STANWOOD insights

Why We Put An End To Time Tracking

May 7, 2019 11:11:04 AM / by Karin Kleist


As a digital agency, we charge our clients by the hour or by the day. So we tracked all our tasks and every minute of our working day - until today.

Starting May 1 (Labour Day, how symbolic ;-), we put an end to this time consuming, stressful and dissatisfying practice.

We believe it will calm our operations, it will give our freelance employees the same privileges as the few permanent employees, and it will make our company more productive in the end.

We'd like to share the original slack post from our MD Hannes with you today.

New freelancer invoicing and simplified time-tracking

TLDR: Starting Today, Time Tracking Only On Project-Level, Invoices Are Based On Full Days

Today (May 1st) is Labour Day. 🌹

What better day to radically change the way we time-track and the freelancers get paid.


1. The changes in freelancer invoicing and payment are an effort to harmonize how we pay freelancers and employees. ☮️
2. But more importantly, we want to give the same financial stability to the freelancers that employees already enjoy. 💰
3. While at the same time still allowing you to earn more, if you so choose. 🤑
4. The changes in time tracking are primarily focused on "calming our operations" (see company goals). 
5. But more importantly, we want to put our money where our mouth is (quite literally as this might increase our cost base 😅). But I always hated the police-state that is implied with our detailed time-tracking. 👮

Finally, we are able to live up to our values of trust and ownership. ðŸ˜Š

End of time tracking - kind of â²ï¸

Despite the operational challenges with project steering, controlling, invoicing and quoting clients and analytics (and they are substantial) - from now on, we only time track on the project we work on. No more tracking on tasks like "Estimation" or "Internal communication". No more tracking on tickets. Only the project.

Example: If you only work on Glamour on a certain day, you have just one time-entry in Toggl. Except if you need lunch. Then it's two. ðŸ˜
You may continue to use Toggl's real-time tracking for that or do the summary at the end of the day.

Invoicing ðŸ–‹ï¸

1. You will review how many hours you want to work per week (between ~30-50) with your squad-lead in your next 1:1.
2. At the end of the month, you will create an invoice with ~20 lines (one for each day you worked) with i.e. 8hrs if you chose 40h / week as your default. Marcin will write us a bot to auto-create that.
3. Next: You check against the Toggl entries of the last months if there are days where you worked longer. Then adjust the entry in the invoice accordingly.
3. Also check days on which you left early, chose to work only part of the day or did not want to work at all, please adjust accordingly as well.
4. You may adjust your "default" hours every month or so with your squad-lead. This is important as the squad-leads and the PMs need to know how much to put in your backlog.

Philosophy behind it ðŸ”­

We want to pay you for the time you offered to work for us - regardless of whether we found enough stuff for you to tackle.
Our PMs have received a new OKR of filling our backlogs with four weeks (!) of work in the future - so ideally you will always have enough to do. But if they fail in that endeavour - it will not affect your income.

Quick side note: We are reworking our contracts with our clients to have fixed maintenance & bug fixing budgets. We will come up with a process with which you can always grab tickets from a separate backlog for things like minor bugfixes, polishing, refactoring...

I will post some more details and examples over the next few days.

Feel free to ask questions and suggest changes here, in a DM with me or your squad-lead.

Thanks to everyone who was participating in the discussion around this over the last couple of months. That was quite a challenge to nail down.


Reactions from the team

Screenshot 2019-05-07 at 10.12.45