459 Time Tracking on the iPhone with Tick Susan Carlson iPhone Life 1528-5456 2008-11-11 Spring 2009 1 2 82 Work iPhone

As a Senior Project Manager I am responsible for a project’s scope, schedule and budget. As part of my regular status I compare the time entered on project tasks with the budget. Accurate time reporting is a necessary component to ensure a project’s success. Compliance with time reporting processes can be an issue. It can be overcome with clearly defined processes, training and the right application.

I have used many time reporting systems over the years. Web-based time reporting has become more prevalent and widely used. Having a web-based time reporting site provides employees with a way to enter time that is easily accessible from their computers, even when at a client site or at home. This has helped with compliance but does not solve the problem of time entry in all situations.

The difficulty arises when the employee needs to enter time but is not at a computer. Accessing a time tracking Web site via a mobile device is possible, but unfortunately most sites are not designed to be used easily with a mobile device.

Tick’s mobile app for the iPhone

imageimageMy company, ITR Group, selected a Web-based application call Tick to meet our time reporting requirements. Developed by Molehill (themolehill.com), Tick provides features that help define projects, tasks within the project, a budget for the project, and the personnel who are project members. Tick also provides the necessary reports and data for back office processing.

Recently Molehill released a free mobile app that is integrated with the Tick web-based application and makes it quick and easy to enter time from the iPhone on a daily basis effortlessly.

The Tick app takes only a few minutes to configure. You enter your company’s Tick URL and your credentials (e-mail, address, and password). Then save the data and the app will automatically log on when accessed.

 
 

(Left) Tick’s log on screen makes it easy to configure. (Right)
Tick’s time/date entry screen on the iPhone is simple and easy to use.

The Tick iPhone app makes time entry simple. First select a project from your list of assigned projects, and then a specific task. Enter the hours worked, type in any notes, and you are done. The Tick app allows you to change the date of the time worked, which is useful when you’re reporting time you worked on a previous day or when you will be on vacation for part of a time reporting period. The Web-based Tick application is immediately updated with the data.

imageA great feature in the Tick app is the timer, which starts and stops with a single touch and takes the guesswork out of figuring out your time spent on a task. (It’s especially useful if you stop and start a lot.) Once you’ve finished a task and stopped the timer, you can enter the time spent by selecting the project and task.

imageAs manager of many different projects, I appreciate Tick’s Budget Check option. Normally I need to print out budget reports, make notes, or take my laptop to meetings to provide budget information. I am no longer tied to my laptop or paper. I touch the Budget Check button and select any project to quickly see a high-level summary of the budget status. The display shows the overall budget with a breakdown of hours spent on each task in the project. I can scroll down the task list to see where the hours were reported.

 

 


Tick’s timer makes it easy to track time worked and enter it into the project.

 

Tick’s Budget Check screen (left) provides a quick, high-level summary
of the budget status of my projects and the various tasks in them.

Makes project management easier

There are other Web-based time reporting applications available that also have iPhone apps, including PocketPunchclock, InerTrack, and TimeXchange. The Tick application was selected because it integrates seamlessly with other products that are used by ITR Group, including Basecamp. Tick is one iPhone app that makes my role as project manager easier.