Time tracking


This page is still in draft form and being discussed and developed - it is only a proposal. See the note on the parent page.

This proposal may turn out to be especially bad… please comment.

Unfortunately (fortunately?), we have to track our time some, in order to justify the benefits of what we do.

Finance time tracking

For projects funded by groups (external or internal funding), they should me 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 the system below)

Internal time tracking

In addition to the financial tracking above, it seems we have to keep a separate tracking of what projects we work on because not every project is reportable via Halli.

Right now we propose that time tracking is done through Gitlab, within the issue opened for each “project”.

Gitlab commands:

  • Use these within the issue as a comment, to control the time allocation.

  • /estimate NNw - estimate total time a project make take. Used as soon as possible at beginning of a project, can always be updated

  • /spend NNh - announce that you have spent a certain amount of time on the project

  • Units: Months (mo), Weeks (w), Days (d), Hours (h), Minutes (m). Default conversion rates are 1mo = 4w, 1w = 5d, and 1d = 8h.

  • Use the labels to record the sponsoring department, funding source (project or basic), and state.


RSEs should be able to produce tabular data matching this semantic model. Each row should be one (project, day) work report.

  • username of the RSE

  • unit hosting the research (Aalto acronym: SCI, (CS, NBE, PHYS, MS, DIEM), ARTS, BIZ, CHEM, ELEC, ENG). This can be found from Gitlab (inferred from project-id).

  • day of work (YYYY-MM-DD)

  • hours of work on that day.

  • funding: project or basic funding - who is paying for this project? If project, this implies that it was billed to Halli. If basic, it’s assumed that it was billed to the RSE project and accounting will be done at the end of the year. Note that this can’t be gotten straight from Gitlab, since project-funded project will usually also have some basic-funded consultations in addition.

  • project-id: Issue number from Gitlab (optional? - or some other ID?).

  • comment

Things do not have to be exact for every day, but when aggregated over months, it should asymptotically approach the right values.

Other notes

Be aware:

  • 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 being paid by projects, we need to only record time actually spent on that project. Thus, daily garages and other RSE meetings need to recorded to the common RSE project/cost center. These overhead work times are managed separately.