Tuesday, December 23, 2008

JIRA time tracking options

It is asked over and over again: how do I make time tracking with JIRA easier? A major issue for some customers is that time tracking for JIRA is very much divorced from the normal workflow. Users have to remember to manually enter worklogs.

My preferences when using any piece of software is that the software is:
  • Simple
  • Automated
  • Follows the DRY principle (Don't Repeat Yourself)
This needs to be especially true for time tracking applications. I've got way too much to do to worry about tracking time. I'm sure other developers are the same.

The options for JIRA, as far as I am aware:
  • Worklog Assistant is an application that my company wrote to solve this very problem. With this application, it becomes nearly impossible to forget to enter time. As a bonus, you work in your own timezone whereas if you enter directly into JIRA, you must work in the server's timezone.
  • Use a separate time tracker like Rescue Time. While this is an interesting way to track time, it is separate from JIRA which means you have to enter the worklogs manually.
  • Logging to a disparate system like Replicon Web Timesheets. In this case you have to sync: your JIRA issues, your separate time tracker and your timesheet system.
  • Pen and paper. I mention this because it was the first thing I tried. Massive fail. You can probably also stick "Excel Worklog Templates" in here.
If your company already requires the use of a timesheet system, a time tracker integrated with JIRA can still help you. Using the timesheet reporting plugin for JIRA, you can see right away what you should enter in your timesheet, taking it from a chore to a mere annoyance. There are still some DRY-violations here but it is reduced enough to be manageable.

I'm sure you will be able to guess which I prefer. I would recommend you try all the options and pick whichever one suits you best. Get started by downloading Worklog Assistant right now!

About this blog

We strongly believe that tracking your time properly is the first step to deterministic software development. If you feel that you have been guessing or you can't be bothered to remember to log time, Worklog Assistant might be for you!

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