Right now we use Git Hub Issues for each project an individual engineer is working on. We're are making a transition to broader stories handled in Jira. We mark each task either Cap or Exp for accounting purposes so we can figure out how much of our dev time we can capitalize for accounting reasons. How can we do this in Jira when multiple engineers might work on the same user story?

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So with Agile Accounting standards (yes, it's a thing) you don't have to be focused on the individual anymore, it's the team you focus on. In a previous company, I helped management move to just this model. This model was fully blessed by the accounting and finance organization of this very large (5000+) service based software org.

First and best thing to do is separate your Capex Work from your day to day work. We set up a special Jira project for capitalization. It had Epics for teams where we tracked Capex time. Because we operated team based and not project based, this made a lot more sense and was a hell of a lot easier to manage.

Now as to how to get the team CapEx time.

First, you need to understand what is Capital Expenditure, here is a list:

  • Coding
  • Architecture & Design
  • Can include work done by Product Manager such as Story Mapping, Backlog Refinement, etc.
  • Testing and QA
  • Install to hardware

This is big as product management can now be partially capitalized as working directly with the team is considered "development".

All CapEx work is equal. You don't get more credit for Coding vs. QA. It's all the same.

Team CapEx per Sprint Calculations:

  • Multiply # of team members by hours in sprint (normally 80 hrs) Result = Total Potential Team Hours (TPTH)
  • Multiply TPTH by standard Non-Productive Modifier of 0.9 Non-Productive work is non-sprint meetings, breaks, one-on-ones, etc. Result = Total Available Team Hours (TATH)
  • Multiply THAT by Team Availability % Result = Total CAP Hours available for Sprint (TCHS)
  • Divide TCHS by team size Result = Total CAP hours per employee for the Sprint (TCE)

One of the big surprises, I had, was around non-productive hours. I had the calculation originally around .6 to .7. It was our finance org that said to put it at .9. There is almost nothing a dev team does that is not capitalized expenses. Bug fixes are CapEx.

We used Tempo, a Jira plugin. Multiple teams were plugged into the same Jira CapEx Project and that's how we enabled Agile CapEx so it didn't kill the teams. I had a simple spreadsheet, that the teams used to track availability. Managers could look at these spreadsheets once a month, run the above formula and get their teams CapEx. The teams had to do nothing.

I also recommend Googleing "Pat Reed" and Agile Accounting. She has a system she developed at the Gap that is being used by many companies now.

Cheers...

There is another Jira add-on for accounting Capex/Opex that helps with calculation and classification of software development work. Of course without manual time tracking.

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