a nutshell with all its joys and pains. In order to be successful (or simply keep the lights on) we had to hit our budgets. Sure, we could pull all-nighters and get the job done by its deadline, but if we ended up over the amount of time we allotted to the project, we were robbing time from our team. From their hobbies, families or their preferred minimum hours of sleep.
After some soul searching, we figured out our problem wasn’t so much on the side of our estimation efforts, and it wasn’t so much that we weren’t tracking our hours well. It boiled down to communication; our teams not knowing how many hours they had left on the project.
So why does Tick matter? It isn’t so much that Tick tracks your time (though it does), and it isn’t that Tick can help you create better estimates (though it will do that too). It’s simply that Tick allows everyone to know how much inventory is left on the shelves. If it’s getting thin, everyone knows it. If there’s extra, they know that too. Tick encourages and empowers team members by disseminating the critical information to the entire team. It’s not tracking time simply for the sake of tracking it. It’s tracking time with the end goal of nailing your budget. It allows people to know exactly where they stand, where they can lend a hand or when they need to work faster. When you’re willing to view hours as inventory, and everyone has a key to the storeroom, it will be much easier to produce products on time and on budget. That’s important. And that’s why Tick matters.