In Time Tracking and Agile Software Development we overviewed why teams should consider tracking their time. Primary reasons include:
- You’re billing your customer by the hour
- Your organization wants to account for CapEx/OpEx
- Your organization wants to take advantage of tax credits (typically for R&D work)
A secondary reason to track time is because the team wants to measure where they are spending time so as to target potential areas to improve. This is more of a side benefit than anything else – if this was your only reason to track time you’d be better off simply discussing these sorts of issues in your retrospectives. But if you were already tracking time then running a quick report to provide the team with intel likely makes sense for you.
So what are your options for recording time? Potential strategies, which are compared in the following table, include:
- Automated report from an agile management tool. The basic idea is to extract data from an agile management tool (JIRA, TFS, LeanKit, …) and load it into your time tracking system.
- Manual input by team members. Each team member, typically once a week, inputs their time into the time tracking tool.
- Manual input by the Team Lead. The Team Lead (ScrumMaster) inputs the time for their team into the time tracking tool.
- Manual input by a Project Manager/Coordinator. A PM or Project Coordinator, often in a support role to the team, inputs the time of team.
- Don’t track time at all. ‘Nuff said.
Table: Comparing options for tracking time.
|Automated report from agile management tool||
|Manual input by team members||
|Manual input by Team Lead||
|Manual input by Project Manager/Coordinator||
|Don’t track time at all||
This blog posting was motivated by a conversation that I had with Stacey Vetzal on Twitter.