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Guidelines on updating efforts spent & efforts remaining on tasks

Jayant Koppikar (1133) | asked Apr 12 '13, 7:01 a.m.
One question constantly asked by engineers is guideline for updating efforts remaining. Let's say, we estimated task for 10 hours. The engineer completed 5 hours and after that he/she feels the tasks needs 10 more hours (which means new estimate is now 15 hours). How does the engineer update that in the tasks ? Task does not allow u to enter 10 as efforts remaining as it goes into negative. At same time, you can't use correction field as report does not show correct time spent on that.
What are the guidelines so that we are able to track original planned efforts and final actual efforts spent. This data is important to improve our estimation for similar tasks in future.

3 answers

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Piotr Aniola (3.7k11738) | answered Apr 12 '13, 7:57 a.m.
The intention is to use the correction field. This will update the effective estimate (which is basically the estimate if the correction doesn't exist, and correction otherwise).
Can you explain which report does not show that correctly? Is that an OOTB report? It seems to me the report is ill-designed and uses the estimate instead of the effective estimate.

Jayant Koppikar commented Apr 12 '13, 8:48 a.m. | edited Apr 16 '13, 11:39 p.m.

Hello Piotr, Ralph,
So in simple words, correction field should be updated to reflect the actual total efforts required to complete the task. And cases when actual hours seem to be taking longer than original planned hours, always add that delta into both time remaining and correction together. Is this understanding correct?

Piotr Aniola commented Apr 12 '13, 8:55 a.m. | edited Apr 12 '13, 10:05 a.m.

Your description of the behavior seems to be correct.

Ralph Schoon commented Apr 12 '13, 10:07 a.m.

If you have time remaining 2 hours. Estimate 8 hours and now think it is going to be 12 hours, you would set corrected to 12 and time remaining to 6 hours, as far as I can tell. In reports you will have time spent unless you subtract the estimate/correction (if available) from the time spent value in the attribute.

Sterling Ferguson-II commented Apr 16 '13, 10:37 a.m.


Pretty soon, we are going to start getting deeper in to this area with customers, is there any plan to add something simple for users so they don't have to do math and have a PMP to just fill out these fields for SCRUM/Formal/OpenUp templates? 

I thought I already read this thread, but something similar popped up here:


Jayant Koppikar commented Apr 16 '13, 11:05 a.m.

Hello Sterling,
I saw this thread on time remaining and time spent. It has minor typo (I think). I have commented on it asking for clarification.
Thank you,

Ralph Schoon commented Apr 16 '13, 11:14 a.m.

Sterling, I think the easiest model is time spend. You basically increase your number every time you work in something. For time remaining it is just logical that you have to correct your time remaining up and somehow also add the same number to the estimation. I see no way around this except a button to push for adding or removing one or e few hours.

I am not aware of any work items in that direction, you might want to request an enhancement. There are some work items to provide the time remaining mode their own attributes and entangle time spent and time remaining. However, these are there fora long time now.

Ralph Schoon commented Apr 16 '13, 11:15 a.m.

I forgot to mention that I would be all against having a PMC filling out that data. I think the developers are the ones that know best and should be doing it, if you want estimations and plans that come close to reality.

showing 5 of 7 show 2 more comments

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Ralph Schoon (63.3k33646) | answered Apr 12 '13, 8:28 a.m.
edited Apr 12 '13, 8:29 a.m.
I agree with Piotr. If you run time remaining mode, you change the correction to the total amount you estimate but you have to also change the time remaining to the new corrected value.

With respect to reporting, you have to know what goes on behind the scenes though. I have looked into this pretty recently and it is quite interesting. The time remaining mode only changes the presentation and the math.

The Attributes used are actually the same as in the time spent mode (yes there are requests to change this).

The time spent field will always contain the time spent, which is


All data is in milliseconds.

So you see 10 hours correctedEstimate and time remaining is 2 hours in the presentation and you get 8 hours in the time spent attribute.

I hope I got all my math right.....

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Guido Schneider (3.4k1491115) | answered Apr 15 '13, 8:20 a.m.

From my point of view you should adjust the Corrected Estimate to reflect the new estimation. This becomes then the Effective Estimate.

If you do the adjustment of Effective Estimation within the Plan UI, by displaying the column the, the Time Remaining is increased and not the Time Spent. This is what you expect.

If you do the adjustment in the Work item Editor, the Time Spent is increased. That means you have there also to set the new Time Remaining.

Unfortunatly the Work Item Editor and the Plan Editor are not behaving the same way.

We filed a defect against this.

(But it does not look like anybody of IBM is interest in this defect. There is no comments, nor any change of any field in this defect since 1.Mar.2013. Maybe you can also give some comments there)

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