Since December 2020, SmartView has become a partner of anAtlassian plugin suite publisher, Tempo.
The Tempo suite is a set of plugins: Tempo Timesheets, Tempo Planner, Tempo Budgets and Cost Tracker for Tempo.
They allow you to manage timesheets, team schedules and budgets directly in Jira. Published since 2009, Tempo products are now used by more than 20,000 companies worldwide.
Why do we prefer to limit the use of plugins on Jira instances?
As we have seen previously, we strive to offer our customers solutions that are simple and quick to use and administer. This allows us to limit as much as possible the number of plugins that we deploy.
Furthermore, at SmartView, we are committed to working with agile values and methods. These guide all of our interventions and often the organizations of most of our clients.
Thus, it is true that the notions of planning and time tracking of a very fine granularity of Tempo plugins appeared to us as not being very compatible with these values and agile methods that we advocated.
However, we have to admit that the promises of the Tempo suite often seem attractive to the top management and the management controllers. On the other hand, the implementation of this type of time tracking plugins is often perceived by the user teams as a "bureaucratization" of the Atlassian tools. Especially since these plugins can significantly increase the daily use of Jira which is initially dedicated to their "real jobs" (development, tests, support, release...)
The value produced by the IT teams working on Atlassian tools is visible and measurable through the software products and the services brought to the other business lines of an organization. However, it is often very difficult to measure the costs with precision, and especially to break them down correctly and simply between the various projects or processes of an IT department.
A tool like Jira cannot answer this legitimate need in an exhaustive, simple and automatic way.
Our customer feedback on the Tempo plugin suite
We worked almost simultaneously with two customers who use the Atlassian suite. Their activities, sizes and organizations are very different but their problems were similar:
- How to control and validate quickly the time invoiced by the providers?
- How to easily distinguish between expenses and fixed assets in an ISD?
To answer these two questions, we decided to dive - with apprehension I must admit - into the world of Tempo.
After a detailed study, we were convinced that the Tempo suite would answer these questions.
The challenge of successful implementation, in our view, lay in two key success factors:
- Master the Tempo tools to be able to propose a simple and scalable solution, and especially to avoid the "gas factory" effect.
- Successful adoption of the solution by users, avoiding the fears of management control and complexity inherent in this type of project.
It is therefore to better understand the subtleties of Tempo concepts that we initially approached the Tempo teams. They took the time to analyze our use cases with us. And they helped us to arbitrate the different scenarios we were considering:
- How to guarantee a solution that is ergonomic for end users, simple and robust to administer?
- How do you structure Tempo requests, accounts and teams to facilitate time entry? All this, while allowing to quickly produce reports at the project, program, department and supplier levels?
- Which option should I choose for managing the providers' TJM? Integrate them in Jira and Tempo or deport them to an external Excel or Power BI repository?
At the end of this design phase, we came up with two similar solutions for our clients. These were obviously not similar given the different reporting needs and organizations of our two clients.
Implementation of the Tempo solution
The most structuring option chosen was not to ask users to enter their time on "operational" requests like user stories or bugs. Instead, we suggested that they create specific projects and Jira requests that correspond to the budget units or types of activities they wanted to monitor.
We were then able to put the solution into production. In order to facilitate the adoption of the solution, the project communication was focused on two axes:
- Why enter your times in Tempo? We recalled the expected challenges for the organization and the different teams.
- The simplicity of time entry in Tempo. We relied on the ergonomics of the tools, their integration with Jira, as well as on pilot teams who are ambassadors of the solution.
Finally, the last step was the transfer of skills. The goal was to allow our customers' teams to be autonomous in the administration and evolution of their Tempo solutions.
We involved our customers from the project scoping phase. In this way, our interlocutors naturally adopted the new concepts and functionalities of Tempo plugins during the implementation phase.
We also paid particular attention to the documentation of the implemented solutions. This phase is important because it allows us to guarantee the stability of the solution. To do this, we detailed not only the settings made, but also the reasons for the architectural choices and their impact.
What conclusions can be drawn from these two experiences?
To monitor the time of an IT department, the integration of the Tempo suite with Jira is an interesting option. However, it must be based on a real need and not on a desire on the part of management to control the teams.
Moreover, it is necessary to favor the simplicity and the ergonomics of the solution in order not to complicate a Jira instance. It must remain flexible, evolving and help the teams without giving them more work.
Finally, once teams are involved and understand the value of a time tracking tool like Tempo, adoption of the solution can happen quickly and easily across an IT department of several hundred employees.
Thank you to our customers for their trust, and thank you to the Tempo teams for their support!
Please contact us if you want to know how to implement Tempo plugins in your company.