our developers have created a single ticket in Jira to track non dev-type effort (logging work related to project management, Documentation, Email drafting, Providing estimates, basically anything admin) for a project.
is there a better way to log all developer effort excluding actual development effort, e.g.; debugging, writing code, etc.
In my experience we approached the problem from the angle of improving people's ability to estimate their work habits by keeping a log.
1) Discuss the reasons why you want to improve their ability to estimate work.
2) Ask for input on how they might accomplish that task
3) Hopefully someone will say logging their day, otherwise you can suggest it
4) if someone has a better idea that is fine, but the trick is people are made aware what they do everyday. The log belongs to the person, so they write whatever they want.
5) How they log their time is up to each person, but it must be done by the end of each work day. The minimum is x hours of work on each task. If they want to estimate overhead they can, but it is not necessary.
6) Each person estimates his own time before starting a task, so they have ownership over the number.
7) You compare actual to estimated.
8) Use formula actual = estimated * factor to calculate each person's factor.
9) A person's factor changes based upon the role he is doing.
10) On the next task that is similar apply the factor to see if estimated comes closer to actual.
11) Have people collect for 3 to 4 tasks and review the process.
12) Discuss on a at least weekly basis what they discovered about their work estimation until either you find it is not working or until people accept the new habit.
The factor represents overhead and incorrect estimation.
norman what you've outlined is very interesting - just another reminder to how little i know!
Q: how have you mapped the above processes to any of the atlassian services?
e.g; "compare actual to estimated" do you track this in an Excel sheet? or in an Atlassian product that links to Jira?
You are probably well aware that it is very difficult to actually log those activities unless you integrate with the tools your developer are using. You left off items like impromptu meetings. Your developers may attempt to log those times, but in the end it is the nature of people to not to.
Even if you could integrate with your tools, what will you do when someone gets a telephone call while writing a document? Do you include that time or not? Do you cross reference time records between your various logs?
The only thing I found that partially works is each day your manager asks each person how much time today was due to overhead. This works until the manager gets tired doing this task.
Also the manager has to be well aware that there will be days when the whole day is overhead items and he cannot take it out on his employees.
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