A project manager might be wondering how to take advantage of Jira’s time tracking in a project management app, such as BigPicture or BigGantt. First and foremost – you might use time tracking to measure the progress of a project or its phases in the Scope or Gantt chart modules. It might come as a surprise that most of BigPicture’s modules use time tracking in one form or another. Let’s look closer at how BigPicture builds on Jira’s native Original Estimate – Remaining Estimate – Time Spent fields.
Use time tracking to measure the Progress and to aggregate time
First and foremost, base the progress calculation in your projects on Jira’s Time Tracking fields (Original Estimate – Remaining Estimate – Time Spent). The key point here is that BigPicture (and BigGantt) are capable of aggregating time logged to low-level elements, such as sub-tasks or stories. Notice, how the ‘Analysis’ epic in the below screenshot aggregates the progress of the four attached stories.
Also check Part 1: How to track the progress of epics, projects, or portfolios?
Apply aggregation to the ‘Time tracking’ columns. Available functions are Min, Max, Avg, Avg without parent, Sum, and Sum without parent. The above screenshot shows Sum function applied to the four columns.
Now, let’s suppose for a minute you don’t have BigPicture/BigGantt on top of Jira. To calculate similar aggregates in plain Jira, you would have to use JQL, but:
- plain Jira doesn’t have the fully developed Work Breakdown Structure. For instance, it lacks program-to-epic, portfolio-to-program, custom-to-custom links.
- so you need an app, such as BigPicture, to observe the progress of whole projects and portfolios.
You could also get a similarly configured time tracking view in the Scope module of BigPicture – see the illustration below. We post the above Gantt chart illustration, as it’s valid in both BigPicture and BigGantt (BigGantt doesn’t have the Scope module).
Note that the progress bar has a numerical equivalent – the Time Tracking Progress (Spent) field:
For improved automation
go to Jira administration > Add-ons > BigPicture > Task configuration and map Time Spent + Remaining Estimate to task’s End date, as evident in the below screenshot. This way, bars in the timeline of the Gantt chart will automatically reflect any delays reported by team members.
You can log time to a Jira task from the context of BigPicture/BigGantt
In Jira Server/Data Center press . [period] > Log work.
In Jira Server/Data Center/Cloud enable the View > Detail view as marked in the below illustration. The ‘Detail view’ is available in the Gantt chart, too.
Time aggregation and Progress tracking are project manager’s classics. Now, let’s look at how other BigPicture’s modules utilize Jira’s time tracking.
Time tracking and Resources module
Resources module of BigPicture relies on Jira’s time tracking heavily. What Resources do is:
- they honor Jira’s Original Estimate, Remaining Estimate, and Time Spent fields
- they add Teams, Workload Plans, and Holiday Plans
- so that:
- a Project Manager is able to load individuals/teams with a proper amount of work (think Motivation)
- and the HR complies with laws (think Maximum weekly/monthly working hours)
The red bars evident in the below picture are areas of concern. These red bars mark weeks when a particular individual or team is overallocated.
Read these three to get an idea on how to leverage Jira’s time tracking in BigPicture:
Note: you can export your Resources view to Excel and further process data with Excel functions (requires BigTemplate, a separate app).
Time tracking fields in issue cards
Something easy on the eyes. Configurable cards and lists of Risks module in BigPicture allow for the presentation of the Time tracking fields and progress bars. Go to BigPicture > Administration > Risk card to update the layout of a card.
You can configure the time-related fields/progress bars to the Board task card and Backlog list accordingly:
Tempo Timesheets for Jira is a standard tool of many HR and accounting departments. Project Managers, on the other hand, lean towards BigPicture. Fortunately, BigPicture for Jira Server/Data Center can see Teams, Skills, Workload Plans, and Holiday Plans, that you’ve defined in Tempo Timesheets, Planner, and Budgets. You need the BigPicture Enterprise extension to maintain the sync between BigPicture and Tempo (the ‘Synchronize with Tempo’ button will appear in BigPicture > Administration > Resource manager).
Source: Scaled Agile, Inc. newsletter
What Jira Align alternatives do large organizations have within Atlassian Ecosystem? More
If you’re after dependency arrows in Jira, then consider BigPicture the leader. Read a guide on strong and soft visual task dependencies in BigPicture/BigGantt and how to map them to Jira task links. More.
BigPicture is becoming an optionally standalone enterprise agile planning tool. With the new edition, called BigPicture.one, you’ll be able to do project portfolio management without Jira. BigPicture for Jira will remain our core product, though, and will be developed concurrently. More.
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