Wednesday, December 31, 2008

JIRA Timesheet options

Ok, so now that you have Worklog Assistant helping you get hassle-free time tracking for JIRA, just what do you do with that data?

On your JIRA project's homepage you will see the helpful looking link "Time Tracking Report" pictured below:

Unfortunately, the only useful thing it really does is answer the question: "How far are we off track for Version N?"

A question that should be asked, no doubt. But maybe not the only question. Consultants may be interested in how much they should bill their client this month. A development manager of a remote team may want to know if any people on his team are in danger of burning out. Or you might just want to know what your company was up to this week.

By using time tracking for JIRA, this information is already available, but it is just not possible to get it out using the default reports. The rest of this post covers one alternative and lists a few more for your investigation.

Timesheet Report and Portlet

  • Pivot table report with multiple axes of decomposition
  • Configurable portlet
This is the plugin I currently use. I think its main feature is that it is really simple to use. I'll walk you through how I generate a report for my work on Worklog Assistant. Obviously if you are following along, you need to install the plugin.

After installing, locate the report link, "Time Sheet Report", by visiting the project homepage:

This takes me to a page where I can configure the report parameters. If I click "Next" without modifying anything, the report will cover the current user's activities for the last 7 days. However, I've changed some parameters to show that you can limit according to the project and the group among other things. So if you have a software development organization, you can easily see how long QA spent on Project B this week.

So here is the detailed report of what I've been doing in the last week:

With this report, I can easily see:
  • Which issues I've been working on this week
  • Any worklog comments I made
  • The total, or "How much should I bill myself?"
To me, being able to see the worklog comments like this is really useful as it helps me gauge how close I am to completing an issue. A doubly cool thing is that these reports, including parameters, can be bookmarked, so you can always jump to the latest data or send the link around.

The portlet associated with this plugin gives me a nice overview of what I've been doing this week. The only problem with this portlet is that it does not allow you to configure exactly the same parameters as the report above. This means that you can't view your QA group's progress at a glance, atleast not in a portlet. Here is a screenshot of the portlet as it stands right now:

Not too bad.

The Timesheet Report and Portlet plugin for JIRA is a simple way to get useful timesheet data out of JIRA. By no means is this the only way to slice and dice your time tracking information. Here are a few alternatives:
Greenhopper has what is called a "burn down" chart which shows how much time you have remaining. This means that your team needs to continually revise its estimates.

The Time Tracking Reporting Collection is just what it sounds like, a ton of reports on time tracking. My guess is that this will be really useful for a larger team. Additionally, the portlets are configurable so you can finally know what your QA team was working on this week in your dashboard!

Kaamelot is a bunch of reports and some additional functionality that helps with time tracking. It took me a few months to even figure that out.

??? is because I'm sure I missed a bunch but I hope you will correct me!

Please note that none of these reports can be useful if don't you have the time tracking in JIRA to begin with. While there are multiple options for time tracking in JIRA, my company's application Worklog Assistant makes it really easy :-)

It's still in beta but you can download a free trial.

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