Time Estimates on Tasks

Time can be tracked on tasks and you can also put time estimates on tasks. Time estimates can be adjusted at any time.

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For those of you who use agile methodologies on your projects, it’s essential to estimate the amount of work for every open task. The goal is to track progress on your projects daily, have better metrics and this cannot be done without adequate planning and re-evaluating the work that still needs to be completed.

Table of contents

1. How to enable Time on Tasks?

If you would like to use the Time estimates feature on your tasks, go to the Settings of your organization, find Addons on the list and turn on the Time on tasks feature.

This enables time tracking and adding estimates for every project you have in Productive. You might have some projects that you don’t need this for. In that case, open up a project's Sidebar, go to Edit project and turn off Time on tasks for that particular project.

2. How to use this feature?

When you enter a time estimate for every task, you will always know how much time you still need to spend on the project until its completion.

If you take a look at the list of tasks in your projects, you’ll see how many hours of work are left either for a particular task or for the whole task list.

2.1. Entering the Initial Estimate

When creating a task, you will enter an Initial estimate which will be renamed to Time to complete once the task has been created.

The Time to complete field will then "count down" the hours until the task has been completed.

We strongly suggest not to alter the value of the Initial estimate. However, if you really need to, can you do that by selecting Edit underneath it but, and this is very important, this change will not update Time to complete.

2.2. How does Time to Complete work?

As mentioned above, once the task has been created, the Initial estimate field will be converted to Time to complete alongside the hours entered in that field. That will only happen during the first entry or in other words, as the task is being created.
After you have created the task, those two fields (Initial estimate and Time to complete) will function separately because we want to:

a) save the initial estimate value

b) make it possible for everyone to see and (if needed) update the time necessary to complete the task

Tracking time on tasks will therefore deduct hours from Time to complete while the Initial estimate will remain fixed.
For example, by login 2 hours on this task, Time to complete is now 8 hours and the Initial estimate remained at 10 hours.

Time to complete can also be manually updated if you decide that it will take more or less time to complete the task.
For example, when increasing the Time to complete to 9 hours you will see that update in the Task's Feed.

Again, updating the Initial estimate will not affect the Time to complete.

If you want to reflect the change from the Initial estimate to Time to complete, you will have to manually adjust the Time to Complete.

2.3. Including Subtasks' estimates and tracked time

By ticking the option Include subtasks, the time components will update taking into account subtasks' values.

In other words, the Initial estimate, Tracked time, and Time to complete will be summed from both the parent task and any of the subtasks that belong to it.

💡 Note! To estimate the subtasks only, insert 0 as the Initial estimate for the parent task and you'll get this option.

2.4. Fields used to track Initial Estimates and Time to Complete

The following fields will help you gain more insight into tracking time on tasks. To set up a View from the screenshot below, select the Table view as your Layout and add the Fields mentioned below:

  • Initial estimate - the initially forecasted amount of time needed to complete the Task. It can be changed, but changes won't affect the Time to complete or Estimate at completion.

  • Time to complete - the current estimation of time that is still needed to complete the Task. Counting down starts from the Initial estimate and continues as people track time. If needed, this field can be used for re-estimations along the way.

  • Worked time - the total amount of time that people have tracked on this Task (includes unapproved time entries).

  • Estimate at completion - this field shows you the current projection of the total time that will be needed to complete the task. This is a sum of Time to complete and Worked time.

  • Variance at completion - the difference between the Initial estimate and the Estimate at completion. It shows how accurate the Initial estimation was.

3. What does a client see regarding time estimates?

In short, clients can never access Worked time.

Clients with access to budgets and timesheets can see the Initial estimate, Time to complete, Estimate at completion, or Variance at completion.

Clients without access to budgets and timesheets cannot see Worked time, or the data listed above.

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