Jira time tracking FAQ: enabling, configuring and common use cases

Time tracking is one of the most popular features in Jira. However, depending on the individual settings in the system, each and every user may encounter different problems in the system. We analyzed the most common of them and prepared a FAQ for you!

Arkadiusz Terpiłowski

Co-Founder

Timesheets & Time Tracking

28/10/2022

Enabling and configuring Jira time tracking: FAQ

Table of contents

What can Jira time tracking do? 

Jira time tracking offers a number of basic features that can help you track time and monitor the time spent on the project. These features include: 

  • time tracking for individual employees, 
  • time tracking for projects and tasks, 
  • monthly and weekly Jira timesheets with no timesheets or financial data, 
  • visualizing the time spent on projects and tasks. 

What features are not included in Jira software?

However, as we stated in our article on Jira time tracking, Jira only covers a fraction of features needed for time tracking (i.e. capacity, productivity and project accounting) and all the actions that follow, including project accounting, resource management and project portfolio management. Time tracking report is also really limited in the system. Should you need some more advanced Jira time tracking tools, feel free to try Primetric

How to enable time tracking in Jira? 

By default, time tracking is enabled in Jira. However, in some cases this option turns itself off - for example, when you edit other settings in the system. Fortunately, if that happens, it is very easy to turn the feature back on. 

To do that: 

  1. Go to the Administration icon in the top right corner of your screen. 
  2. Choose the Issues tab, and go to Issue Features. 
  3. Move on to Time tracking. 
  4. Activate the feature in a single click. 

Voila! Your time tracking feature got back to your Jira, and you can now log time in it :)

If you change your mind, you can also disable time tracking in the same tab. 

How to configure time tracking settings in Jira? 

Of course, time tracking in your company may differ from default settings for Jira time tracking. No worries - you can change that, too. 

To do that, hover the mouse over the Administration icon (a small grind) in the top right corner of the screen and choose the Issue panel. 

Administration icon in Jira is in the top right corner of the screen
Administration icon in Jira

Then, simply open the Time Tracking page on the Issue Features screen and click on the Activate button. 

Time tracking details in Jira
Time tracking settings in Jira

In this panel, you can also configure other options related to the time tracking in Jira, such as:

  • hours per day - the number of hours your employees are supposed to track in a single working day,
  • days per week - the number of working days in a week, 
  • time format or default unit of time - choose whether your employees will report their worked time using days, minutes or hours. 

However, to do that, you first need to disable Jira time tracking for the changes to go live. After turning the feature back on, your employees will be able to track time using the limitations you have defined.

Still, while you can adjust some details of Jira time tracking to your preferences and needs, Jira is lacking some of the essential features you will certainly need over the course of your work. For example, in Jira you cannot: 

  • configure the number of working days for part-time employees. All the configuration details we’ve mentioned above apply to the company as a whole and they cannot be changed for certain groups of employees. As a result, Jira will provide you with inaccurate data for part-time employees. 
  • manage overtime. Your employees can log in extra time, but you cannot delve into its details or find a source of it, let alone include it in the accounting. 
  • manage time offs. Jira has no features for managing public holidays or individual time offs. As a result, it’s incapable of providing you with information about the real capacity of individual employees, 
  • analyze reports for project management purposes. The app has a few reports acting as a summary for the project; however, as far as the timesheets are concerned, its features are limited. Therefore, you cannot see the data from the entire team, and browsing the data for individual employees is also difficult. 

How to manage permissions in Jira time tracking? 

Time tracking functionality can also be edited and adjusted in terms of access levels. In the same panel, you can change the details of permissions for time tracking in Jira. There are a few types of permissions you can choose from: 

  1. Work on Issues - users can track time for an issue.
  2. Delete Own Worklogs - users can delete their own worklogs.
  3. Delete All Worklogs - users can delete all worklogs. 
  4. Edit Own Worklogs - users can edit their own worklogs.
  5. Edit All Worklogs - users can edit all worklogs.

No permission? No problem

However, these access levels do not cover numerous use cases that are common in service companies. For example, they do not allow for: 

  • giving an access to non-organizational managers or managers from outside the team, 
  • allowing people not assigned to the project to log time in it (for example, in case of consults), 
  • sharing the details of tracked time with other managers, i.e. in accounting or HR. 

All of these features - and more - can be found in Primetric

How to disable Jira time tracking? 

If you want to disable time tracking for one reason or another, you need to change your Jira’s settings. Then, go to Issues tab and Issue features, and find a tab responsible for Time Tracking. Then, turn off the time tracking there. 

