Are we on Budget?

Posted by
Roger Wallace Feb 13, 2018 9:41:29 AM

JIRA is one of the most popular workflow management and ticketing solution on the market today. Used daily to track and plan work in tens of thousands of oragnisations JIRA often contains the most up to date and accurate picture how teams and projects are performing.

I'd like to show you how you can leverage JIRA's rich dataset to answer the seemly simple but often intractable question: Are we on budget?

JIRA tracks work - tickets, requests, faults, issues, features, tasks, stories, bugs - but regardless of what they are called our goal is to convert this work into money so that along side tracking our work we can track our budget. One of the simplest ways that we can convert work into dollars is through the tracking of time and JIRA provides a very simple but effective feature for tracking time spent.

JIRA workflow

By adding the built in JIRA "Time Spent" field as a required component of the transition to Closed or Resolved it is possible to build up a record of where time is spent. The quality of this data is of course dependent on accurate time keeping, which depends on the emphasis, or indeed value, placed on the data within the organisation. However, at ServiceClarity we believe in working with the best data that you have available - it is always possible to improve the accuracy and value of your data but not if you don't bother reporting on it! There are other ways that ServiceClarity can be used to extract time data from your JIRA system but I will leave that for another post.

Let's assume that we want to track the budget of a small JIRA project code named "Blue Sun" and on this project we have three groups of users: Junior staff, Senior staff and Management. Each of these groups is charged to the Blue Sun project at a different rate so we want to track their time spent separately.

Resources Member Rate
Management Sarah $125
Senior Staff Ian and Marcy  $75
Junior Staff Mark, Rod, Cathy, Bob and Sue  $50

We could do this for such a small team using the individual names although it is easy to see how this could become difficult for larger teams where using JIRA user groups would be a more manageable approach but for now let's build the ServiceClarity metric based on these users.

Create new metrics:
In ServiceClarity we need to create three new "time spent" metrics, one for each of our user groups.

JIRA metric time spent

You can see from the screenshot that we are using JIRA's own JQL query language to find the work packages for the Blue Sun project and for the users that make up our three tiers of users:

Management JQL: 

project = "Blue Sun" AND assignee = "Sarah"

Senior Resources JQL:

project = "Blue Sun" AND assignee IN ("Ian", "Marcy")

Junior Resources JQL:

project = "Blue Sun" AND assignee IN ("Mark", "Rod", "Cathy", "Bob", "Sue")

Create a new KPI:
We can now create a new ServiceClarity KPI that will combine these three metrics and convert them into a dollar value based on the resource rate card. First we create a new KPI called "Budget Spent":

JIRA KPI budget spent

And we add all three of our time spent metrics:

jira metric kpi calculation

We also need to add our rate card to the KPI by defining the three resource bands as constants:

JIRA Metric costs


Turn "time spent" into "budget spent":
The final step in turning "time spent" into "budget spent" is to leverage ServiceClarity's KPI JavaScript engine to convert and combine the time recorded in JIRA in seconds.

JIRA KPI time spent budget spent

We can now track daily project budget from live JIRA data. If we wanted to we could turn that around and track "budget remaining" by adding in one more constant to our KPI calculation: "Total Budget". A further improvement might be to convert our KPI into the % budget spent.


Using ServiceClarity to track a projects budget from JIRA time spent is just one of the ways that you can utilise the wealth of data in your JIRA system. For example, if you have JIRA ServiceDesk you can make use of the built in JIRA SLA timings to gather potentially highly accurate time spent without the need to rely on accurate self-recording. Fine tuning your JIRA workflow to account for pauses and transitions between teams will further increase the accuracy of your budget calculations.

Topics: JIRA, metric reporting, DevOps Reporting, DevOps

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