Time Tracking in Basecamp

9/13 UPDATE: Welcome Basecamp Forum users! I hope this review is helpful to you if you are considering the new Time Tracking feature in Basecamp.

A couple of days ago, I shared the news with you that 37Signals had included Time Tracking to Plus and Premium level accounts in their latest update to Basecamp. This morning, I wanted to cover that update a little further.

First, Time Tracking in Basecamp isn’t meant to be comprehensive or a replacement time tracking software. It doesn’t include a “stopwatch”, for accurately accounting of time. It’s just a time log – where you can choose the date, number of hours spent on an item, and a description for that item, and press ‘Add to log’. Simple enough. Right? (That’s called Getting Real, folks!)

Screen capture of the main time tracking interface in Basecamp.

Above: The primary interface in Basecamp for inputting time. This screen includes a place for entering new time, and allows you to view time inputted so far. Clicking on ‘Create a Report’ allows you to generate reports based on date ranges, persons with time, etc. All reports can be exported to CSV files.

New and existing To-do lists can now have time tracking added to task items.

The 37S folks, took time tracking a step further by incorporating Time Tracking into To-Do lists as well… New and existing To-do lists can now have time tracking added to task items. Why’s this notable? Well, it allows you to better track the time you spend on individual tasks. Some shops already do this, but we tend to track time on the Client level, not the project level. By using Basecamp to track time spent on individual tasks, or projects, I am able to better gauge the amount of time I am spending on certain things. (It also allows me to compare actual cost of work vs. the estimated cost of the project.)

Screen capture of To-Do List with Time Tracking enabled.

When you enable Time Tracking on To-do Lists, a little clock icon appears next to each task in the list. If there is any time involved in any of the tasks, the clock icon will be colored green. To add or view time associated with a task, click the clock icon and a widget will be displayed to allow you to view total hours spent on the task (if time is present already) and/or it will allow you to add time.

The more that I use the Time Tracking feature in Basecamp, the more I appreciate its simplicity. I am still using Quickbooks Pro Timer to track my time, but as I add entries into it, I copy the descriptions of work rendered into Basecamp as well. It’s a little extra work, but not that big of a deal. Time tracking is a great addition to Basecamp, one well worth the price of a Plus or Premium level plan.