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Published:Mar 06, 2020

Software Project Profitability: How Muddy Boots Uses 7pace to Keep Projects Profitable

Once upon a time, time tracking tools were seen as just ways for micromanaging bosses to keep tabs on how much time their employees spent at work.

Luckily, those times are behind us. We now realize that a time tracking tool can do so much more than that. With the right time tracker, businesses can learn valuable analytics that can increase team efficiency, improve employee engagement, squash misinformation about human productivity, and more. 

Not convinced that a time tracker can change your business for the better? Here’s how one startup’s decision to implement 7pace Timetracker helped increase project profitability while saving time and removing customer service pain points.

Meet Mark Powell and Muddy Boots

Mark Powell is the Solutions Manager at Muddy Boots, a UK-based farming management software company that gathers grower, agronomist, and retailer data to help stakeholders at all points in the supply chain view, manage, and report on the quality, traceability, and compliance of fresh produce products. 

Or, as Powell puts it, “We capture data about produce from right at the farm level all the way through to a retailer supermarket level and help connect the dots in between those.”

Muddy Boots has been in business since 1996 and now employs around 100 people, Powell said. It was only two years ago that Muddy Boots started using 7pace Timetracker, a tool Powell now can’t imagine the business without.

Why Muddy Boots Chose 7pace Timetracker

For more than 20 years, Muddy Boots didn’t have a great time tracking solution in place. His team logged their tasks times into TFS (Team Foundation Server, which is now Azure DevOps Server).

“In TFS we used to use the completed time under the tasks to capture time. So yeah, we had kind of some rudimentary ways of capturing time through there,” Powell explained. He realized, though, that that system didn’t offer anything more than a number of hours with no context, and there were better solutions out there.

“We did do a review of two or three tools,” he explained. But in those reviews, he found limited reporting and instability. That is, until his teams tried 7pace Timetracker.

“The integration into TFS was the big win for us,” Powell said. “And the fact that the UI was similar to TFS, so the majority of our users who are using TFS already didn’t need a lot of training to get started logging their time through.”

That’s not all Powell found he and his teams loved about 7pace Timetracker right off the bat.

“The fact that [7pace Timetracker] already had quite an impressive list of customers helped the decision,” he said. “We find the customer support is really good as well. When we send through support requests, we always get a response that day or the next day without ever needing to chase on anything.”

Powell also pointed to the simple installation process as being a big plus—IT wasn’t necessary, as he could install 7pace Timetracker himself as a simple extension.

“It’s simple, easy to use,” he said. “It’s not painful to set up and implement. It’s easier to get buy in from users when it’s something that’s integrated into their daily workflow.”

 Why Muddy Boots Loves 7pace Timetracker Integration with Azure DevOps Simple UI that takes little to no training to use Impressive list of users, including Avis, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Xerox, and more Great, fast customer support Simple installation that doesn’t take an IT team to get up and running

But the biggest benefits to using 7pace Timetracker weren’t the ones that made Powell choose the tool for his teams. It was what 7pace Timetracker brought to Muddy Boots over time that has made this time tracker an invaluable tool.

How Muddy Boots Uses 7pace Timetracker to Ensure Project Profitability

Being able to track profitability by project was a little bit of an unexpected benefit that Powell discovered after his teams started to use 7pace Timetracker.

“We know what it’s costing us for delivering things and we can compare that against what we’re making or we’re getting paid as well,” he explained. “We use the API integration to pull the data out of the time tracker, and then we can merge that with data from our accounts systems to link up and do a bit of a profit and loss on projects.”

Before using 7pace Timetracker, Muddy Boots didn’t have the accurate time logs by project that it needed to be able to track profitability like that, Powell said.

 Muddy Boots: Before and After 7pace Timetracker Before 7pace Timetracker After 7pace Timetracker Before using 7pace Timetracker, Muddy Boots didn’t have accurate time logs on a per-project basis, and wasn’t able to see profit and loss numbers for each individual project. After installing 7pace Timetracker, Muddy Boots used more accurate, per-project time logs to track project profitability. This allowed teams to make adjustments on the fly to ensure all projects were profitable.

Powell continued, “Before, we wouldn’t really have had an accurate log of time by project, and so it’d be easy to fall into spending too long on things. Now that we can actually keep track of time spent on projects, that visibility helps us keep on top of profitability and stay ahead of the game.”

Powell couldn’t say exactly how much loss his teams have eliminated by tracking project profitability with 7pace Timetracker, but that in this case, knowledge is power. Knowing when projects are becoming timesucks that aren’t profitable gives the entire team the power to evaluate their process and see why things are going wrong and where they can improve. And Powell said other teams that use 7pace Timetracker could do the same.

How Can 7pace Timetracker Help Your Team?

Based on Muddy Boots’ experience with 7pace Timetracker, Powell said this is a tool he wholeheartedly recommends for other development teams. While every team will get different benefits out of a tool like this, Powell said he thinks all teams can benefit from the great customer service and ease of installation and use.

“We’ve got 40 or 50 users using 7pace Timetracker every day,” he said. “So it gets heavily used and it’s robust and reliable.”

7pace Timetracker is the only integrated, professional time management solution for teams using Azure DevOps. It’s a tool designed to help developers master their work and their time, while using insights about their tracked time to learn more about their process, productivity, and needs as developers. With a desktop and mobile, plus an integrated API, 7pace Timetracker delivers project and time data whenever—and wherever—you need it.
Ready to see how 7pace Timetracker can help your development team? Start your free trial to see what 7pace Timetracker can do for your business.

By Christina Marfice
Free eBook

Rethinking Timekeeping for Developers:

Turning a Timesuck Into Time Well Spent

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