Don’t buy a Jira time in status app

There’s almost a dozen dedicated time in status Jira reporting apps on the Atlassian Marketplace. But none of them are worth buying. Why? Because the leading no-code custom reporting app on the Marketplace, Custom Charts for Jira and Confluence, has a time in status feature.

Buying a time in status app now would be like buying a dumbphone instead of a smartphone. You’d be buying a phone that does one thing, i.e. calls and texts, versus a phone that lets you surf the internet, video-call, buy stuff, do your banking, take photos, make a film, play games, listen to music, control the heating and security in your home, cook the dinner…

Likewise, you could buy a time in status app that lets you report on:

  • time in status

Or you could buy an app like Custom Charts for Jira and Confluence, which lets you report on:

  • time in status
  • issue history
  • sprint progress
  • sprint velocity
  • epic progress
  • project health
  • workload distribution
  • service-level agreements
  • organizations
  • blockers
  • customer satisfaction
  • story points
  • saved filters
  • custom Jira Query Language
  • 3rd party Marketplace app data
  • frankly, if we list everything, we’ll be here all day

Both Custom Charts and the time in status-only apps are capable of answering the questions we have about how long issues are taking to move through the workflow. These answers help us discover process problems and blockages. You’re able to see how time in status compares between sprints, epics, and assignees and identify sprints that may be too complicated, epics that aren’t being prioritized, and assignees who could have too much on their plate. You can also monitor cycle time and lead time and see whether your actual time spent matches your estimates.

Time in status data you just don’t need

A dedicated time in status app like Time in Status by OBSS or Time in Status by SaaSJet lets you drill down a lot further into your time in status data and display more details in your reports. For example, OBSS’s tool lets you create a “Time Period Duration Per Status” report. This shows the time in status per issue in a list and, instead of showing a single value, divides the amount of time an issue has been in a status into time periods.

But why would anyone need to know how long something’s been in “to do” from month to month? Really, you just need to know the total time and whether it’s a problem.

There probably are use cases for many granular reports that come with time in status-only apps, but honestly, we can’t think of any. Which means the use case is too narrow and rare to justify purchasing a whole app.

No data visualization

The biggest problem with all the dedicated time in status apps is that nearly all of their reports are tables and grids. Take a look at OBSS’s report types and you’ll see that not a single one of those reports is visually appealing. Same goes for SaaSJet’s time in status reports.

These apps missed the memo on the importance of data visualization. Let’s make no bones about it, reporting without data visualization will fail. Our brains can’t process raw data presented in tables unless we sit and pore over it for hours. We certainly can’t process it at a glance. Why? Because the brain absorbs visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This means, if you want to communicate a key insight in a 10-minute update meeting, none of those time in status-only reports are any good.

Instead you need attractive and fully tailored visuals to engage audiences and compel them to action in a short space of time. This is what Custom Charts for Jira and Confluence is all about. It’s not really a reporting app; it’s a data visualization app, with 10 chart types, a full color picker, and tons of flexibility over how your Jira data is presented.

Dedicated time in status apps create bottlenecks

Sometimes you need to take a deep dive into the raw data, and you can do this with Custom Charts. You can make tables and lists of issue data if you need to get granular. And indeed, you can make tables and lists of time in status information for individual Jira issues if you like.

But do you need to? Time in status is supposed to be about spotlighting bottlenecks. If you spend hours upon hours upon days deep-diving into how long one issue is in “to do”, goddammit, you are a bottleneck.

This is the ultimate problem with the dedicated apps. The reports they produce are so bogged down in detail that they don’t speed up the search for bottlenecks. They make it worse.

So if you want to remove bottlenecks, not become them, try Custom Charts for Jira and Custom Jira Charts for Confluence free for a month. And never think about buying a Jira time in status app again.

Christopher is a self-confessed nerd who’d probably take the cake on Mastermind if Star Trek: Voyager was his specialist subject. He writes fiction about time travel, conspiracies and aliens; loves roller coasters, hiking and Christmas; and hates carpet, rom-coms and anything with chilli in it. He’s written extensively for technology companies and Atlassian partners and specializes in translating complicated technical concepts, specs and jargon into readable, benefits-driven copy that casual readers will understand.