Project management


This page is still a working document, discuss anything that appears like it should be improved.

Unfortunately (fortunately?), we need to track where our time goes in order to justify the benefits of what we do. There are two main uses of the data:

  1. General reporting: being able to say how our time is distributed among departments and projects. This doesn’t have to be perfectly accurate (and since we have so many small projects, it would be a big waste of time to try to be perfect) - but it should be asymptotically correct. This is tracked in Gitlab.

  2. Financial reporting and project payments. This needs to be accurate, but only for the few projects which have special funding. The master data is in financial systems, but Gitlab can be used to make this reporting a bit easier.

Finance time tracking

For projects with their own funding (external or internal funding), they should be marked in Halli. All other projects (funded by the department’s/school’s basic funding) is marked to the standard RSE project (ask for it), and this time is accounted for at the end of each year (using internal corrections).

Internal time tracking

(This section is for our RSEs)

GitLab is used to track all projects and time we spend on them. Projects have labels that describe them, and GitLab /estimate and /spend commands are used to record time spent.

  • Be aware that it takes some time to get up to speed with a project. This should be considered when making the initial estimate, during the first consultation. When recording time spent, include the time it takes to get up to speed and learn whatever else is needed for the project.

  • Include typical daily overheads into project time (imagine you are a researcher - how much time do you spend doing other support activities? Use that model).

  • When being paid by projects (in the Finance systems), we need to only record time actually spent on that project. Thus, the rest of your time should still be recorded to the common RSE project in the finance system.

Day-to-day procedure

  • Record new projects in GitLab. Most short garage consultations are not recorded in GitLab, unless there is some sort of extra communication about it.

    • Look through the list of labels and set any relevant labels onto the project. Use /estimate to make some time estimate (wild guess - hour? day? week? month?)

    • There is an issue template that can be used for basic starting info (and also it is also in Message templates).

  • We discuss the next steps in a weekly meeting, if it’s not obvious.

  • Each time you spend time on a project, use /spend to record time. (for example, /spend 4h or /spend 2d).

Gitlab commands and project metadata

The full documentation of the GitLab commands is in the rse-timetracking project readme: .