Time tracking allows developers to learn from experience, make better estimations, and master your time.
But this isn’t an article about why time tracking is valuable.
It’s about tracking time on GitHub projects—and how much it sucks.
Most developers dread the idea of tracking time on GitHub projects. And for the enterprise, this means that teams are operating with missing, incomplete, or just-plain-wrong data about how they’re spending their time.
And without accurate historical time data, software teams can’t accurately estimate and forecast how they’ll spend their time in the future.
We need to fix GitHub project time tracking.
We need to make it easier for developers to see how they spend their time so they can make smarter decisions about how they’ll spend it in the future.
After all, for time tracking to be useful, software teams must use the timekeeping solution—which needs to be simple, straightforward, and non-intrusive.
This means that the app must have a dynamic connection with GitHub to give you accurate reporting at any point in time (we’ll explain this later.)
Tracking time shouldn’t create a bunch of extra work for developers.
If you create a bunch of extra work for developers, then we already know that it probably just won’t get done.
But it doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel.
Let’s take a closer look at why GitHub project time tracking is challenging and how 7pace can help you collect the most accurate data to improve your estimations without jumping through the hoops.
Let’s Agree: Time Tracking Is Important
We all know that knowing how much time we spend on each task can help us become better developers by estimating our timeline and effort with more precision.
By recording the time you spend on each task within a software development cycle, you can get the data you need to make the right decisions about scope, timeline, and delivery. You can see how accurate your last estimates were and understand what might have gone wrong.
You can also see where you’re at in your project, what you have achieved, and create a feedback loop to respond to changes in real-time and refine your estimation throughout the development cycle.
Why Is GitHub Project Time Tracking So Hard?
Even though many time tracking applications offer some degree of “GitHub integration”, the time records aren’t dynamically connected to where the work happens.
In other words, what happens in GitHub stays in GitHub. And what happens in your run-of-the-mill time tracker stays in your run-of-the-mill time tracker.
They don’t connect directly.
This means sharing data in real-time is impossible. Those apps are just taking a snapshot of an ongoing process and importing it into a separate time recording tool.
You get a mirror image of what happened as a one-time import. Then, the connection is gone. By the time the report is built, what you’re reporting has already changed. If you update a task on GitHub after you have exported the data, the changes aren’t reflected in your reports.
This doesn’t work in an agile world.
The moment you import that project information, it’s already outdated because it has lost the connection to GitHub.
And, if you want to keep time records in any kind of usable shape, you need a full-time employee to keep things reconciled.
It just doesn’t work.
Right now, there’s nothing on the market that allows you to just pull up the data and see how you’re progressing without extracting the information, transforming the data, going to another app, and building a report.
These shortcomings make tracking time on GitHub projects time-consuming and inaccurate.
Simply put, even though there’s an array of tools available to help software teams track time on GitHub, there isn’t a solution to do so where the work happens.
And—what do you know—that’s exactly what we’ve done.
As we dove into this problem, we realized that we needed to fundamentally change the way most time tracking is handled by companies using GitHub.
Unless we want to create a bunch of cleanup work and BS for developers, our product needs to fully integrate into the work environment.
It needs to sync directly with the projects, work items, and projects inside GItHub.
Then, it needs to be smart enough to know:
What developers are working on
How much time they spent on the task
If the task changed, evolved, or got renamed
We connect the tasks dynamically to the reporting function, so time is automatically tracked and logged where the work happens.
AI can predict what a user has done on a particular day with 90% accuracy.
For example, if a developer “forgets” to record their time for two weeks, they can select a particular day and 7pace will show them suggestions on what was done. Then, all they need to do is confirm the details.
Developers can also calculate their pace for each work item. This metric gives you a reality check to better understand the time it takes for each task, how you can estimate future work more accurately, and how you can adjust projects or your working style to make better estimations.
Sign Up for the 7pace for GitHub Beta
We’re currently in the process of launching the 7pace for GitHub product.
If your team’s tired of wasting time, manually logging minutes and seconds, and guessing how long it’ll take to complete upcoming work items—let’s talk.
You can sign up for the 7pace time tracking for GitHub beta to try the product and give us feedback on how to help your team work better.