does the accuracy of the rather precise 'Start Date' and 'End Date' fields really matter in Jira?

Arnold May 4, 2022

I've always been quite curious why, when setting up a Jira Sprint using the 'Create sprint' button in the Backlog view of a Jira Scrum Board, it presents us with a screen (where we enter the Sprint Goal) and invites us to enter 'Start Date' and 'End Date' and is rather precise down to the minute.

(can't seem to paste a screen clip so I'll just assume you know what I mean)

I usually don't bother with being accurate in these two fields:  I just make sure the Start Date field's date is right (I don't bother with the time) and then rely on 'Duration' (or, if using 'Custom', I'll just make sure the date is right in the 'End Date' field - again, I won't bother with the time)

I know from experience that clicking the 'Start Sprint' button at the right time in the Sprint Planning timebox/conversation, and 'Complete Sprint' at the right time in the Sprint Review timebox/conversation has proven good enough for getting good enough reporting out of Jira for the stakeholders (e.g. answering 'when will we get this?' with data-driven insight)

So why are the 'Start Date' and 'End Date' fields being so precise down to the minute: what were the developers thinking:  where and how does Jira use these field's values: are they just for display purposes in the Backlog view or is there some other functional meaning / reporting from these two field values?  I'm tempted to just put 00:00 or 12:00 or some other 'round number' just to make it look clean, or even the Start Date field's time set to the planned start of the Sprint Planning conversation, and the End Date field's time set to the end of the Sprint Retrospective's planned timebox, but I'm still curious 'why the precision of the time down to the minute?'  'What had the Jira Software developers in mind?'

And on the topic of setting the End Date field's time to the end of the Retrospective conversation's timebox, we know that there is an interval of potentially hours, or even overnight, between clicking 'Complete Sprint' (during the Sprint Review conversation) and the end of the Retrospective, which may be hours later, or the next day, and an even bigger interval between 'Complete Sprint' and when we next click 'Start Sprint'.

I'm wondering how Jira - if at all - correlates the datetime we click 'Start Sprint' and 'Complete Sprint' events and the corresponding Start Date and End Date field values of a Jira Sprint.  Maybe the Date fields are purely for display purposes on the Backlog view and there is no reporting or correlation being done?  Or is there....?

(Edit:  just getting into the detail a little:  knowing that Sprints are back-to-back (in Scrum theory, the next Sprint starts when this Sprint's Retrospective ends), in reality that doesn't happen : there's usually a break (e.g. an overnight, or a lunchbreak, or some other interval) between this Sprint's Sprint Retrospective end-time (which can be anywhere within the timebox, not necessarily when the Outlook Calendar says it should end - it's a maximum, not a target, such is the nature of timeboxes) and the next Sprint's Sprint Planning start-time.  E.g. I might finish this Sprint at 3.37pm on a Wednesday (earlier than the Retrospective timebox's max of 4pm, say) and tomorrow's 0930 Sprint Planning start time.  So I'm really quite baffled why the developers chose to be so precise to the minute.)

What time do you set in the Start Date field (and, if required, the End Date field), and what made you decide to do it that way?

1 answer

0 votes
Sari Kachorovsky March 27, 2024

Good question, I'll be glad to see Jira experts answers to this question.

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