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Why does the "Sum of Time Spent" not work for Epics?

Time logged to issues in Jira is aggregated in the "Time Spent" and "Sum of Time Spent" (aka "sigma Time Spent") values:

  • The "Time Spent" value totals all time logged to a specific issue.
  • The "Sum of Time Spent" totals all time logged for a specific issue and any child issues -- EXCEPT for Epics. Why?

For teams and companies that use Time Tracking in Jira, and Time Logging to track effort (sometimes even to support hourly client billing), this is really important data.

The basic Jira issue hierarchy (Epic - Story - Subtask) is helpful to break down work, assign to different team members.

Unfortunately, logged time aggregation across the issue hierarchy is not consistent. Why?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Fee free to verify this in your Jira instance. Use this JQL search:

type=epic and timespent != 0

And in the results, show these columns:

  • Time Spent
  • Sum of Time Spent

You will see that these two values always match, even if the Epic has child issues (Stories, Tasks, etc) with logged time.

In other words, "Sum of Time Spent" for Epics does not actually aggregate down the issue hierarchy. It computes the exact same value as "Time Spent" for Epics.

For bonus points, you can add "Remaining Estimate" and see that the "Sum of Remaining Estimate" acts the same way -- not aggregating for Epics.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

To verify that Jira actually CAN aggregate logged time down the issue hierarchy, change your search JQL to this:

type=story and timespent != 0 order by subtasks

Assuming you have some Subtasks with time logged on them, you will see that the "Sum of Time Spent" column for those Stories will be larger than the "Time Spent" column. The "Sum" field properly aggregates time logged to child issues -- for Stories-level issues.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

My question again is: why doesn't "Sum of Time Spent" work as expected for Epics?

Note, I'm very much NOT interested in third-party add-ons to work around this. I want to know why this native functionality appears to be broken.

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