How to increase productivity and grow billable hours in Jira

For several managers, it’s a real challenge (sometimes a nightmare) to deal with multiple service contracts and turn every working hour into a billable hour. This is crucial to make projects and service contracts profitable and, as a consequence, build a profitable business.

This is especially hard when you need to understand, at the same time, how the services are being consumed and how the teams working on these tasks are spending their time. If you use Jira in particular to get this information, there is another challenge involved: finding an app that puts this together.

However, we know companies work with contracts to sell and plan services and it is common that these contracts demand more than one account for the same customer to better classify the services. In addition to that, projects normally require more than one team involved in the execution of the tasks, and team leaders and managers need somehow a solution to link teams to accounts.

We manage teams in Jira all the time and we know most apps in Marketplace do not offer a way to track the workflow of services and billing in an end-to-end manner (from the contract to the person’s worklog). Not rare you have to create different accounts related to the same customer and track each one individually. Also, there is no clear way to separate what is billable and what is non-billable. The problem? You may miss productivity (of teams) and profitability (of contracts).

Another common situation is when you have many teams logging time in the same Jira issue. It’s not possible to know in a clear way how each of them is contributing in terms of effort for the execution of a given service.

Now, think about a tool that could fill all these gaps… Certainly, you thought in a bunch of different apps, right?

This is exactly what we had in mind when started developing ContractsPro. As real (and heavy) Jira users, we saw ourselves facing the same pain points mentioned above when needed to manage services and teams efficiently. We needed to find an alternative to obtain information to better take decisions. Consequently, we would be able to improve team productivity and grow billable hours amount.

Looks like rocket science, but in fact, the idea behind the app is simple: reproduce the real-life process followed by leaders who deal with contracts and plan/measure the service progress via teams’ worklogs.

The app introduces the concept of Contracts, entities that group accounts to manage services from a single place. The contracts work unplugged from Jira’s issue structure, which gives more independence to the app and makes the introduction of new features easier.

The contracts are tied to customers and allow users to add accounts to them. The accounts can be billable or non-billable and each of them can have its hours distributed/planned among different teams. So, when the respective team members log their time in Jira, the system understands how to distribute the work and inform this on the Reports.

Sounds good, right? This will make it much easier to track the contract progress in real-time as the users log their hours. And it is simple to create “slices” to plan teams’ work:

You can graphically see all this information using the Delivery Report:

- Contracts actual consumption of hours;

- Contracts remaining hours;

- Billable and non-billable amount of hours;

- Work distribution per team;

- Top issues by logged hours;

- Projected timeline.

These features will help you to avoid missing deadlines and also to understand where the teams are putting their efforts. You will have better visibility of how much of your work is actually billable and take better decisions about project margins and team productivity.

But there are more possibilities: remember, when working with most Marketplace apps you cannot create services that can be consumed recurrently. To resolve this issue, ContractsPro creates recurring contracts that can be followed monthly, helping on planning team allocation and forecasting your services.

In summary, since we developed ContractsPro we were able to highly improve our planning and decision-making processes, from the contract creation to the team’s management. The distance between Financial and Delivery teams practically disappeared. They are working together now. Barriers were broken and silos eliminated since the app connected the two extremes of the workflow.

Mindpro helps modern companies do more and get the most of their Atlassian tools.

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