Agile teams typically track a few key metrics. Scrum teams may look at sprint velocity and sprint burndown, while Kanban teams may care about cycle time and throughput. The exact set of metrics and their importance is specific to each team. Time tracking is fueled by team members tracking the time they spent on a task and updating the remaining hours for the task. This data feeds the burndown charts and inform future planning sessions. However, in order for these entries to provide maximum value to the team and keep others up to date, they need to be updated at least once a day.
Time tracking required?
On top of the need for daily effort tracking, some teams are required to track their time for accounting purposes, whether to enable client billing or to satisfy government regulations. This is often done in a separate system of record, with its own login and password and often cumbersome user interface, forcing the team members to enter the same data twice. Moreover, the tasks and stories that the team member is working on are not automatically available on their timesheets.
An elegant solution
At this point, you are thinking to yourself that there’s got to be a better way, seeing how this duplication of effort is hurting the team productivity and morale, while making their time tracking less accurate. We, at VersionOne, had that same thought and came up with a solution – a user-friendly Timesheet interface embedded within the platform that the team is already using every day. More importantly, the effort tracking data that the team is already updating feeds the Timesheet and vice versa, the time entered into the Timesheet can be viewed on the tasks and stories. The Timesheet even allows for a quick and easy update of your remaining “to do” for each task.
The details that delight
This new feature is available as of the Winter 16.0 release of the VersionOne Lifecycle platform. The Timesheet is available through the “My Home” menu in the application, as well as through the user menu, which allows for direct access from the TeamRoom. The initial Timesheet view shows all items that you already tracked time against in the current week, with quick access to add more items. When adding new items to the sheet, any item that you own is available for quick selection. Not seeing the item you need? Just start typing to look up any other item.
The Timesheet user interface is very intuitive and easy to use. Click into any cell to edit, type a new value, tab to the next field, repeat. Don’t bother looking for the Save buttons, as all edits are automatically saved. Of course, you can also navigate to any week, not just the current one, to view and edit your entries.
Given that the data is shared between effort tracking on stories/tasks and the Timesheet, any existing backend integrations will continue to work. If you don’t already have the data flowing into your back office reporting solution, the information you need is only an API call away.
Similarly, all of your existing reports that show effort progress will work the same way, now being fed by more accurate data collected from happier team members.