Time Tracking in Bug Trackers

Modern bug tracking software are not only the bug trackers. There are more features. Typical additional components that are included are:

  • Wiki systems: to share knowledge
  • Estimations
  • Time tracking

I'd like to focus today on time tracking capabilities and compare few mainstream bug trackers: Trac, Redmine, FogBugz, Jira.

Why do I expect time tracking to be included in ticket management system? Some of our project are invoiced by time & materials, so it is useful for a developer (or designer, or tester, …) to register hours spent on subject in his basic workflow tool (bug tracker).

What functionality do I expect from such time tracking module:

  • Able to start/stop work on particular issue
  • Able to fix existing time table (in case of a mistake)
  • Show total time spent on issue
  • Compute total time spent on milestone / software component / … (reporting with aggregations)

Let's review some bugtrackers time tracking abilities then.

Trac

Trac is Python-based ticket tracker well known for his integrated Wiki and extremely powerful queries tool.

We have few options to select from:

Redmine

Redmine, on the other hand, is written in Ruby. It's positioned as biggest Trac competitor. Unlike Trac "batteries are included" in default installation (no need to install additional plugins).

Redmine contains "Log time" option, but there's no start/stop options available:

FogBugz

FogBugz is a commercial, hosted solution used by my customer at the moment.

There's "Working On" menu you can use to start (by selecting an issue) or stop (select "Nothing") time measurement. Very convenient feature. I don't have to track time, just switching current tasks and resulting reports are generated automatically.

Jira

I was using that commercial, hosted, solution in the past for Websphere-based projects management. Probably written in Java.

Also time tracking is included, but without start/stop (is there any plugin for such feature present?).

Summary

Currently I see FogBugz the only viable option for time tracking, however Trac's query language (you can embed queries even in your Wiki page) attracts my attention to Trac. Looks like I will have to write start/stop time tracking plugin for Trac myself. Have I missed any existing plugin with that functionality?

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3 Responses to Time Tracking in Bug Trackers

  1. Marietta says:

    Thanks so much for the rundown on time tracking software. I have been freelancing for a few months now and the method I have been using to track my time just has not been working for me. This is when I came across your site. I will be doing more research on some of the software you used, to see which works best for me. Thanks for the help!

  2. ANKIT GARG says:

    I believe this functionality is good for administration purpose i.e. For a manager its a good feature to deduce how much tine his developer has spent on a particular issue.

  3. dariusz.cieslak says:

    An update for Trac: WorkLogPlugin adds start/stop feature.

    http://trac-hacks.org/wiki/WorkLogPlugin

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