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How Project Managers at Product Design and Development Agency Impekable Use Time Tracking for Successful Project Management

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About

Impekable is a product design and development agency with a team of 20, founded in 2012. The agency designs and builds elegant digital products for tech innovators and industry leaders in the US and globally.

Results with Toggl Track

  • Increased billable time for team from 56% to 90% between 2021 and 2022, acting on insights from Track reports to improve time tracking processes
  • 25% increase in clients by pursuing income-driven partnerships that better fit the company’s culture, after decreasing other engagements by 15% based on analyzing Track projects by task
  • 43% increase in bundled projects purchased by enterprise clients between 2020 and 2021
Profile photos of team members in Impekable

Toggl Track data helps us when it’s time to renegotiate contracts for clients. The reports help us understand hours usage and we can make the case for a higher rate, capturing more profitability for us while bundling resources and services to provide our clients with the best deal.

Angela Wells, Senior Project Manager at Impekable

Challenges

As a design and development agency, Impekable sells time to clients. And the more there are, the harder it gets.

“In the early days we were using Google Sheets to track time,” said founder Pek Pongpaet to Toggl Track.

“Everything was manual. The sheets were everywhere, and I had to organize them. Every employee or contractor had their own timesheet for privacy, and I had access to all of them, but it was a big mess. Imagine having 40 employees and contractors each filling out Google Sheets. That’s not just sustainable,” said Pek.

On top of all that, every client is different, and every project is different, even two seemingly similar design projects.

“In one project, we might be creating a design system for a large enterprise client. For another client, we might be more like consultants auditing the design. The KPIs for each project aren't going to be the same,” said Katy Romanelli, a senior project manager at Impekable.

Solution

Impekable started using Toggl Track about five years ago to track billable project hours. The finance team can issue client invoices based on time tracking data. “Toggl Track eliminated a lot of work for me,” said Pek.

“When I didn’t have helpful time tracking tools at other companies, it was chaos and disorder,” said Angela Wells, a senior project manager at Impekable, thinking back to previous roles. “You’re guessing at how long project tasks might take or the time resources will need to complete a project.”

But Track did more than eliminate guesswork and admin work. By helping Impekable measure their project management processes, Track helped the agency improve their processes—and boost profits along the way.

Tracking project health

Success for project managers at Impekable is tied to project success, which means keeping the project profitable and on schedule. This is where Track shines, thanks to its data structure, flexibility, and ability to work with (and within) other tools in the Impekable stack, from ClickUp to Slack.

“The main benefit for me and my projects is keeping track of the budget,” said Angela. “Toggl Track data provides a clear overview of project times and budget—a resource we can draw on for future projects.”

The data setup also helps, striking the right balance between customizable and structured.

“My favorite features are in the project setup of Toggl Track,” said Angela.

"Not only can I go in and add project time estimates to the total project, I can also divvy up a project into smaller tasks, set task-based time estimates and assign these tasks to team members. Doing so also allows me to track the time for each task, and keep an eye on the team: Did my senior designer go over, is my junior designer under?

This dashboard helps project managers make the right decisions to ensure projects remain on track. Angela can move these hours around to ensure they’re still coming out ahead.

“Once I realize we’re butting up against the maximum amount of hours that we’ve allotted for this project, I know it’s time to pause and talk to the client. Whether it’s about signing a change order or getting an additional scope of work, Toggl Track helps us have the right conversation at the right time. I find that incredibly helpful,” said Angela.

Managing resources

The other piece of the project management puzzle is being able to see who is working on what.

“Toggl Track gives us a really great depiction of who’s working on what and when. This is something that we as project managers need to know,” said Angela. “Track data helps us understand whether we should staff differently on a project.”

For example, during an operations exercise for an enterprise client, Impekable reviewed their annual project hours from 2020 to 2022 in Track, and realized that smaller, dedicated teams could be more efficient and profitable.

While planning for future projects with the client, Impekable was able to pare down the team by 50%, resulting in a 33% decrease in resource hours and an increased profit margin.

More efficient resource management means more bandwidth for more projects or clients, and more profit.

“In one project we realized that it wouldn’t really be an issue if we replaced the senior product designer with a junior to mid-level product designer,” said Katy.

It worked out really well. The senior product designer was happier on a project that was utilizing more of his skills, and it also gave the mid-level designer a really good opportunity to work with a large enterprise client.”

Screenshot of Toggl Track's time estimate feature to help with project forecasting
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Project scoping with historical data

Defining project scope is a key part of successful project management. Impekable relies on historical data from Toggl Track for both high-level decisions and day-to-day project management.

“If we have a new project that’s similarly sized to a past project, I use Toggl Track reports to kind of get a sense of the resources that might be required, the project management required, and so on,” said Pek.

“Toggl Track data helps us when it’s time to renegotiate contracts for clients,” said Angela. “ The reports help us understand hours usage and we can make the case for a higher rate, capturing more profitability for us while bundling resources and services to provide our clients with the best deal.”

“Ultimately, Toggl Track helps us understand what should be next for a particular project and how to bill for an upcoming year,” said Angela.

Breaking down silos

Toggl Track data is not just actionable, it’s also shareable. Impekable shares time tracking data with other team members to ensure everyone is on the same page.

“We also feed these numbers into monthly or biweekly project health meetings where we report on the status of projects to the leadership team,” said Katy.

“We also use Toggl Track reports to give our finance team insights into what we billed and what we’ve charged against the project each month or each billing cycle,” said Angela.

New hires can also benefit. “Let’s say we have a new project manager starting with an existing client and a new project. It’s all right that they’re not familiar with the client—they can look at past reports to get a sense of how much guidance and back-and-forth this client has historically demanded,” said Pek.

And finally, reports can be shared with clients, too. Impekable used Track’s easy-to-understand visualizations not just to internally identify which bundled project packages were selling the most, but also to externally make the case to clients. Between 2020 and 2021, the sales team at Impekable had a 43% increase in bundled projects purchased by enterprise clients.

“Having a time tracking tool—a reporting tool—like Toggl Track was a game changer,” said Pek. “It’s worth every penny.”

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