Time Tracking Doesn’t Have to Be a Hassle. No, Really.

Main_timesheets-800x328Agile 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.

A few of those metrics are 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.

Is 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’re probably 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 we introduced a user-friendly Timesheet interface embedded within the platform that the team is already using every day in our Winter 2016 Release.  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.

Team Effort Tracking Feeds the Timesheet and Vice Versa

Team Effort Tracking Feeds the Timesheet and Vice Versa

The Details That Delight

This new feature is available as of the Winter 2016 Release of the VersionOne Enterprise Agile 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.

Sample Timesheet View

Sample Timesheet View

Easy Integrations

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, will be fed by more accurate data collected from happier team members.

Stay tuned for additional articles introducing other Winter 2016 Release enhancements.

Posted in agile time tracking, timesheets | 2 Comments

Native Kanban Support Added to TeamRooms


As a consultant with VersionOne for the better part of three years, I would routinely get questions around the fact that TeamRooms™ in VersionOne did not support Kanban natively. I had to explain to the team, I know you don’t use Scrum but… I know you don’t use a sprint but… I know, I know you don’t have any need for a burndown or a velocity….I know…but aren’t TeamRooms so cool!?!

The reality is TeamRooms have been and will likely continue to be a favorite feature for teams within VersionOne no matter what framework is in place. Kanban teams in the past of course could work just fine in a TeamRoom however there were aspects in the room that that would not help a Kanban team. The Winter 2016 release changes all that introducing native Kanban support in TeamRooms!

Whether the TeamRoom already exists or needs to be created, setting the TeamRoom up to use Kanban is quite easy. All the TeamRoom admin needs to do is update the Team Flow setting in TeamRoom to Kanban. Once this is complete and saved there will be immediate visible changes.

Kanban TeamRoom 2

What! The upper right corner no longer reads NO DATA TO DISPLAY! The burndown chart has been replaced by a useful cumulative flow chart. In fact, all three pieces of Scrum related data have been replaced with cycle time, throughput, and cumulative flow. These metrics are far more useful and the enhancements don’t stop with metrics.

First, the Backlog panel no longer forecasts future sprints. The forecast line now represents what is likely to be completed in future weeks using previous performance throughput week over week. The backlog panel now also represents all work that has not been started.

You’ll notice the None column is missing from the Storyboard panel. This was also a question I was use to get as a consultant: “We use Kanban, can we ditch the None column?
The final change is with the Closed panel. In the past, the Closed panel would display items closed sprint over sprint.  We don’t use sprints…I know I know…so the Closed panel now displays items closed out week over week.

The change in the Winter 2016 release are major improvements for Kanban teams that want to harness the collaborative environment within TeamRooms.

Stay tuned for additional articles on VersionOne’s other Winter 2016 Release products and enhancements.

TeamRoom is a trademark of VersionOne Inc.


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Budgeting Your Strategic Themes to Help Teams Deliver Value 

stra·te·gic – strəˈtējik/ adjective
  1. relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.(Source: Google)

Taking a strategic approach to your annual spending is a sound and fiscally responsible thing to do. Portfolio level strategic themes allow you to set a vision for the value streams within your enterprise, and align the initiatives, features and completed work from the  teams to those themes.  The next logical step is to decide on the budget amounts you want to allocate to those themes.  In VersionOne you can allocate your budget by percentage, dollar amount or estimate points.

The key point is to have meaningful and easy to use metrics to help the teams deliver value to the end customer.  The three things that give your senior leadership team the information they need to track and keep the train moving in the right direction include:

  • Setting your portfolio level strategic themes and vision
  • Aligning your initiatives to your vision via the strategic themes, and
  • Tracking the budgetary goals to the actual completion


Here is an example pf a real-world scenario. Core Improvements is a strategic theme for the next year.

  • 30% is the Budget amount we want to allocate to Core Improvements
  • 29% is the Completed amount so far for this budget period for Core Improvements, a good indicator
  • 8% is the Estimate At Completion amount once all the planned work is done, not such a good indicator



The leadership team has the visibility they need to determine if their Core Improvement goals are being actively worked and ultimately satisfied.  The next step will be to help the product owners and directors add more initiatives and features that align to the Core Improvements strategy.

Key Benefits and Uses:

  • Increased line of sight transparency of the overall strategy and vision from the work item level to the portfolio item levels
  • Improved clarity and decision making for director levels and above
  • Better collaboration between senior leaders, program managers and product owners

For more information on Portfolio Budgeting, visit our community page.

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