The 6 Best Time Tracking Apps for Software Developers & Development Teams
If you’re reading this article, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re already convinced that tracking time can be a valuable part of the development process.
But you still have standards. All time tracking applications are not created equal.
Chances are that the timesheet app your local coffee shop uses just won’t cut it for keeping tabs on complex work like software engineering.
You need a targeted solution for your team.
What you want is a timekeeping solution that makes it dead-simple to log hours without a bunch of extra work. You want something that works within your current flow and meet the needs of your team, but flexible enough that it won’t require you to change your day-to-day operations just to keep track of the work you’re doing.
Of course, we think that 7pace is the best time tracking application on the market. But, not every development shop on the planet uses Azure DevOps. That means that there are a lot of teams that need another solution based on their individual needs.
This list is about evaluating the available options and choosing the best solution for a variety of different team and individual user scenarios.
Our top picks for time tracking apps for software developers and development teams are as follows.
1. The Best Free Time Tracking App: TopTracker
If you’re just looking for the best possible tracker that’s 100% free, then TopTracker is probably the right choice.
The folks at TopTal created this free tracking app, mostly as a marketing and lead generation opportunity for their freelance work platform. But, it’s a pretty full-featured time tracker that is actually platform agnostic and can be used by anyone completely free.
As long as you don’t mind a few hard sells for the TopTal platform, you get a pretty robust tool here for the total cost of $0.
The only other caveat is that this tool is pretty much only built for individuals and not well designed for teams. For better collaborative work support, you’ll probably have to pony up for another solution.
2. The Best Time Tracking App for Freelancers & Solo Hackers: Toggl
If you just need a simple, lightweight way to keep an eye on your time, then Toggl will probably fit the bill. It’s a super small app that runs on your desktop or browser, allows you to track time and then fill in details later.
Especially for solo hackers, entrepreneurs, or freelancers who probably spend their day juggling a variety of tasks like coding, emails, and even writing, this is a good universal tool that will allow you to capture all of that time pretty easily.
Toggl also offers some lightweight project management tools that will help you keep an eye on your work and organize tasks.
If you want to get a bit more insight into your own time usage and productivity, you’ll need to do some manual setup. But, you can create different types of time and work tasks. That’ll allow you to analyze and segment the data later to give you information about how you spend your time and identify trends, patterns, or problems in your workflow.
As you grow, Toggl does support team functionality. But, depending on your work, it may not be the most efficient solution for a growing team of developers.
3. The Best Time Tracking App for the Chronically Distracted: TimeCamp
Since TimeCamp is decoupled from any actual programming work, it’s probably not the best solution for tracking actual time spent on development projects or tasks.
But it does present a specific feature that could be useful–especially if you find yourself often distracted and floating around the web or other apps.
If you need to show yourself the magnitude of your focus indiscretions (or maybe identify your top time-wasting activities), you can set up TimeCamp to record all of your computer activity in the background. It will log how much time you spend in different applications and also show you which sites you spent the most time looking at.
For most of us, this kind of data may not be all that useful. (We all need a Reddit break, right?)
But, if you find that you have trouble focusing and want to try to get a handle on your time, this could be exactly the kind of wake-up call you need to get your act together.
4. The Best Time Tracking App for Development Teams Using Azure DevOps: 7pace
Here’s a big surprise. If you’re a development team using Azure DevOps, we think 7pace is hands-down the best way for you keep track of your time.
But hear us out–we don’t come to this conclusion lightly.
7pace isn’t just the only fully-integrated time tracking option for teams using Azure DevOps. It’s also built by developers for developers. The whole premise of 7pace is built on giving individual engineers ownership and autonomy over their own time.
Since the application bolts directly only the ALM, 7pace tracks when work items or user stories are actually in progress and automatically keeps time on how long they’re in an active state. That means that developer don’t have to spend time trying to remember what they worked on last week and completing a timesheet should just be a matter of quickly reviewing the entries and submitting.
The app also offers all of the reporting, analytics, and insights you could want about how time is being spent across the team. Historical time data for past work items can be used for future sprint planning or resource forecasting.
It’s just the right choice for any time working in the Microsoft ALM environment.
(Bonus points for the good-looking crew behind this whole thing, too.)
5. The Best Time Tracking App for Development Teams Using Jira: Tempo Timesheets
Tempo Timesheets is the closest analogous solution to 7pace for the Atlassian stack.
Used by thousands of companies, Tempo’s suite of tools allows teams to track time, plan work, and forecast cashflow.
Timesheets offers a straight-forward interface with all of the basic functionality your team needs to track their time. It also includes robust reporting features that allow managers and product owners to dive deep into resource utilization and schedules.
Get a look at how you spent your time for the whole week using the calendar view, see where your time went, and learn from the data.
While there aren’t a ton of fancy bells and whistles here, the deep integration with Jira (including support), plus integrations with Tempo Planner and Tempo Budgets make it an easy, all-in-one platform for teams.
6. The Best Time Tracking App for Development Teams Who Don’t Want an ALM-Integrated Solution: Timely
It’s fair to say that not every shop is setup to do ALM and timekeeping all within one tight package.
You may use a hodge-podge of tools to plan and track work, which means that a native, integrated solution probably won’t fit for your team. But, you also still need a solution that can sync with some of your other apps and make the tracking process as effortless as possible for the team.
That’s where Timely comes in.
Although Timely isn’t built just for developers, it is one of the most advanced universal tracking tools out there. Using AI, it monitors the programs and the work that you’re doing, tracks your time automatically, and then learns from your selections how to categorize that time.
For those of you willing to embrace the robot overlords (I think this is an okay time to let computers take the wheel), having a time tracking tool that can learn your work patterns and automatically sort your hours into the right bucket is a great way to save time and energy.
The only real drawback is that since it’s not integrated into your ALM, it doesn’t have any real sense of the specific projects or work items that you’re tackling. But that’s kind of the name of the game when looking for a standalone time solution.
What Matters the Most to You When Tracking Time?
Now that we’ve laid out our top picks for timekeeping solutions, we want to open up a conversation.
What are your thoughts?
What do you look for when choosing the best, simplest, or most efficient solution for tracking time as a developer or a member of a development team?
Drop it in the comments below.