New App: Tempo Cost Tracker

Tempo Cost Tracker is the latest app for Jira by Montreal-based software developer Tempo, which was launched in 2020. The app strikes a successful balance between simple, quick overview and comprehensive insight. In the following we have addressed basic questions about Cost Tracker that we have received or that we have asked ourselves. If we receive further questions about the app, we will add them here in the blog post.

Why should you use Cost Tracker?

Self-monitoring with regard to budgets is always relevant. Tempo itself says the relevance is to be seen in the fact that many people are interested in Tempo Timesheets (as of June 2020 one of the top 3 apps for Jira in the Atlassian Marketplace) and Tempo Budgets at the same time, but may not want to use both comprehensively or move into Jira Cloud. Cost Tracker resolves this and presents a product in the middle that creates new synergies with Timesheets. Especially for customers who already use Timesheets and are faced with the question of how to track costs in Jira, Cost Tracker is the answer.
Usually it is worthwhile to purchase the extension, because the costs for the app are quickly covered by the savings that are possible thanks to proper cost tracking in Jira.

Tempo Cost Tracker Screenshot

How does Cost Tracker work in general?

The app is best suited for rather high-level But thanks to a very well prepared visualization, deeper insights by cost type or cost centers are also possible. Expenses and work incurred are calculated against a specified budget. The latter is extracted by Cost Tracker from the worklogs recorded in Jira and Timesheets. The advantage of this is that work does not have to be documented, but is automatically calculated from the worklogs. Expenses for investments, for example, are created directly in Cost Tracker and can be sorted with custom categories.

In developing the app, Tempo made it a priority to orientate itself on the existing. This means that the data displayed in Cost Tracker is prepared thanks to existing filters (JQL) and groups. When calculating a scope for a project (Note: Here a project is not the same as a project in Jira. The term is used in two ways here), Cost Tracker also refers only to existing filters from Jira, whereby groups are managed directly in the app for use there only and can be utilized as cost centers.

For a deeper first look we recommend the short introduction video of Tempo: https://youtu.be/9LyDFesyMv8 (English Language)
This illuminates all the important functions needed to get started. If you need more detailed information, take a look at the documentation.

How does the connection to Tempo Timesheets work?

The question here is rather whether Cost Tracker is worthwhile even without Timesheets. The answer, as the full name “Cost Tracker for Tempo Timesheets” in the Atlassian Marketplace suggests, is a “No”, because without timesheets the app cannot read personnel costs (worklogs) and would only be used for expenses. In such a case you could also use other tools or do this directly in Jira on issues.

Cost Tracker only reads data on Tempo timesheets. So Cost Tracker does not change logs in timesheets.

How can I use Tempo Cost Tracker?

One of the biggest questions with new apps for Jira, Confluence & Co. is always the availability for the different versions. The Cost Tracker will only be available for Jira Cloud for the time being. Tempo here follows, according to its own statement, Atlassian’s strategy and focuses on Cloud. A version for server or data center licenses will only be available if there is a strong demand for it. Those interested in using such licenses must limit themselves to the functionality – admittedly sometimes more comprehensive but also more complex – of Tempo Budgets. At the same time, Tempo Budgets remains available for Server and Data Center, not for Cloud.

How many currencies can be displayed?

Currently, Cost Tracker only supports one currency at a time, although you can choose between multiple currencies in the settings. So if you maintain projects in multiple currencies in your own Jira, they may need to be adjusted. Otherwise you might get calculation errors when trying to compare such costs or projects.

Can different cost factors be specified?

Cost Tracker simply calculates the costs for work done by multiplying the worklogs by the rate. The rate cannot be calculated per role. For example, not every junior developer can be assigned a different cost factor than senior developers. However, a different rate can be set for each user. Depending on the size of the teams, this can be very extensive, but allows a very accurate representation of the actual costs.

Will there be further development of Tempo Cost Tracker?

The developers at Tempo have a loose, agile roadmap for Cost Tracker. According to this, the app is still in its early stages. So there will be various further developments and improvements. Depending on what is needed, they will adapt which functions will be added or changed next. Tempo wants to listen to user requests and not just push its own agenda in the further development of the app. The same applies, for example, to the availability of Tempo Cost Tracker for Jira Server or Data Center.

Announced, but not promised, are features such as cost forecasts, budget segmentation or cost factors dependend on the roles of the users of a worklog. All in all, Cost Tracker is a great app that will continue to evolve.

Author: Cornelius Gillner

Cornelius is a consultant with Honicon GmbH. Through his studies in E-Commerce (M.Sc.) and Business Psychology (B.Sc.) he brings along a strong background in process optimization, digital marketing and web design. In his free time, he spends a lot of time on sports and media.