How to start progress time tracking in Jira software? 

To start progress time tracking in Jira, you need to add some more details to the project than just its name. 

Start with creating a detailed issue. After adding it to a project, fill in the 4 basic metrics dedicated to Jira time tracking: 

  • Original Estimate – the total amount of time you expect it to take to complete the task. 
  • Remaining Estimate (Estimated Time Remaining) – the current estimate of the remaining amount of time it would take to complete this issue.
  • Time Spent – time already tracked in the issue. 
  • Accuracy – the difference between estimate and actual data. 

After filling in all the details (and, of course, a task description and other info, should you need one), you and your team can start tracking time spent on an issue. 

To see how the work is going, open the issue someone has already logged his hours on or track time in it yourself. In the issue view, on the right hand side, you will find an original estimate along with a quick summarization of the task in the Time Tracking section. There you will find a progress bar that will show you the exact progress of the planned work. 

Time tracking for a task in Jira
Progress time tracking for a task in Jira after activation

Jira time tracking for a task is not showing  - how to add it? 

There is a chance that, after you created an issue and added all of its details, you won’t see the progress bar on the right. Fortunately, it is possible to add it there in just a few clicks. 

To do that, open the issue tab and click on the Configure button in the bottom right corner of the window. You will see the screen shown below. 

Time tracking in Jira can be configured by adding additional fields to the task
Task configuration view in Jira

As you can see, this view is divided into two parts: on the left side, there are details that you can already see in your task. On the right side, there are fields you can add to it. 

To do that, simply drag and drop the fields from the right to the left and save changes. You can use the same view to delete details from the task - simply drag and drop them from the left side to the right. 

Jira time tracking is not showing in a project - what to do? 

While Jira software is widely used, sometimes the feature does not work as intended and progress bar does not show in a project. Sometimes, the tracked time is not being shown, even though some time has already been logged into the system! 

What to do if I can’t log time and browse it in the project?

If that happens to your Jira, you can try to: 

  1. Check whether your Jira time tracking is enabled. Time tracking features should be turned on by default; however, if you suspect that the feature may be turned off, you can try to enable time tracking in Jira - we explained how to do that in one of the paragraphs above. 
  2. Check whether you've added Time Tracking to all of the relevant issue types. Sometimes this feature may be switched off for some types of issues. You may want to change their details to prevent that from happening. 
  3. Edit your Kanban board (if you use it for your project). On the Kanban board, the total number of issues and completed issues for your epic and your estimations are only visible, if you add them to the issues card layout. If that’s the case, you can just edit the epic and add sufficient fields. Simply go to Card Layout and add fields that interest you. 
  4. Add estimates to a Scrum Board. If you use a Scrum board, you have the option to decide, whether estimation is done in time or story points. The selected value will then also be shown within your epic panel, and on the same line as your summary on issue cards.

However, these are just the most popular solutions to these problems. If you tried them and they failed, you may want to contact Jira support - they will surely provide you with some more insights.

Jira time tracking by user

Jira time tracking by user is one of the features users expect the system to have. Unfortunately, we are going to disappoint you here: Jira has no feature allowing us to view all the work done by a single employee. There is also no time tracking report for an user. The same also applies to the reports of tracked time for groups of people - they do not exist in the basic Jira. 

However, Jira can be integrated with other tools that allow for such an option. Primetric is one of them!

Tired of Jira time tracking? Try something better! 

If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, we have bad news for you - Jira may not have the features you are looking for. Fortunately, there are other solutions that can expand the system.

Log work with Primetric and expand Jira software! 

Apart from all the features missing from Jira time tracking, Primetric also offers: 

  • time off manager with public holidays and absences of individual employees, 
  • time tracker with wages and costs, 
  • drag and drop allocations in a Gantt chart-based calendar, 
  • automatically calculated capacity for team members (absences and holidays included), 
  • advanced reports for all the key factors that impact your projects, 
  • skill management feature with information on experience, skills and certifications of employees, 
  • a comprehensive overlook of all the projects and people involved in them, 
  • alerts and notifications for key issues, incl. overbooking,
  • constant support from Primetric’s advisors.

Book a demo or start a trial now to see it at work. 

Alternatively, you can also learn more about Jira in our articles about:

Arkadiusz Terpiłowski

Co-Founder

Arkadiusz is Head of Growth and Co-founder at Primetric. Prior to that, Arkadiusz was at the helm of his own software development company where he oversaw operations. A great enthusiast of process improvements, his personal mission is to make software companies more profitable and efficient on their path to growth.

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