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Time Management Basics

This tutorial walks you through configuring Time Management in YouTrack and using time tracking in your project.

Set up time management

Enable time management

Click the project name in Settings | Project, then navigate to Time Tracking tab, and select the Enable time tracking for projectcheck-box.

Understand work item concept in YouTrack

You may wish to count time spent on the issues separately for developers, QA engineers, technical writers, etc. Each piece of work to be logged with YouTrack is a "work item." Each work item has a type and a duration. Note that the term work item is used differently in some books on Agile practices; in YouTrack, it does NOT mean issue, task, or ticket.

YouTrack has three pre-defined work item types: Development, Testing, and Documentation. You can add, remove or modify work item types on the server level in Settings | Time Tracking, and/or on the project level in Administration | <Project Name> | Time Tracking. Сustom types are available starting with YouTrack 5.2.

Configure estimation and spent time

If your project already has Estimation and Spent Time fields of 'period' type, YouTrack will use them by default. Otherwise YouTrack will offer you to add new fields to your project issues in order to count time spent on issues.

Estimation is a field for estimating the time a task will take. Actual time spent on a task is stored in the Spent Time field.

There сould be a custom field with 'period' type in your project to record spent time. By default, the 'Spent time' field is used.

YouTrack offers you to choose the fields to be used for estimation and spent time, and shows the available work item types.

Should you decide to change the time tracking configuration for an existing project, you can always do it from the Time Tracking tab in the project settings. For example, you can change a field that you use to count spent time, or add custom work item types. In the latter case, enter the desired type and click the "+" sign next to the last work item type.

Logging spent time

YouTrack associates work items with particular issues, in other words, you may log multiple work items representing work related to the same issue. Therefore, YouTrack has a Time Tracking tab for each issue if time management is enabled for the project.

The time spent on a work item can be logged in minutes, hours, days or weeks (use shortcuts such as 1m, 1h, 1d, 1w, etc.).

You can add work items by using either the visual interface or commands. Just log an item as shown on the screenshot above, or enter a command in the command line interface. For example, the command "add work 1w worked on the feature integration" adds a work item with the duration of one week and the description "worked on the feature integration." You can call up the command line interface by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J, or by simply starting to type a command.

YouTrack will try to intelligently complete your command for you as you type it.

Estimation and Spent Time monitoring

While time spent by different team members (developers, QA engineers, etc.) can be recorded separately, the 'Spent time' field will hold the sum total of all types of time spent on the issue.

If you would like to see Estimation and Spent Time in the issues list, make them visible:

This indicates Spent Time (1 week) and Estimation (2 weeks), with "weeks" abbreviated as "w". Note that the green part of the circle at the Estimation indicator shows that 50% of estimated time is already spent.

The Estimation and Spent Time values will be shown for each issue individually. For issues of Feature type, Estimation and Spent Time are calculated as the sum total of the corresponding values of the issue subtasks.

When you need to know how much time was spent on particular types of activities (development, QA, etc.) in total, create a Time Report (refer to the Reports section below).


Creating a report

To create a report, go to Reports and click the Time Report link. Enter a name for the report, and then choose the project(s) and the time period. Note that a single report may cover multiple projects.

Click the Create report button:

Grouping by an attribute

You can customize your report by choosing a particular grouping option (Group by) from the drop-down menu:

As a result, the report items will be grouped by work type:

The same dialog allows you to change the report visibility limiting it to a particular group (Visible to), if you don't want to share the report with everybody.

Grouping work items

per issue

The default time report view is per issue, as shown above.

per user

To view the time report per user, click "per user" on the report page. If you created the report and are changing it, you may need to click Refresh after you changed view settings:

Getting more details: Time report per work item type

Both views (per issue and per user) allow for separate counting of total time spent on different types of activities, such as development, testing, writing documentation, graphical design, etc. Select the check-box next to the grouping option to see detailed report:

Automate time tracking with workflows

In YouTrack a workflow refers to a set of logically related rules addressing a particular task. A rule is, basically, a script that YouTrack executes. For more details on workflows, please refer to Custom Workflow Tutorials and What Is a Workflow and Why You Should Care in particular.

For time management purposes, there are two ready-to-use workflows available for YouTrack:

#jetbrains-youtrack-workTimer automatically logs the time which an issue spends in the 'In Progress' state.
#jetbrains-youtrack-pomodoroTimer helps implement the Pomodoro technique in your time management.

You can also write your own workflows for advanced time management. If the existing workflows do not reflect your needs, please refer to Custom Workflow Tutorials.

Time tracking on Agile board

There is a separate tutorial on time management with YouTrack Agile board, relevant for those who follow agile processes in their projects.


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