Balance What You Track for Maximum Effectiveness

Happy medium tracking 

In my travels and the daily grind, I get to meet a lot of people in this industry and discuss how they track in their business.

There’s a couple extremes.

The first extreme is just winging it, and not tracking anything. Or not nearly enough to know where you went right or where you went wrong on that last job. I, or my fantastic team, get to help those people in their businesses. You likely already know that SynkedUP is all about helping businesses know their numbers for accurate estimating, and then tracking their jobs to ensure that their estimates are in line with reality.

The second extreme is the folks that wake up to the awesomeness of having this data and go crazy, analysis paralysis, and try to track everything.

I mean track how long it takes to excavate, compact base, screed, lay, cut, clean up, and drive back to the shop.

Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s cool and all!

But! and this is a big but… who is ultimately capturing this data and tracking it for you?

Your crew is.

There’s got to be a happy medium option that works for everyone.

Over the top

When you go over the top with tracking, you kind of end up making their life miserable. (I was a crew leader for many years. I’ve been on both sides of the fence here) The reason you make it miserable is you lay out this detailed framework of everything you want them to track. Then they need to frequently interrupt what they’re doing to document and track. 

There is a tipping point where this interruption is more costly than the value of the overly detailed data they produced for your tracking.

So, (in the example of installing a patio) what I like to do is instead of tracking everything right down to the screeding and cutting the level of detail, I just want to know how long it took from the time we broke ground until we were done cleaning up. Whether we took longer on screeding or cutting doesn’t matter that much to me. I just want to know how we made out on my overall estimated man hours vs actual manhours on the job.

Track the individual sections

Now, I DO like to track the individual sections of the job. Like a patio, landscaping, lighting, etc. I don’t feel like this is too much for the crew to track, and it gives me valuable info. The reason I call this info valuable is, say we go 20% over on man hours on a job. I want to know what section of the job we missed.

It could be that our hardscape and lighting were right on target, and it was the landscaping that we went over on. That’s what I want to know. That helps me turn around and make a more accurate estimate on my next quote. And I’m not left wondering if I should raise my prices on everything, all because of one type or section of work that I missed on my estimate. I can surgically go in and adjust only what needs to be adjusted.

Skip the white noise in tracking

To that point, back to the happy medium path that works for everyone. A rule of thumb I like to use is: I only want the data I need to make a better decision tomorrow. Everything else is white noise.

White noise data may or may not be useful. Data that I’m spending energy on collecting, but then not using, is a waste. Just skip tracking it if you’re not using it. It slows things down and makes everyone’s life out on the crew more miserable. When that happens you’ll struggle to get your crew’s buy-in on the validity or value of tracking that info.

When that happens the quality of the data spirals, and you’ll be left looking at a sheet of super-detailed granular data, and asking yourself whether you can trust it. Is it correct? Or was it so detailed, and difficult to track that the data entry was “pencil-whipped”? Aka just thrown in as a best guess.

And in that scenario…. you would have been better off just tracking simple data, that’s still effective, and you KNOW it is right because it was easy to track and the crew had no issues accurately recording it.

I’m a fan of KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid.

I’m also a fan of making it easy for the crew.

Make it possible

And that’s what we do at SynkedUP. Make all this possible, very easily. Your crew will love it. No more filling out paper forms or trying to zoom in on spreadsheets on your phone. If you don’t use SynkedUP yet, book a free demo. Or DM me on Instagram. We’ll show you how we track it and make it an awesome user experience. Getting you live real-time data.

If you are a SynkedUP user already, drop me a comment, please. I’d love to hear more about your experience and opinions on tracking things, and how SynkedUP has impacted your ability to track. The people reading this that do not yet use SynkedUP would love to hear some real-world insight from you.

Cheers, all! See you next week



Weston Zimmerman
CEO and co-founder

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