Time tracking in Jira with Tempo Timesheets: Customize it to fit your daily workflow

This is the first part of a guest post series written by Maxime Nie from Tempo, explaining how you can take advantage of the powerful features of Tempo Timesheets for Jira.

This and the following posts' purpose is to provide you with enough information to get started with time tracking in Jira.  We will cover a number of Tempo Timesheet's features and their importance to you and your organization so you can maximize the value of a time tracking and productivity solution.

Before diving into the features of Tempo Timesheets and their benefits, it would be a good idea to review the importance of time tracking from a user's and a business’ perspective.

Here’s why you should care about time tracking

From your perspective, time tracking is a great technique to:

  • Self-reflect and see if you’re working on the right tasks and prioritizing time efficiently and effectively.
  • Provide added transparency and a gateway to better communication with your team and clients.
  • Improve your productivity by optimizing how you spend your time and organize your tasks.

Time tracking is a tool for businesses to generated insights. It allows companies to better implement strategies, provide more accurate forecasts, optimize the allocation of staff and their time, and improve decision making.

What can Tempo Timesheets do?

Tempo Timesheets is a time-tracking and reporting solution that seamlessly integrates with Jira to help teams and managers track time for accounting, payroll, client billing, compliance, enhanced efficiency, and forecasting.

Now let's take a look at the application and get an overview of what it can do.

Adapting Tempo Timesheets to your work schedule - "My Work"

We’ll first look at multiple options for logging time and mention scenarios where they shine. We like this approach because one of the most common and recurring challenges our clients face, is to make their users log and track their time. Which means that their companies can't maximize the benefits of this tool. Our theory is that users are not fully aware of the ways they can make Tempo Timesheets work for them.

There is no better way to start than by looking at the My Work page, the headquarters of Tempo Timesheets. This page lets you see an overview of your planned tasks and is a clear visual way to track the progress of your work. There are several different ways you can capture time spent within My Work. These options can be divided into three main areas.

From the Tempo menu (at the top of the page) you can get to the My Work page. This is the “list” view, just one way to visualize your plan for the week (in blue) and your progress that week (in green). We won't dive into planned times and submitting timesheets for approval, these are additional options.

1. Start tracking - press the “Log Time” button

Sometimes you don’t need an overcomplicated solution - the “Log Time” button found in My Work’s list view is one of the simplest methods. People who prefer visual approaches may prefer this method, plus it provides the added incentive of easily being able to see your progress for the day/week!

“Log Time” opens the work log dialog. The button initially appears as a “+” when you hover over a day, and when you press it, you'll see the options to Log Time and Plan Time. When you have purchased Tempo Timesheets , your users will be able to Plan time (shown with blue cards), but managers or colleagues won't be able to view or edit this data. However, this functionality available through the Tempo Planner app.

We'd like to give you two quick tips for using this visual view:

  • Did you log time to the wrong date? No problem, just drag and drop the calendar card (the rectangle) to the correct date and the job is done!
  • Are you constantly inserting the same calendar cards over and over again? Save yourself some time and duplicate  them: press the keyboard shortcut (Windows = Ctrl + Shift + click, MacOS = Cmd + Shift + click) and drag the cloned card to another day.

2. Drag and drop to insert issues and log time

On the right side of the My Work page, you'll see a column named “Issues”. You can search for issues with the search bar or navigate through the tabs (e.g: Recent issues, Favorites, Projects), and drag and drop an issue to the right day. If this column is not useful for you, you can minimize it. This works similarly to, if not identically to the search bar located in the work log window.

The second area you can use to log time, is on the right side of the My Work page and provides a different approach. First you select the issue and drag it to your chosen day to log time on it. This can be a fairly quick method if the issue you’re looking for is listed and easy to find. This method could be especially useful for someone who finds himself going back to the same few tasks - this method makes it easy to find the right issue immediately.

3. The Timesheet view and the My Work Time view

The third area that lets you track time can be found via the upper right corner of the My Work page. The clock icon lets you see the Timesheet view and offers an alternative way to track your time. In this example, My Work is currently in the Calendar view where we described how you can use method 1 and 2 to track your time. But there is also the Timesheet view that you can use to log the time you spend.

Combining the best of two worlds - The Time view : If you are the type of person that prefers to log your time using an agenda layout, then the Time view via the My Work page is just for you! Arranging issues by the time of day helps you visualize how you spend each day (meetings, breaks, overlaps, interruptions, etc.) In other words, this view can help optimize your day by letting you look back to see any patterns.

Open the Time view in My Work via the clock icon in the upper right corner. Time is logged slightly differently than in the list view. You can always click on a day, and then on the “+” sign to open the work log dialog (and modify the details as necessary). In the Time view, you can select a time window in a similar way to creating a meeting/event in Google Calendar. Return to the My Work list view via the grid icon in the upper right corner.

The Timesheet view - Log your time and see insights: This view is possibly the most insightful area you can access (if you have no special permissions), as it lets you filter and group the data. You can use the data you capture over a period of time to get a clear picture of how you spend your time. It is valuable to reflect on how you have spent your time, and that's where this view is so useful - it helps you see where you can optimize your time going forward.

From the My Work page, access the Timesheet view via the upper right corner of the page. You might notice that the Timesheet view is very similar to the design of the Tempo Reports. The main difference is that the Timesheet view contains only your data, whereas Tempo Reports provides insights on all the data gathered from throughout the organization (if you have the right permissions). From the Timesheet view, you can analyze your work in any given time period by grouping and filtering certain variables (e.g: issues, teams, projects, customers, etc.) You can include additional columns for data such as billable time. All of this information is downloadable.

Let's look at an example where such a time sheet is useful: Frank was hired to do 90% development and 10% Q&A, but he has found that since he started 3 months ago, his work schedule looks more like a 90% Q&A and 10% development. Now that he is aware of this, Frank can bring this up with his manager/team lead.

Log your time via the “Log Time” button in the upper right portion the Timesheet view. You may prefer this view if you like a leaner look or a design that summarizes your data.

The second part of this series will cover how Tempo Timesheets for Jira collects time tracking data.

About the author

Maxime-Samuel Nie-Rouquette is the Global Partner Marketing Expert at Tempo where he ensures good communication and relation with Tempo Partners and aims to make positive impact through collaborations. In his spare time, you will find him experimenting with diverse styles of cuisines or in the middle of a game of Catan.

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Further information

Is Jira trapped in your IT and development teams?
Useful apps for Confluence and Jira, arranged by use cases
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