ASE 2010
Conference paper

Timesheet assistant: Mining and reporting developer effort

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Timesheets are an important instrument used to track time spent by team members in a software project on the tasks assigned to them. In a typical project, developers fill timesheets manually on a periodic basis. This is often tedious, time consuming and error prone. Over or under reporting of time spent on tasks causes errors in billing development costs to customers and wrong estimation baselines for future work, which can have serious business consequences. In order to assist developers in filling their timesheets accurately, we present a tool called Timesheet Assistant (TA) that non-intrusively mines developer activities and uses statistical analysis on historical data to estimate the actual effort the developer may have spent on individual assigned tasks. TA further helps the developer or project manager by presenting the details of the activities along with effort data so that the effort may be seen in the context of the actual work performed. We report on an empirical study of TA in a software maintenance project at IBM that provides preliminary validation of its feasibility and usefulness. Some of the limitations of the TA approach and possible ways to address those are also discussed. © 2010 ACM.